It’s Our Chidren’s Responsibility, But….

The Bible says that the promise of a long life will be bestowed upon those that honor their parents. So just what does that mean in today’s world? Well, the first thing that comes to my mind is simply make them proud of you. But, I know that is not always possible, especially if you have an absentee set of parents. But for most, this topic has a valid application. Just how can a young person set out in the early stages of adulthood to achieve what the current generation of young adults would term a challenge?

First, try not to embarrass your family. That would be a good idea wouldn’t it? Maybe, be a productive citizen, stay out of trouble with law enforcement, and show up promptly for Sunday dinner after church, (and yes you should probably be in church too). Those are just a few ideas that might keep you on the straight and narrow, at least as far as your parents are concerned. But I think at the end of your days, it’s going to be much more in depth than that.

Do you remember when it was a really sad day when a family had to consider sending mom or dad to a nursing center or retirement home? I have had plenty of instances where family needed more help than other family members could provide, but they only took necessary steps for advanced care after exhausting both physical and financial means with which to provide for their loved ones. We learn by example. We also learn a lot of other things, from each other, as well as prior generations.

We’ve seemed to teach an entire generation (or two) how to pass the buck, or rather pass the guilt, to someone else, somewhere else, out of sight, and more importantly, out of mind. The fact is that responsibility is given, passed, and earned, and not always asked for, but it falls to the older generation to teach the younger generation how to handle it. We might fail in some individual situations with children, but you can look across society and get a sense of where we are as a nation in the department of ‘respecting our elders’.

As I think of these issues, I’m reminded of the line in the John Wayne movie, Big Jake, where Wayne’s character tells one of his sons that ‘since you don’t respect your elders, maybe you’ll respect your betters’, proceeding to drag him off his horse and through the mud finishing him off with a punch to the face. I’m sure a lot of our elders wish they could straighten out some of their heirs in that fashion. Do you think about long term effects of ignoring your responsibility to teach your kids how to handle responsibility?

As you are in the latter stages of your life, will you be in your rocker, wondering if your kids will care for you? Or, will it be understood by them that they have a responsibility to help and assist you as you did for them long ago when they depended 100% on you? I make the argument that in a lot of cases, I’m not even saying in most cases that some kids feel no responsibility because they haven’t had to deal with any. Dare I say, that there are some who are simply waiting on Mom and Dad to ‘kick the bucket’ and then begin fighting with siblings over the scraps from their lives. Yes, I said scraps! Have you taught them that the stuff is just stuff? It’s the memories, STUPID!!!!!

You might not be in position to avoid having to get advanced care for your parents (or yourself), but, as you navigate through the stages of life, make sure to capitalize on every opportunity to make memories with your children and your parents alike. It’s the only thing that we all will take to the grave. Responsibility is a partnership it’s not just on the children.

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