Give Parents a Break, Please

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The power of social media has brought with it the good, the bad, the ugly, the mundane, profane, the beautiful, profitable and all kinds of other things, good and bad. I do not discredit social media because as a tool it is harmless, it is what we do with it that matters. Maybe we need to be more sensitive when putting out stuff on social media, or maybe we do not. Who knows, maybe its ok to put anything and everything out there nowadays, because seriously, who cares? This is the age of people’s rights, and with Covid19 pressures and stresses, most people have become quite snappy.  It is their right. They will let you know that quite easy and fast too. Every lewd, insane thing just seems to pass for good nowadays and surprisingly, even the most of weird matters will always have a following.

Anyways, let me cut to the chase and say why am writing. I am writing because recently, maybe a month or so ago, there were two different accounts of young women (under 40) who openly accused their parents of not loving and taking care of them as they would have wanted to be loved or taken care of, just to put it plainly. The accusations were more serious than that. I would have expected an uproar of protests, but what I saw instead was the brazen audacity of some very uninteresting people, taking sides with these accusers of parents.

Maybe I would not have been as outraged, had these sentiments been expressed by young teenagers who thought their single mothers to be unfair in restricting them to do…… well, whatever teenagers do and feel justified and more knowledgeable than their parents. But, these two women were both well in their thirties, and still carried grudges against their parents. Actually, one was even an adopted child. First of all, before I even go beyond this point, it is a miracle in itself to be given a second chance at life by a good Samaritan who out of the goodness of their heart, decides to adopt a child. For that child to be so ungrateful as to bring all the shenanigans of their home out in public, (whatever those were), is such ungratefulness, disrespect and sincerely just being overly selfish. Just be grateful someone let you eat their food and sleep in their house. You lived to tell the story, and all your limbs are intact, so circumstances were not as bad as you want us to believe.

We all know there is no parenting blueprint. Parents do the best they can in the best possible way. Under normal circumstances, taking into consideration the social status of these two women, these parents would have had to juggle options for survival just to provide food and shelter for these children.

Most of us, I know, are guilty of thinking that our parents could have done a better job, but I seriously and honestly think this is being very unfair. In the first instance, most children are not aware of half the struggles that parents go through to make life happen for the family. Most parents will try and shield their children from the hard facts of life that they grapple with. For those children to turn around after they have sucked out the better part of the parent’s life and openly criticize the parent, is a fallacy that I truly find unacceptable. Or is it just me? Maybe. Or this is the new normal? I don’t know.

One of the two cases I still find hard to comprehend a few things of: 1. Why in the world, did that interviewer let that story air without being censored, for the details were very raw and indecent? I still shudder to think how the mother of this woman felt when she heard all the graphic details of the ordeals her daughter went through after she rebelled and ran away from home, after blaming her mother. I still cannot deal with those details, and she is not my daughter. 2. What is the gain of putting out such a graphic story knowing well enough that the story will reach relatives, friends and foes of the family? 3. Is it really necessary to air such stories, and of what benefit are they? 4. What does this say about our society?

On this last point, I want to share something that my former boss told me one day in our usual friendly discussions. He said: “If you ever see a cockroach come from hiding, know that there are 150 more in hiding that you cannot see.” So the moral of the story is, for every cockroach, there will always be another 150. So if you multiply the 150 by another 150 and continue multiplying, there would be cockroaches in perpetuity. I am saying that for every complainant that comes to the surface, taking the analogy of the cockroach, there will be complainants in perpetuity that are in hiding. Meaning this is an endemic problem in society.

These 2 women made me realize we are crucifying parents at the cross of social injustice through social media, and we walk nonchalantly as if it does not affect us just because the parents being talked about are not our parents. It might not be a big thing, but it is a big thing when we see nothing wrong with crucifying the hands that fed us, that washed us, the feet that walked with us in sickness and happiness, the backs that broke so that we could eat, sleep, dress and provided us shelter. We have all too soon forgotten that we are all one, and if one suffers, we all suffer. It is wrong because we know that as parents there are things we have done that we are not so proud of. We are not perfect, our parents were not perfect, no parent will ever be perfect, and for that reason, we ought to hurriedly bring down parents from that cross of social injustice. If we do not, we are just sending a strong message to our children and their children, that it is OK to criticize and back talk parents openly, and it is not. We know it is not. Are we surprised that society is going the way it is going? That cross ought to be burnt and the ashes flown away and scattered into the Sahara desert never to be seen again.

So, to all those overly eager want-to-be especially young journalists of social media, a few lessons and soul searches from the closet of personal conviction would not be a bad idea. Before hanging out other people on that infamous cross of social injustice just for the sake of a juicy story, maybe it would be good to remember that once a story goes on social media, it is hard to retract it. And even if it were possible to retract it, people cannot ‘unsee’ and ‘unhear’ what they have already seen and heard. Those parents could have been me or you.

So, please, some social etiquette and decorum on social media would be a good idea, keeping in mind that whatever we sow we shall reap, and the harvest naturally is a multiplication of what we plant.

Finally, let us continue taking care of one another as we take care of the universe, for we are all one.

Let’s strive to be happy; it is still a beautiful world.

Writer is a Certified Integrative Nutrition Health Coach and a

Functional Nutrition Gut Health Counselor

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