Wednesday, May 25, 2011

The Changing Dynamics of the Parent-Child Relationship

Today in class we had a debate on "Old Age Homes: A Need or Not?" During this, I noted that everyone was quick to place the blame on the children's/youth's attitude. Granted, the youth's attitude shift is disturbing. But is only the younger generation at fault? This is a completely different take on one aspect of the topic.

Until around thirty years or so, the relationship between a child and his parent was quite precious, pure and uncomplicated. But ever since new technology came, and with it the Western influence, matters have taken a turn. Take, for example, a typical scene in most modern households. Both parents working, and the keys of the flat are with the kid(s). After they arrive from school and have food, they stay glued to all the serials, reality shows, item songs etc. etc. Otherwise, it's computers and internet - with Facebook and Orkut and, god forbid, porn. Enter the parents, around 8 o'clock in the night, dead tired from their work. Just a few casual words exchanged, and then it's bedtime.

Where has the love gone? The care, the concern, the affection, the queries about school and life? Where are the bedtime stories and "bonding time"? Most parents don't even know what's going on their children's lives, and vice-versa. Parents have been reduced to just ATM cards and children to spenders. Is this what you call an ideal parent-child relationship? One without any communication, any connection?

I don't. And for me, this is one of the crucial factors in the current surge in the number of old age homes. The first question in the blame game is always "What did you do for me?" and parents will be left answer-less. And no later, packed off to one of such homes. I don't like the concept of these, and neither do I support abandoning one's own parents. They're our parents, after all. But it would be good if parents remembered to say "We love you" to their kids at least once a day, and kids to reciprocate this love. Because these words, even though only three, have immense power.

And remember what I told about matters taking a turn? It's up to the youth to decide whether the turn is for the better or worse.

1 comment:

  1. Dear Zainab Mol,
    Awesome piece reflecting lots of wisdom. Keep it up.

    Here is a direct command from God to take care of our parents. It is interesting to note that God has expressed the command to be grateful to parents along with the command to be grateful to God. Also, our beloved Prophet has stated that "paradise lies at the feet of your mother".

    You will find similar commandments in other religious text or tradition as well. Unfortunately, in these days of crass materialism, people have lost connection with the fundamental values derived from the sacred, and instead they are following their carnal self in its multitude of manifestations - wealth, material display etc.

    Quran 17:23-24
    ..for thy Sustainer has ordained that you shall worship none but Him. And do good unto [thy] parents. [26] Should one of them, or both, attain to old age in thy care, never say "Ugh" [27] to them or scold them, but [always] speak unto them with reverent speech, and spread over them humbly the wings of thy tenderness, [28] and say: "O my Sustainer! Bestow Thy grace upon them, even as they cherished and reared me when I was a child!"

    Quran 31:14-15
    “And [God says:] ‘We have enjoined upon man goodness towards his parents: his mother bore him by bearing strain upon strain, and his utter dependence on her lasted two years: [14] [hence, O man,] be grateful towards Me and towards thy parents, [and remember that] with Me is all journeys’ end. [15]

    “‘[Revere thy parents;] yet should they endeavour to make thee ascribe divinity, side by side with Me, to something which thy mind cannot accept [as divine], [16] obey them not; but [even then] bear them company in this world’s life with kindness, and follow the path of those who turn towards Me. In the end, unto Me you all must return; and thereupon I shall make you [truly] understand all that you were doing [in life].’

    (Translations from The Message of the Quran by Mohammed Asad)

    Aslam Mama