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Monday, October 6, 2008

Respect your elders. Value their experience

SENIOR CITIZENS of India are being alienated - either in their own homes or in exclusive homes, called euphemistically, ‘old age homes’. Sons and daughters live with their parents until they start a family. Once they start a family, they start treating their parents as ones from another family.

The resultant separation has two dimensions to it. One is physical separation and the other is emotional separation. Indian law provides for the son or the daughter to acquire a new ration card once the son or daughter gets married. The ration card so issued keeps out the names of the parents. This is the first instance of separation.

The second is emotional separation, arising from the daughter-in-law ill-treating her in-laws. The son, instead of raising his voice to her, moves the parents to an old age home. If the couple is working abroad, the aged parents are moved to old age homes to ensure their safety.

The desire for nuclear family on the part of the young couples results in the alienation of the parents. For the youngsters, the immediate issue is their personal lives and not taking care of their aged parents. Youngsters must realise that they are what they are only because of their parents and other elders.

At a certain point of time, the teens begin to believe that they are capable of leading lives on their own. The attractive salary packages the youngsters are able to command even at the beginning of their career leads them to believe that they are superior to the previous generation. But in the process, they miss out on the positives that the emotional bonding between the two generations can bring about.

Youngsters must understand that the number of years they have been on this planet (or their age) is at best equal to the experience of the elders, in terms of the number of years. They must value the suggestions of their elders since such suggestions are culled from valuable experience. During childhood, parents make us comfortable by showering love, care and affection on us. They provide moral, economic and emotional support to the children.

But once the children take off, they leave their parents in the lurch. Factors such as modernisation, westernisation and globalisation lead our youngsters to lose their faith in the joint family system. Globalisation has led to our elders leading a lonely life. The ill-informed youngsters blindly fall for globalisation and insult the parents – the very people who have made the youngsters what they are. Youngsters must understand that they will become old too; the next generation may treat them the same way they treated their own parents. Father is the role model for the child. If a young father ill-treats his father, the child, having witnessed it at close quarters, will treat its own father the same way, once it grows up.

My dear youngsters please do not forget that what goes around comes around. Respect your elders. Value their experience. Share their feelings. Lend a helping hand to them. Remember, you are what you are, because of them.

By Itzmecharu

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