Imperatives of celebrating, taking care of parents while they are alive – Survey
Making one’s parents happy may not necessarily involve a lot of money; listening to them, making time for them and advocating for them, among others, will go a long way in sustaining their living, observers note
Listening to their old stories of life that may not be interesting, somewhat, could give parents a relief that after all they are still relevant in existence, they observe further.
For instance, parents that don’t live with their children need a constant telephone call for a supportive and healthy relationship.
Unarguably, parents are integral part of every family and should be celebrated for their dedication in raising their children.
Parents’ fundamental roles in one’s life notwithstanding, observers note that parents are not celebrated by their children and loved ones as it should be.
NAN spoke to a cross section of people in the south eastern part of the country on the need to celebrate parents while they are still alive.
Some respondents underscored the need for children to celebrate their parents while they are alive, describing the gesture as more positive, impactful and rewarding for their labour.
According to them, it is the best way to honour and appreciate parents for all the trouble they went through bringing the children up.
An Umuahia-based Business Coach, Mr Godson Adiele, said that celebrating one’s parents while they are alive fulfills the biblical injunction “that we should honour our parents, with the promise that our days will be long’’.
Adiele said: “God exhorts everyone, regardless of creed or religion, to honour our parents.
“The importance of this injunction can be seen by its inclusion as one of the 10 Commandments in the Bible.
“Honour your father and mother, which is the first commandment with a promise, so that it may be well with you, and that you may live long on earth.”
He further said that every responsible person should make it a responsibility to celebrate their parents while they live “because whatever you do when they are gone would be useless’’.
Also, a civil servant, Miss Amarachi Uche, said: “It is practically impossible for anybody to adequately compensate their parents for their sacrifice, support and guidance in bringing us up.
“As much as some will try to pretend or deny it, we are who we are today because of their parenting efforts.
“They nurtured and equipped us with the necessary lessons of life and skills to help us navigate through the tortuous and rigorous journey of life.
“In spite of the challenges and setbacks in life, parents never cease to guide and support us relentlessly.
For some, who also think they never had supportive parents to guide them, the truth remains that their actions still made them stronger and goal-driven to become better version of what they were,’’ Uche said.
A photographer, Mr Obi Uko-Kalu, said that celebrating ones parents could be achieved through various ways and must not be majorly by flamboyant and expensive means.
“No matter how small the gesture, it would go a long way in making them feel proud and appreciated,’’ Uko-Kalu said.
He expressed concern over the way some sections of society regard birthday celebrations organised in honour of parents.
He said: “It is unfortunate that when people organise events to celebrate their parents’ birthdays or wedding anniversaries, some interpret the gesture negatively to mean that the person being celebrated was about to die.
“As a photographer, I have noticed that when I do enlargement pictures for elderly persons, people who see the pictures would often say things like, this person is going to die soon.
“This is not only very bad but primordial,’’ he said.
In Imo, Mrs Uloma Ukachukwu, a 54 year-old teacher, who stressed the scriptural importance of respect for parents, said that appreciating them through cash and other gifts would prolong the lives of both children and parents.
Ukachukwu advised younger persons whose parents were still alive to “tap into the blessings of longevity’’ by spending quality time with their parents and providing for them without waiting for them to ask for it.
“Younger ones must take the initiative to appreciate and show love to their living parents without necessarily waiting for them to ask for it; this is nature’s duty.
“They must not make all the money in the world before they begin to come home; what matters is the spirit with which they demonstrate care,’’ she said.
Mrs Ibari Emeh, a non-Nigerian, said that being celebrated while still alive had provided opportunities to bless her children and grandchildren.
According to her, he golden and diamond jubilees were celebrated until her husband later passed on.
“My children pulled out all the stops to ensure our milestone anniversaries were celebrated properly and my husband died happy.
“I am happy I had the opportunity of blessing them in a special way on those occasions; I pray for them every day but those prayers were special.
“If I die now, I know my children will send me off in style and I will forever remember the times they celebrated my husband an in our lifetime,’’, she said
Mrs Scholastica Nwizu, a 67 year-old retiree expressed dismay that some parents were often deprived of basic needs while still alive as their funerals were celebrated in grand style.
“There is nothing better in my opinion than showing people love while they are still alive and doing the most you can do for them; nobody is more deserving than parents, especially those who gave their all to their children,’’ she said.
But Mr James Iwuchukwu expressed regret over what he was unable to do for his parents while they were still alive.
“I kept waiting for when I would be very comfortable to celebrate them in a big way but they died before I was able to do this.
“If I had done what I could when they were still alive, I would feel better because their funerals cost a lot more than what I would have been able to spend on celebrating them while alive,’’ he said.
Also, Mr Benjamin Ilonsi, a 72 year-old retiree, was full of praises for his children, whom, he said, had been showering him with love and care even though he had abandoned them while they were growing up.
He called on younger persons to have the spirit of forgiveness, adding that some of the attitudes exhibited by parents toward their children could be spurred by frustrating circumstances.
“Some younger persons cite the negative traits of their parents as excuses to abandon them in their old age.
“While they reserve the right to their reasons, I must say that it is possible they do not have all the details because no parent hates a child.
“There are reasons why we did some of the things we did, even though they may not be justified,’’ he said.
He advised younger persons to display unconditional love toward their living parents so that the latter would die happy in their ripe old age, and leave the children with good conscience.
In their view, the residents of Abakaliki in Ebonyi enjoined people to build care as topmost priority toward their parents while they are alive.
Mr George Uguru, a civil servant, said: “We can never totally repay our parents the sacrifices they made to us, but we can make them happy, care for them. They also deserve our time to know how they feel. We should be deeply supportive and also show compassion’’.
Another resident, Mrs Rose Nwite, said that people needed to take responsibility to honour and respect their parents for who they were and for what they had done in their lives.
Nwite said that both young and old parents needed love and affection more than ever from children, grandchildren, brothers and among other family members.
“These practices will avoid age-related health complications, frustration, loneliness and other problems,” Nwite said.
In Enugu, the Chairman, Actors Guild of Nigeria, Enugu Chapter, Mr Brown Ene said that celebrating one’s parent while they were alive should be a compulsory thing for children.
According to him, the celebration should be made annual to show them how important and special they are as well as thanking God for their lives at that point in time.
He said “most times, parents die because we do not celebrate them, stressing that many people are too busy to say happy birthday to their parents or buy them things they love while still living.
“A person who did not celebrate his parents when they are still living should not be proud to celebrate them when they die.
“We turn their celebration these days to burial. This is why some of us use their savings and fortunes to bury them.
“People set up canopies, music and invite friends, relations and colleagues to celebrate them at death but give them little as people that brought them to life.
“Some of us are still doing 10 years, 20 years anniversary for their dead parents but they refused to take care of them, community leaders should not give such persons the opportunity to disturb villagers with such celebration’’.
However, a school administrator, Mrs Amaka Okoro, noted that some aged parents passed on after being celebrated.
She said though it is right to celebrate ones parents when they are still living but observed that many of them would not live longer after such “flamboyant’’ celebration.
She said: “I have seen in two different occasions that after celebrating a parent, he or she will not live longer as if they were waiting for it before they finally die’’.
Onu however, noted that celebrations of parents must not be in form of parties but by showing love to them.
“If any child is not economically blessed to shower their parents with material items, the care of visiting the parents and discussing with them, the hugs and exchange of pleasantries is as well form of celebration.
“An extra effort engaged by any child to make the parents smile, laugh and express happiness is enough way to celebrate them.
Similarly, Miss Chisom Okeke, an undergraduate at the Nnamdi Azikiwe University, Awka in Anambra, said that celebrating of parents was not only through presentation of gifts but ensuring that they were well in terms of medical fitness, and capable of participating in community activities as they pleased.
Okeke said: “It is very needful to celebrate parents because it is a reward from a child to her parents for nurturing them from birth to adulthood and such practice makes life to revolve around loved ones.”
***This survey was conducted by NAN reportesr across states