For some 29 years now – of which I was responsive for about 20 (there are gaps) – I have been going to Chinese New Year gatherings.
That alone makes me highly qualified to write an article on how to respond to the questions that will invariably be asked by your relatives and elders at this year’s gatherings.
So, for whatever life stage you’re going through, here are all the wrong and right things you might say…
This sort of comment is usually what tends to happen because some folks have a tendency to say the first thing that’s on their mind.
It’s not nice to hear a fat-shaming comment (or even one that says “why so skinny?”). But it might not be wise to confront them directly about what they said unless it’s extremely rude.
If the relative is being overbearing, let them know the conversation has become inappropriate and politely excuse yourself from it.
Otherwise, counter negativity with positivity — it might be worth attempting to redeem the conversation if possible. Forgive them for careless words and change the focus of the discussion to one that’s about wellness.
You might also share wonderful verses like 1 Corinthians 6:19-20 or Proverbs 31:17 to talk about how God’s Word is helping you steward your health.
If you’re a student, you’re bound to face this question.
Don’t shy away, however, from this opportunity to point your loved ones to higher things beyond the paper chase.
Show them why you work excellently, and point them to the Reason for your assurance and security in life.
Even if you didn’t do well academically, it’s a chance to show your loved ones why Christ means that you are able to smile through storms and disappointments like this.
When you’re single, this question can be annoying to face. It can all too easily remind you of your singlehood, or tempt you to feel that you’ve been left on the shelf.
There isn’t an easy answer to make these interactions (or indeed the loneliness) go away.
Before stepping into social situations like these, sit with God in prayer about singlehood. Let His assurances for you be the confidence you carry in the conversations to come.
Somehow, infertility manages to be one of the most painful things a couple can face while simultaneously being one of the worst conversation starters.
These interactions can all too easily cause us to spiral and make comparisons with other people who are celebrating a pregnancy, or to lash out at relatives for their insensitivity.
It helps to remember that your relatives are probably just excited at the prospect of seeing a new addition to the family.
Most importantly, remember that God is with you in every disappointment and broken dream. He will give you and your partner strength to smile and respond graciously.
I’m not a financial advisor, but I don’t think it’d be unreasonable to say that a car is not a realistic purchase for the vast majority of young Singaporeans.
Like it or not, as one of the 5 Cs, having a car often serves as a social symbol that you’re on the right track in terms of the Singaporean dream.
Play your cards right in the conversation, and you’ll actually have an opportunity to talk about how God has changed what you value, and why Christ is a treasure worth giving up all the other Cs for.
Same thing applies to the topic of housing. As someone who is currently facing down a delay for a BTO, the housing thing is proving to be a long wait.
It’s a good chance, however, to talk about how Christ has prepared a room for me in heaven!
JOKES ASIDE THOUGH…
It’s highly probable your family members love you, so it’s helpful to remember that there’s likely nothing malicious about the questions they ask.
God says that it is to our honour when we overlook an insult. So let go where you can and remember to breathe. Take the questions in good faith. Or don’t take them at all if need be.
Let’s try and be wise in navigating these conversations, so that we can steer our loved ones a little closer to God this Chinese New Year!
FOR MORE STORIES ON CNY:
- Is there an area of your life where you need to seek God’s wisdom for?
- What are some ways you can be more gracious in your responses to questions/comments that hurt you?
- How can you be more intentional about sharing what God has done in your life this season?