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Habits of the Heart Essay

most is Brian Palmer. He is a successful businessman and is a top level manager in a large company. He got divorced from his first wife because of wrong priorities. When they were still married, he dedicated his time in working for his family. He was under the misconception that the role of a father and husband is to provide his family all the things that they need and for him to be a better father, he should also provide their wants. He thought that if he will earn money, which is more than enough for them, his family will live happily. However, he realized that money and work is not everything.

He did not realize the toll that his being a hard working father is affecting his children and his relationship with his wife. After his divorce with his wife, their children chose to live with him. This made him realize that he is not as bad a father that he thinks he is. He might have done something to deserve this love from his children. The divorce gave him time and space to think and reflect on the things that had happened in the past and what he had done wrong for this to happen. It was not easy for him or his kids but as soon as Brian Palmer had decided to be happy with his children, that was turning point of their lives.

He had changed his priorities and he had also changed his goals. Now that he is married to his second wife, who also had children with her first husband, he has devoted his life to his marriage and to all his children. He also had reestablished his priorities and he had learned that family comes first. He also learned that love is not buying his wife and children things; it is sharing. Love is sharing in terms of his time, efforts, and even thoughts. This shift of priorities had made him happy and his family happy.

Although Brian Palmer’s situation and my situation are not exactly the same, I could say that I can relate with him since we now value the same thing – our family. It is a common mistake for people to dedicate their lives in their work to the point that they sacrifice their time which is supposed to be spent for their family. They often defend themselves that they are doing this for the benefit of their family. They think that by providing everything for their loved ones, they are showing their love for them. This is the common misconception of people. I can relate more to the children of Brian Palmer because I came from a broken family.

When I was still young, things were going smoothly. My father had a high position in their company and my mom was starting her own business. They were busy but they still found time to spend with me and my brother. Until, things gradually changed between my parents and us, their children. It started when my parents started to miss special occasions, like my birthday or my brother’s graduation in elementary. It also pained us to see them fight at times. At first, I did not understand why they were fighting over money or why I feel awkward when I they kiss me on the cheeks.

I soon realized that I now seldom see them together, except when they’re fighting. It was hard for me and my brother to grow up without our parents when we need them. It came to the point where I hated special occasions because it was just a reminder that I was alone and that I don’t have my parents to celebrate with me or to just be with me. It came to a point where my parents have considered getting divorced. My brother got very depressed that he was needed to be brought to the hospital. It was an eye opener for my parents. They got the chance to see each other and stop and talk a while.

They got the chance to reflect and ask themselves, “how did we get here? ” After that incident, my parents decided that family should always come first. This brought a new light to our family. With our parents’ support, my brother slowly recovered from his depression. From that time on, our parent’s lives became happier and they now got the time to be with us. I also became happy and now I could say with pride that my parents love me and I have a happy family. The character that I can relate the least is the character of Margaret Oldham. She is a psychiatrist and is trained to listen to people’s drama in life.

This in turn made her flexible to the personalities of people around her. This in turn gave her the tolerance that she needs to fit in the world where diverse personalities exist. She was raised in the stable and has a strong sense of discipline. A strong sense of discipline is something that I am not very accustomed with. During the time when I felt alone and that my parents were not in good terms, there was nobody to discipline me. I was under the impression that I could do anything and everything that I wanted as long as I am not doing anything which is against the law.

Margaret was an achiever in school and in her profession. I was not very good in academics since my parents did not set any standards for me. Unlike other parents, they tell their children to achieve the best in school for them to get better jobs and that education is something that they can give their children, which cannot be taken away from them. I, on the other hand, was not very aware of this. Education was something I thought was just a stage in life that I have to go through and that it is something that I should also experience for me to be “normal” among my peers.

I disagree to her belief that people should not expect that a person could make them “magically happy” because when my parents finally realized their mistake on us and decided to reconcile and have a better family life, I was “magically happy”. I was blissfully happy to see that my parents were now willing to try their best to catch up on us and know us better. However, I could say that she is right in saying that people should communicate more on what they need and feel to be able to be happy.

I think, it is through communication that people can understand one another and be aware of the feelings of other people. She also stated that as an adult, one should accept his/her personal responsibility; that everybody is responsible for themselves. I agree to her in a way because we are responsible of our acts and it is up to us to make decisions for ourselves. However, we should also acknowledge the impact that we have on other people’s lives. Our actions and decisions could affect the people who care for us and are dear to us.

In making decisions, we should also consider the effect that the decision could give to others. She believes that a person’s fulfillment involves deep self-knowledge, a wide tolerance of the differences among people, and the willingness to accept responsibility for one’s own life. I must admit that I am not well aware of these responsibilities as a person before, but after I read Margaret Oldham’s character, I must say that it had opened a whole different perspective in my life. It made me realize that there are more things to learn in life so why spend it in self pity.


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