I often feel pressure from my family’s expectations of me. How can I reduce this stress without disappointing anyone?

Lama Ole’s answer:

Either you give people fish or you teach them to fish. As Buddhists, we should teach people to fish and make them independent. We play with our children until they have learned to play by themselves. Then we can be with them sometimes, and other times do something else. If we always consciously aim to help people become autonomous and independent—to develop themselves and stand in full mastery of their capabilities—then we can achieve a lot.

If we look at things from this perspective, it is not difficult to invest a half-hour in the family sometimes, even when you come home tired. Then afterwards you can say, “Now the news is on and I’d like to watch it”; and later you give a bit of attention to your family again. The fact that the generations are growing apart right now is the real burden. In all societies, the children used to be raised by the grandparents while the parents were out working. It’s a shame the older generation is now sitting in old people’s homes while the strong ones—who should be working hard and producing—have to spend the whole day taking care of the children.