It’s a classic movie scene, almost cliché: a grown child leaving home as his parents standby watching. The mother, usually weeping, is being consoled by her husband. I used to think that it was the parents who were losing in these situations. Typically the child is beaming, excited at the new prospects that await, while the parents are sad as their progeny heads forth to tackle the world alone. In reality, that is not the case; in fact, it is the child who loses the most.
As we grow up, especially here in America, it seems as if we develop a sense of independence and self-reliance. We like to do things for ourselves – we enjoy setting our own schedules and determining what the most appropriate thing to do is. We are often disenchanted with authority and restrictions; this can lead to tension during those hormone-driven teen years.
It hit me just now that it is not my parents who lose in our relationship when I leave, but me. It is simply amazing and unfortunate that we are often so blind as humans that we underestimate and overlook the blessings in our lives until we lose them or are about to lose them.
As I prepare to move out of my house for the last time, I cannot help but feel an empty void. My parents have always been there for me in the worst of times and best of times. Sure there might have been those communication mishaps where care and love leads to frustration and anger, but in reality those were only small bumps and potholes along the road. Compared to the many times my dad and I “fixed” things around the house together or chatted endlessly on world affairs, or the times my mom and I prepared meals together or discussed social affairs, those strained moments seem like simply nothing. In fact, looking back, one can really see that any difficult times were founded in deep care for one another.
“And your Lord decreed that you should worship none but Him and that you be dutiful to your parents. If one of them or both attain old age in your life, then do not say to them ‘uff‘ (a word of disrespect), nor shout at them, rather address them in terms of honor. And lower for them the wing of submission and humility through mercy. And say, ‘My Lord! Grant them Your mercy as they brought me up when I was small.” (Qur’an, 17:23-24)
This is just a reminder to my fellow brethren (especially the younger ones) to kick it with your parents. Find all the small things that make your parents happy and just do them! Buy your mom flowers (even if it’s just once!) and do something for your dad that he really appreciates. Why? Simply to make your parents happy. When we go out of our way to make our parents happy we are obeying Allah in being dutiful to our parents and we get a glimpse at what their lives have been like; it allows us to appreciate all that they have done for us. Every stage in life has a sweetness to it, and without a doubt one of the sweetest things is being with and learning from your parents. Do not miss out!
To my parents: jazakum Allahu kulli khayran (may Allah reward you with good), may Allah `azza wa jal (the Mighty and Majestic) reward you both because I cannot come close to repaying you. I love you.