Role Reversal


As we grow up as kids, we all are in awe of our parents.  We adore them and think they are everything to us.  We respect them, serve them and even role model their behaviour in our everyday life.  They become the standard for most things we do in life.  We consult them and seek their advice in any dilemma or major decisions in life.  This continues till the day we stand on our own feet.  

As we become independent, we start believing that the world is in our control.  We may not disrespect them but tend to take decisions on our own.  Our parents are proud of our independent nature and they let go their control over us.  We gain confidence and lead our own lives in our own way.

We get married and our spouse enters our lives.  She/He contributes equally to our well being and participates in all our decision making processes.  Some of us continue to seek advice from our parents even at this stage as we respect their acumen.  Then we bear kids and many a time move away from our homes in view of career compulsions.  This not only makes us physically away from our parents but also tends to emotionally distance us.

Our parents continue to believe that we are connected with them emotionally and we will take care of them for the rest of their lives.  But suddenly, the pressures of work , family commitments and the demands of our careers takes us farther away from them.  They are left lonely at home and mostly to fend for themselves.  Many a time , as children, we do not have the time or the intent even to visit them leave alone take care of  all their needs.

Suddenly, our parents feel the vacuum in their lives.  They feel helpless and not taken care of.  They do not look upon us for our monetary support.  They are more interested in our emotional support.  We think we have done our duty by sending some money every month or by providing a lot of material support for their physical convenience.  We do not realize that at this stage of their life, they look for emotional well being rather than material comforts.

I have always wondered why this change as the roles reverse in our lives.  Why do we not realize that this is a cycle of life and one day we will be in their position too.  What happens to all their contributions to our success in life ? Why do we become less grateful to them ? Why does selfish interest make us forget to be grateful to our parents, who have made us what we are today ?

May be I do not have the answers but I do have many questions.  May be I can be different now and in the future.  What can make us realize that this is the core of the Indian culture.  How can we sustain and preserve it for our future generations ? Can I commit to be different and be a role model for my children and grand children to follow ?

Even today, there are many good people, who take care of their parents( like my aunt in the picture above taken care by her son and daughter in law) and I salute them.

S Ramesh Shankar