In Indian mythology, first comes the almighty and the next in the hierarchy are our parents. May be that is why, our Hindu scriptures consider parental care as something divine. Parents in the form of mother and father are considered as next to the almighty (in the form of Goddess and God). That is why, presumably family system has existed in our country India, and at the same time, it may be expected that in the near future it will certainly exist unlike the west. If family is the first school for the little kids then, parents are their first teacher. In this way, to a large extent, the teachings of our parents during childhood imparted to their wards has also a large bearing on the vision of parental care for these kids. In a nutshell, the relationship between the parents and their wards may be sum up as “as you sow so shall you reap”.
Why should we take care of our parents?
Life is all about morality. The first lesson of morality for the parents should start from taking care of the kids in such a way that a morally strong citizen is mushroomed. Looking further from a different perspective, it can be said that, if family (as a group of individuals) forms the first association in the world then in this association the very yardstick of its existence is care for one another. In this saga of caring and sharing morality is the pillar around which the whole family system exists. The first teaching of this association in the form of family is to take care of the needs of one another and on the other hand, sharing the agony of one another too. Thus, there is a reciprocal relationship between child care and parental care.
If childhood is marked by innocence, then old age is a stage of dependency. The elder and infirm the parents are, the more the degree of dependency. In this perspective, that is, of parent’s dependence on their wards is sometimes an all-inclusive phenomenon (which means the parents are dependent from all aspects of life including finance) sometimes it is partial excluding finance as the parents are pension-holders or have other stable sources of income. Therefore.as finance is considered as the petrol of life in this materialistic and consumerist world, so does it is sometimes a barrier with regards to parental care. At the same time, we the young generation should remember, that, money may be able to buy everything but a person cannot buy his parents by dint of money. May be that is why, we Indians consider parents as divine incarnation as far as taking care of them is concerned. This fact speaks in volume as to why, we should take care of our parents.
How complexities of relationship affect parental care?
The expansion of family for a person (male or a female) from being a son to a son-in-law and from being a daughter to that of being daughter-in-law brings with it in most cases the complexities of relationship. What is meant by this is that, a son/daughter after becoming a son-in-law/daughter-in-law must maintain a plethora of relationship. This includes the family that he/she gets by dint of ancestral blood and the family by dint of the bonding of marriage or bindings of law (in the form of son-in-law, daughter -in-law, brother-in-law, sister-in-law etc.,) In this conglomeration of relationship, sometimes in this tussle between the relationship of ancestral blood and the newly created relationship of law (in the form of in-laws) parental care becomes an eventual casualty.
This complexities of relationship can be taken care of by the son, if and only if, he does not become a thorn in the flesh for his wife as far as taking care of his parents are concerned. On the other hand, the daughter-in- law should not act as an agent or representative of her pre-marital house in her in-law’s house. If these mindsets can be overcome, then parental care of both son and daughter-in-law and sometimes between the son-in-law and the daughter among the matrimonial houses becomes a thing of happiness. The result of this phenomenon will be not only good relationship between the two matrimonial families but also a good old-age care between the two families as far as its senior citizens are concerned. The buzzword in this regard is more cooperation and amity between the parents, wards and the two matrimonial families.
The modern view of parental care :-
The more materialistic that we have become, the lonelier that we have become. This is not a sermon but a reality in the real sense of the term. Many so-called modern youths of today believe that if there is any greater or better EMI for the parents, then, it is that, that is spent in the all-inclusive phenomenon of child-care and bringing them up. This, is because, these modern youths think that like a selfish and without any moral obligation their parents are looking after them, so that, they may get something in return as parental care. I think the whole approach of looking towards the concept of parental care of these so called modern youths is myopic and blurred.
Life is a merger of various feelings and emotions. In such a scenario, the attitude of gratitude is also one of them. If child-care for modern youths is like a payment of EMI, then, the whole feeling of gratitude towards their parents is a big void in their life. This voidness in life promoted them to act like beasts then being something divine. The first step of meeting of God in this eternal world is only by taking care of our parents from all perspectives. This step of meeting God by taking care of parents cannot be made wayward by anything called modernity. Thus, our young generation cannot take the plea of modernity for not taking care of their parents and rather it is their moral obligation to do so.
The duty of parents in getting good parental care : –
If old age of parents is marked by dependency, then, the youth age of their wards is full of challenges. In this regard, it may be further pointed out that, old age is marked by vast experiences towards life and worldly affairs. Therefore, it is the duty of the parents towards their wards and their in-laws that they enrich themselves with their experiences. On the other hand, it is also the duty of these parents to guide their wards by banking upon the experience of their previous lives. This is so because, if youth is full of challenges in life, then, old age is full of experiences of life.
On the contrary, it is sometimes seen that some parents act as the thorn in the neck for their wards and their in-laws. This sometimes becomes maniac for such parents. In the long run, the whole parent-ward relationship becomes wayward. This relationship between parents, their wards and their in-laws exist on the sense of cooperation and not that of conflict. Therefore, it is the bounden duty of these senior citizens of the society, firstly, to guide their young ones and secondly, not to be arrogant towards life and their young ones. Therefore, in the long run the whole society will certainly be a gainer if this youth and old age combine bank upon each other in marching ahead in their respective lives.
The thread of relationship between human beings is very delicate and brittle. So, does the relationship between old-age parents and their young ones. This relationship’s guiding mantra should be a sense of gratitude, cooperation and most importantly a sense of belongingness for each other. In such a scenario, parental care takes a form of divinity if done in the true sense of the term. Hindu scriptures talk of life in heaven or hell after death. Without going much into its truthfulness or falsity, I think, that the road to heaven for the young generation after their old age is certainly led by and guided by the sense of belongingness and the sense of care for their parents. This may also be considered as an approach towards parental care as far as our country India is concerned.
- Author: JNANDEEP BORA, GUWAHATI, A participant of Monthly Essay Contest, October,2019