You are duty bound to take care of them even if you are 70 and above. Children who treat their parents with levity would always pay a price for it…
I still vividly recall the excruciating pain caused by the crash of the Sosoliso plane in Port-Harcourt, Rivers State in December 2005, which took many lives including that of vibrant Pastor Bimbo Odukoya. As young reporters then, our editor, Mr. Femi Adesina, who is now the Special Adviser on Media and Public Affairs to President Muhammadu Buhari, had charged us to look for the relatives of the casualties involved in the Sosoliso disaster, for human angle stories about the plane crash. It was in the course of this search that I encountered an old couple, the Adelekes (not real name though), whose last son was involved in that Sosoliso plane crash. The man was 83, while his wife was 78.
Tears flowed freely from Mama’s eyes when I carefully stated my mission knowing I had opened a fresh wound. She cried, wept, shook her head in disbelief for minutes until her aged husband placated and calmed her down. I was calm but was also calculating with my focused eye until she was able to speak. Mama said that of all her children, the dead son was her heart. She began to extol the virtues of her late son and added, “When you give birth to several children, you know your own.” Even as an accomplished Chartered Accountant who lived well in Abuja, her late son according to her made it a point of duty to visit his aged retired weary parents. The moment he entered the house, not minding the presence of a domestic servant, the house would wear a new look, he would wash all their clothing and personally iron them, fix their breakfast, drive them to places of interest, and shop for them at supermarkets. As if he knew he would not last long, he would always create time for them and his parents blessed him. “Any weekend he spent with us used to resurrect and give us hope,” Mama painfully recalled.
In another account, a cousin’s landlord who is also a strong willed 80-year-old man with an aged wife are not ageing gracefully like their fellow octogenarians. These ones are rather facing tough times; but like Robert Schuller said in one of his best sellers, ‘Tough times never last, but tough people do.’ Even as great grandparents with several children and grandchildren, they sustain themselves with the proceeds from their farm. If the Baba feels like taking tea, he would walk down the road and buy a misery teabag, 3 cubes of sugar and two sachet packs of milk at N80+ when he should have them in abundance at least for his age. Should it be so for a couple who have toiled for their children over the years? The bible enjoins children to honour their parents so that their days will be long.
I have not forgotten a story told by a media bigwig at a conference. He said as an executive director of his flourishing newspaper, he wears suits and ties, sits at the back of his car, and would be chauffeur driven to his mother’s house. When he gets there, he would pound fufu for his aged mother, who prefers to eat. After pounding the fufu, he would freshen up and come back to work without anybody noticing what transpired some hours ago. As an ED, he could afford both electric and manual pounder, but chose to treat his mother specially.
My friend’s father is a strong widower at 90+. When he was hungry in the village because no child was willing to attend to him, he would climb the Basil tree (known as oha tree in Igbo) to pluck some leaves and prepare soup for himself at that age until his daughter got wind of it and moved him into her home till date.
What about a child who made his mother borrow during the Christmas in the 90’s? His mother obeyed him and they celebrated lavishly. In that festive activity, before the cockcrow of New Year, the boy had sneaked away back to his base in the city and left his parents in shock and pain. When the owner of the money came calling, it was so devastating how a child could do such a terrible thing, and raise the blood pressure of his parents.
An account of a great man who was virtually too big for his community in the 70’s was told that when he returned from the United Kingdom with a British wife as an aeronautical engineer, he worked with British Airways and lived big in Ikoyi. His community was proud of him and saw him as a mentor for the younger generation; but it was not easy to reach him because of his new status symbol. Security had turned down several of his kinsmen because there were no scheduled appointments. Gossip went round that his dogs chased people away. His father in the village was hinted about the situation and the aged man arrived the Ikoyi home to educate his listening technocrat son on the importance of having his kinsmen around. His door became open until he passed unto glory.
Taking care of parents is not by sending money alone. Students, the only way you can take care of your parents now is by returning with excellent results and be obedient to them. There is no parent who does not celebrate the achievements of his children. Taking care of them could be by being around them, to help out with household chores. Dear children of God kindly note that a child is a child no matter your age as long your parents are alive. You are duty bound to take care of them even if you are 70 and above. Children who treat their parents with levity would always pay a price for it and this is scriptural.
I do not blame a traditional ruler who said, “May it be well for all my children, but super well for my child who loves and cares for me the most.”
Over time, men and women have abandoned their children due to separation or divorce and make due with other women. Some of these children try to pay them back in their own coin, but I say to you children, have a forgiving heart; do what you are expected to do and leave such a parent with the Creator.
If your parents are not proud of you as their child both boys and girls, you are missing in action. Children who think that money takes care of everything might not be right after all. Make it a point of duty to see your parents as often as you can. They look forward to such priceless moments. Don’t live all your life on the telephone. The way they cared for you as a child, shielded you from danger, provided and loved you, the same should be given to them now not when they are dead. Give them your time, feel their pulse, find out the song they are singing? Be close to them, so that when they are gone, you will be free from blame and regret of ‘If I had known’. Please give them what is due to them now that they are alive.
I was at the Lagos University Teaching Hospital (LUTH) recently where a relative was hospitalised at the Accident and Emergency Ward. I sat down as a patient’s relative and a reporter. My joy knew no bounds when I saw a family of four boys whose mother was in a deteriorating condition. The boys took turns to take care of their mother including bathing her, but unfortunately, she passed on; lovingly they did their best.
A retired renowned medical director was not satisfied with his children’s conduct. They weren’t showing signs to become the face of the famous hospital in the South-South; the doctor confided in his relative that at 75, he was not pleased with his sons’ character. Whenever he was in need, he would sell of one of his properties to take care of his foreign trips and medical needs since his children had disappointed him.
No matter how successful your parents are in life, that little gift matters to them. That little attention rekindles their spirit. Making out time to see them and catching up on old times are all enjoyable and priceless moments.
Most people use work schedule as excuses, but when parents eventually pass on, then would they make out time and plan a lavish burial. If you take them to the city for medical attention, release them at their will. Locking them up in a flat or well-built compound amounts to reducing their life span gradually because that is not their regular environment. But when they are in their own home, walk around to exchange pleasantries with people, attend village meetings, church and other activities, these things keep them busy, it suit their system well.
Today, I charge all children, both old and young, to have a role to play in their parent’s life. Christmas is here, do not buy Schnapps and send by waybill to your father. Instead go home and spend quality time with your parents. Do not show your love and loyalty at their back. The time is now, while they are alive.