By Jagan N. Gosain
Wheaton, IL: You reap what you sow — this or something similar to this has been expressed in most of the societies, religions, tribes and traditions in some form or the other. As they say, you do not plant a pear tree and expect to have cherries.
I have been reading in India Tribune, published out of Chicago, New York and Atlanta, as to how harsh and shabbily the older people are being treated by the younger generations. About 25 years ago a friend of mine asked me as to why we don’t make some apartments or condos to house our older people, where they can have the company of the people with similar backgrounds, enjoy their ethnic food and style of living. I appreciated the idea and mentioned it to several of my friends and they liked the idea, but none of us had a strong commitment to give it a practical shape. Now my generation is getting old and some of us realize the need, but do not have enough vigor to get the project off the ground and give it a practical shape. Most of the younger generation can’t realize the need for human contact, exchange of ideas and what lies ahead. They are never going to realize that most of the time, it is not only the physical necessities like food, shelter, medical care and alike, but also a person needs emotional stimulation.
When most of the immigrants were from Europe, the differences between the generations were not that pronounced. However, with the Asian immigrants, the differences in thinking and behavior are much more pronounced between the two generations. Let us say that most of Asia at the time of their immigration was about 50-100 years behind America, in material prosperity. Let us say 25 years is one generation, then 50-100 years would amount to 2-4 generation. Talking to your offspring, is like conversing with somebody 50-100 years back or your great, great grandparents. The net result is miscommunication of most of the ideas and values.
For most of the Asian societies, paying for the education of the children is part of the duty towards the family, which is why you do not see too many Asian children graduating with huge student loans.
The parents spent too much time working and providing for the families and not enough time to pursue other interests like providing for their old age and taking care of their health. If you burn the candle on two sides it will burn much quicker. The older generation burnt the candle on both sides and sometimes even in the middle so that they could provide better life for their families. Now it is the turn of those children to give the older generation some respect and to make the life of the older generation more bearable.
The population of the earth is now nearly 6.8 billion people. Let us say the population is evenly divided between men and woman, which makes 3.4 billion men and 3.4 billion women. Let us say about 10 percent of the people are of your parent’s age, that calculates to one man in 340 million men that you can call your father, similarly one in 340 million women you can call your mother, which is significantly more than the entire population of the United States. Parents are a very rare commodity, several times more precious than diamonds or any other rare commodity.
Spend at least one hour per week to talk to your parents, that is less than 0.6 percent of your time. Some people may say: “We are very busy and don’t have enough time even for ourselves. My parents are habitual complainers and I can’t make them happy irrespective how hard I try.” But remember if the parents had adopted the same attitude, their children will not be in the position to make this statement. There are 24 hours in a day for everybody, whether you are a king or a beggar, black, white, yellow or green. Time keeps moving whether you act or not. Depending upon the circumstances, you can go to see them, call them, but make sure your children are with you when you go to visit your parents. Remember you want to ensure that you are treated better than you are treating your parents. Help your parents physically and financially. Set an example to your children by treating your parents with all the love and affection they deserve.