“Happy Birthday, Darling”! – Which one???


“Happy Birthday, Darling” is a natural expression of a parent’s love for his child. It gives expression to his pleasure, joy and happiness for his child.

This is good, he lets the child knows that he is loved, appreciated and treasured. This is the correct family environment to cultivate. This piece of action shows the parent knows his obligations as a parent. It also shows the child the proper way to act out his responsibilities.

But there seems to be something missing in this happy equation. It seems the young parent has left out his obligations to his own aged parents. This neglect, this missing part negates what he has taught his own child on the responsibilities and obligations as a parent.

In this situation, the young parent forgets to celebrate his own aged parents’ birthdays. The wonderful feelings of love, appreciation and concern he has expressed downwards to his child has not been transmitted upwards to his own aged old parents. The equation is lop-sided, he has neglected to give due consideration of his own parents’ feelings. He seemed to have forgotten his own filial obligations. By celebrating his own child’s birthday he taught his child well on the ‘responsibilities’ of a parent, but his failure to celebrate his own aged parents’ birthdays, he taught his child badly on the ‘responsibilities’ to parents.

The circle of responsibility would have been complete if the celebrations of the parents’ birthdays had been included.  The circle of education would also be more complete had the teaching on filial piety were included.

Children are always watching what their elders are doing, they do not often do what you say, but they do take in what you do.

In long ago China, when everything was done manually, there was an agrarian family whose daily existence was always a battle. A very bad famine did not help matters for the head of this struggling family which comprised of the man, his wife, a son and his aged old father. His food supply had dried up and for many days the family had nothing to eat. He was at his wit’s end as to how he could ensure the survival of his family members. The battle within him raged on for days before he finally made the agonizing decision to abandon his father. One morning he bundled his old feeble father into a big rattan basket and started to set off. His young son was there when they left, the young boy asked his father why he was putting his grandfather in a basket and where were they going. He told his son he was carrying the old man off to the hill so that there would be one mouth less to feed. Later that day when he returned, the young boy asked why he had come back empty-handed, and what he had done with the basket. The young father was a bit puzzled and asked why he asked so. The young son said he wanted to keep it as he would be needing it when the young father himself had grown old and feeble and could no longer contribute.

If we ever we have the occasions to be joyous and happy, let us keep our awareness of having to be grateful with us. Let us be always be mindful of who have caused to bring about such precious moments to us.

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One thought on ““Happy Birthday, Darling”! – Which one???

  1. “Children are always watching what their elders are doing, they do not often do what you say, but they do take in what you do.”

    This is absolutely true and something we all need to remember as parents.

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