Be a parent to a parent

By Julia Fernandes

January 6, 2012

 

"When parents err, forgive and change them!" -- Julia Fernandes

 

Recently, my brother was sitting with my mom and he noticed a sore red spot on her left arm probably caused by itching. He fumed and complained to me as to how negligent mom is towards these things. I came closer, had a look and then looked at my mom. Before I could say anything, my mom joined her arms together and threw the most innocent look towards me.

 

For the next few seconds, the person sitting in front of me was no longer my mom -- but a small girl, frightened at being caught doing something wrong and anticipating a scolding. It is a sight I can never forget. It simply melted my heart. My face broke into a smile and I held my mom’s face in my hands and said nothing.

 

As children we look up to our parents for everything, from learning to walk, to talk, to understanding what life is all about. They teach us how to fly without wings. Most parents drive in us values, principles fashioning us into valuable human beings. They never teach us anything wrong.

 

But what happens when a parent falters? What happens when the shoulders that carried you when you were small shoulder wrong things? What happens when the hand that caught your hand and helped you take your first baby steps is engaged in doing things that are not quite right?

 

One cannot abandon them, yet one has to make sure they do not continue in their ways. In other words, how do you bring an errant parent on the right path? How can you deconstruct their old ways and show them a new way?

 

There is just one way you can do it -- role reversal. Just because you are born as a son or daughter does not mean your role is to learn or imbibe everything from your parents, more so, if it is wrong. Your role in this case is that of a parent -- of being a guardian.

 

Condemning is easy, but that is not what God expects you to do. Changing them is tough, very tough, but maybe that is what God wants you to do. Sometimes, God makes you a son or daughter not to learn but to teach and show your parents the right path. Sometimes, the only reason you have the kind of mom and dad you have is to simply save their souls.

 

Though you may have taken birth as a child, your role may not necessarily be strictly cut out as a child. In cases when you can see your parents doing something wrong, your karmic role goes beyond your traditional role as a child. You got to rise up, pray to God to help you fulfill your unconventional duty as a parent to a parent!