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Problem Parents ... They Just Don't Get It !




It is an uphill battle, getting parents to understand where we are coming from.

Maybe, it's the generation gap?

Not a day goes by without an argument and the need to just get away from it all.

I remember a time in my life when I use to hate spending time with my parents. It seemed like they couldn't go two minutes without picking faults in me. It was their favorite past-time, I think. Each day I would look forward to the time they would be at work and I would have some peace and quiet at home.

In my quiet time, I would dream of getting married and getting away from them.

Then, one day, on a really long day home alone, I got tired of dreaming about my future perfect life. So, I got up and started cooking and cooking and cooking. I made more food than I could imagine and then when my parents came home I sat them down and served them.

That day I realized a few things as I served the food. Those lessons were: a small sweet thought can go a long way; a little 'yes' is better than a big 'no'; and, finally, change yourself, not others.

My small sweet thought was going above and beyond preparing a special dinner for my family. My parents didn't expect it, especially since my mom is always lecturing me to put some more effort into my cooking, but to no avail. That day we didn't argue over my unwillingness to cook because I felt since none of my friends have to, why should I do it?

In their shock, they sat while I served one dish after another, without saying a word to them. That day, I even washed the dishes and didn't even whine about it. Then, when I was about to sit down, thinking I had earned it, my mother asked me for some warm milk. At this point, I was mad; parents can't appreciate a small deed and ask for more and more. I handed my mom her milk and was about to sit down, when my dad asked for his meds.

That whole evening, they took advantage of my nice behavior. My mom asked me a simple question when I was finally allowed to sit down in peace: "Who will do all this for us when you leave?"

That question hit me like a ton of bricks.

I had never thought about my parents' life without me and I never gave them a chance to tell me either. I was always so busy fighting over every little thing; I never gave them a chance to acknowledge the good deeds I did. That day I became greedy for my parents' praise and started doing more sweet deeds to earn praise.

Sweet deeds take time, so to earn praise faster I started saying 'yes' to the little annoying chores my mom always asks me to do. The deeds and small 'yes' made things super smooth between me and my mom but daddy was still not impressed.

My dad's weak spot was drinking but my mom and his sister never let him drink in peace. I started siding with my dad and would vote ‘yes' in his favor to have his nightly drink. I would fight with my mom and aunt, and daddy would drink in peace. My willingness to say 'yes' quickly made me dad's favorite family member. He started talking to me more and spending more time with me. During our moments together I would tell my dad it's okay for him to drink but I really don't think it's healthy and that I wanted him to live a long time.

Thus, while saying 'yes', I would coax him to stop drinking.

I didn't fight against my parents anymore because I knew they loved me and I don't fight with loved ones, not even when they are wrong.

With love, I slowly got my dad to stop drinking and focus more on his Sikhi. Today, he is amritdhari and I don't have to deal with his drinking. My parents were happy and I was happy.

The key of happiness was not changing my parents to make them into what I wanted, but changing myself. I am a firm believer that you can't change the world, you can't even change one person but you can always change yourself. So I did just that. In front of my parents, I would live by their rules and did the small things that made them happy. In my time I would focus on myself and what made me happy.

A cute instance that comes to mind is when I started wearing my turban and my mom hated it. My mother loved me but she couldn't understand why I needed to wear the turban; she forbade me from wearing it. I explained to my mother that I really like it and want to wear it but since she was not happy with it, I will only wear it once in a while. That turned out to be a blessing in disguise because wearing it just once a week helped me get comfortable with the turban and my mother wasn't mad either.

Slowly, the turban grew on me and my mother. One day I was upset and my mother cheered me up by coming into my room and started to tie a turban on her head. It was her way of saying I accept you as who you are, no matter what the world says.

That was my biggest encouragement to work harder towards becoming a better Sikh and wearing a turban all the time. I didn't have to fight with my mother to get to a point where I could wear a turban, I just accepted how she felt and changed myself to accept her feelings, instead of fighting them.

But I did not give up my right to wear my turban; I wore it on my time.

She was happy and so was I.

Parents are impossible to change so change yourself and accept them for who they are. The moment you're happy and keeping them happy, they will start to put more effort to remember little things that keep you happy. If you're mad and always fighting with them, then they are just going to be mad right back at you. Stop fighting; do small sweet little things to make your parents smile, say 'yes' when they ask you to do something (even if it doesn't always make sense) and change yourself to make a better you.

Change your family, including your parents, with love ... not with argument.


August 25, 2010

Conversation about this article

1: Sangat Singh (Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia), August 25, 2010, 10:35 AM.

I have a perfect example of such a father. This comes from the famous book, 'Badshahian', authored by S. S. Charan Singh 'Shaheed' (1932 edition) which I have, but buried somewhere. But, I do remember the gist of his famous poem, "Adam Boh", roughly translated as a 'querulous loud mouthed person'. One day, the mother, while tending her little son's 'joorrah', she was trying to impart good values by telling him that he should always be kind to his friends and share whatever he was eating, etc., especially with his dear friend 'Lalu' who was an orphan. Just then, his own father entered the house like a tornado, shouting and yelling, with children scurrying away out of harm's way. Just then, the little son tugged his mother's 'kameez' and said: "Ma, why don't we donate our father to 'Lalu' to give us some respite." What an original piece of advice that brought about laughter to calm the 'Adam Boh' father.

2: Satnam (Calgary, Alberta, Canada), August 26, 2010, 2:27 PM.

Something to read and ponder upon.

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