Perhaps one of the most serious issues that the present day policy makers face is that associated with old age. Not that they haven’t dealt with tougher challenges before. It is the magnitude of the problem that is frustrating. Remember those life cycles we would study in the biology classes right in the secondary school? Each organism including man is dependent upon its parents at one stage of its growth, parents who nurture it in every possible way, parents who would not really care about anything else if their young ones were safe and protected. So far, the situation is fairly simple and man shares an astounding similarity with lower organisms. Where the problem arises for lower organisms might still be under study but for man, the situation is pretty much clear. This young one of a man grows up to become one of the most ungrateful beings the world had ever seen.
I am not the kind of person who blames the West for every misconduct that is prevalent in our days. Despite this, I believe the western culture played spoilsport with the concepts of liberty and freedom of expression.The result? Not only could a child choose his career independently but also sue his parents and drag them to the court for insisting upon choosing the one they considered was right! Not only could a son raise hue and cry whenever his father slapped him for not studying but also he could abuse him or even assault him in revenge. Parents were portrayed as obstructions in the child’s independent decisions. Any suggestion by the parents began to be termed as ‘interference’ and ‘infringement’ of the child’s right to freedom. Once mature, these teenagers began expelling their parents from what was actually their homes. Then came the old age homes and so did humiliation. It is sad how we can do so much of lip service as to talk about justice when we don’t practice it ourselves. This was what the poor mother had got in return for all the care that she gave! This is how we pay back a wretched father who had never undergone a health checkup himself, worrying more for his little child, until he became hypertensive. Talk about ingratitude!
There are so many alibis we put forward to escape our responsibilities every day. And like a true loser, we do not fail to make ‘time’ (or the lack of it) a scapegoat. It really doesn’t take time to hug your mother and speak a few words of compassion. Saying to your dad that you are there for him always, is hardly time-consuming. But this generation has a different choice. We choose to believe that our parents are ‘outdated’. That the times have changed and our choices have to be necessarily ours. In our ignorance, we believe it’s cool to not listen to them and to think they have a narrower perspective of things. It’s hip to say they are ‘old-fashioned’. How I wish more sanity prevailed in this world!
No matter how much good we might do to them, the hardships parents bear can never be compensated in reality. There are things that simply can’t be paralleled or paid for. The pains of a mother right from conception to birth and then to the careful nurturing of a child is inexplicable. The Holy Quran puts it as:
"We have enjoined on man (to be good) to his parents: in travail upon travail did his mother bear him."
And so it is obligatory that we stand by our parents in thick and thin. It is important to overlook the minor mistakes they commit. It is required that we assure them of every possible support when the need arises. It is important to call them once in a while just to tell how much we love them. Like the way they cuddled us when we did not necessarily need it. Much like a worried mother who sat by the pillow while her son or daughter was ill and like the father who was ready to accept every challenge if his child had the best food to eat and the best dresses to wear. It’s time we pay them back, possibly with rich dividends!