Monday, April 07, 2008

Yesterday's Heroes...

As the days age and our years advance, we realise that life is there for the taking. We tend to believe that we’re capable of achieving that raw dream. The freedom of choice is a liberating experience. The choice of having 3 girlfriends or a weekend trip to Bali for a change of environment or even a night out with the lads for a few hundred glasses of beer. These are the days of looking forward. But what of the days that lie at the back? The days when you were part of a system. The system of a family.

We choose to spend time with a whole legion of dim-wit idiots in a bar, but we can’t spend enough time to have a chat with the woman whom we spent nine months in? You are comfortably able to go for yet another meal with a rude wanker with blood only rushing to one head and it ain’t up north either. Yet you have qualms about sitting down for dinner with your folks at home. The eclipse of rationality happens more often than the moon comes out! Your decision making skills are at an all time low if you still subject yourself to the idiot with all the money and none of the intellect. You want intellect, tradition, and culture and still not scour the planet in hot pursuit? Look no further than those photos back when you were a young little rascal. That is history and they are your legacy.

Every man has a backbone to weather many a storm and mine is family. I have always said I’m blessed with great parents. We may not see eye to eye on everything but they are and will remain in the top bracket of my priorities. I’ve always said, I don’t deserve the people around me. For some odd reason though the big man sees it in his own little perspective light.

My parents have always supported me in everything I’ve done from the plain stupid to the extraordinarily insane. They’ve voiced their concerns when they’ve had to, but always stood there to welcome the bruised ego back with open arms. They’ve sacrificed their lives for the sake of their children. People always ask me how is it that I’m not in the least bit a god-fearing man when I’m surrounded, at times, by the extraordinarily religious. My answer has always been simple, as I’ve never really had a reason to chant mantras in an altar in a bid to get god to listen to me or be kind to my soul. See, I don’t need to, because I have god’s avatars in the form of my parents. We may have our spats and disagreements, but my gratitude is eons beyond the failings of my monumental ego. For as long as I’m able, I will do everything I can to make them happy.

I believe there isn’t a season for loyalty. You can’t be loyal and disloyal as and when it suits you. You are either loyal or disloyal, there isn’t a grey area as neither is there switching sides to suit your whims. In my eyes, a man who can’t be there for a parent is hardly a man. You can blame the modern lifestyles we lead as excuses for your shortcomings, but the fact is you have a choice. A choice to do what’s right, not what pressure dictates. When your parents pass, you must not regret then at the magnitude of your folly.

Maybe the view is too skewed, as many have disagreements with their folks that make that impasse of loyalty impossible. There are grey areas and we must accept that not everyone has the same priorities. It is true that it’s impossible for every child to worship their parents like I do. Having said that I strongly believe that you must at least try, to find a solution to keeping the relationship harmonious.

Many amongst us find a reason to be kind to strangers, yet we are snappy or impolite to the very people who spent their lives raising us up. We may argue and fight but at the end of the day, at least with your parents, don’t carry grudges. Leave that ego at the door. Realise that you stand the man you are because they molded that man.

However, there are some parents who are like little kids themselves and make it impossible to be an adult. Maybe then just like any other relationship, it’s best to keep your distance. Lack of communication can be interpreted both ways. A lack of communication is usually seen as a bad thing as it leads to breakdowns in relationships. A lack of communication can also be interpreted as good if in the long run it is beneficial. Beneficial because it creates the space that allows you to carry on without the distractions of conflict.

We’re all intelligent in our own right. We’re all mature in our own right. Sometimes parents can be conventional in their thinking and unreceptive to change. But if ever there is a need for patience, practice it in abundance when dealing with your family. Don’t succumb to the folly of youth and dismiss their advanced years as inexperienced or backward. Always give them the benefit of the doubt. Listen more than you speak.

In a world that is shrinking at a ferocious pace, let’s not lose out our identity. Our parents are family and family should always remain on the forefront of priorities. When your children ask you tomorrow where you came from or who they are, you will regret not having an answer. The key to those questions lie in the grasp of our parents. They are your identity. Civilizations are judged on their history. Ignore that at your peril for you could get lost in history.

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