Growing up, I remember resenting my parents several times, thinking that if they loved me, they would let me do the things that I thought were best for me. The flaw in this argument? I was less than 15 years old and didn’t know what was best for me.
Like most parents, if not all, my parents exercised their informed judgment and authority and didn’t let me walk the wrong path. I didn’t understand their reasons until I was older and wise enough to understand that they knew then what was best for me, and I have them to thank for teaching and guiding me. It’s because of them that I became the person I am today.
One might argue that it’s their responsibility so why should we give them so much credit when it’s our life? Well, would you be okay to receive 80% on a test that you aced or a mediocre performance rating after doing stellar work? I don’t think so.
The truth is, our parents don’t even want the praise because most of the time they think they could have done better, but honestly, we should give them all due credit anyway because most of the time they are giving everything they’ve got as parents.
Here are 2 things so common we sometimes forget they count.
Hard Work. When I was 12, my mother had to leave home suddenly to work in the capital city. I didn’t understand why she had to leave her children for work. Little did I know that it was one of the most difficult choices she had to make for our future. She didn’t like being away from us but she had to make that sacrifice so we could afford to attend the best school in town. Both my parents worked hard, not only to give me and my siblings the necessities of life, but also to make sure we were prepared for the opportunities that life would present us. I am where I am now because they worked hard to make sure that I had what I needed to excel in my endeavors.
What my parents were earning then was enough to sustain our family, but with the economy evolving through the years, I think we all know how far PHP500 can go when buying groceries or paying for tuition these days. Because of that, I know many parents who are working 1-2 side jobs on top of their regular jobs to keep their families afloat. Not to mention the global pandemic which has shaken the economy, forcing businesses to close and let go of their employees. Imagine how a parent would feel at the possibility of losing a job, making things even more difficult.
So the next time you feel like your parents don’t seem to have time for you anymore or love their jobs more than they love you, give them the benefit of the doubt. This is not to invalidate your feelings of wanting to spend more time with your parents, but they could be working hard to keep their jobs or just exhausted from a 15-hour day of hustling. Try to have greater empathy and be open to the possibility that they are doing the best they can under current circumstances.
Give them a glass of cold water when they come home, help prepare meals, wash the dishes, and other chores at home so they can have time to rest and recuperate. Pray for them to have strength for the next day’s work. Expressing your thanks verbally can go a long way, too.
It is also important to recognize that not all of us have parents who work hard for their children. In this case, you can turn to Heavenly Father and rely on His help to direct and guide you through life. Know that in His own ways, He is putting in the work to ensure that your life will be blessed, maybe not with parents worthy of emulation, but with Heavenly Parents who love and care for you beyond comprehension.
Forgiving us seventy times seven. During a day at my sister’s house with her 3 toddlers, I started counting how many times one of them said the words “I’m sorry, mommy.” Long before noon, I had already lost count. Spilled milk, a broken glass, dirty clothes, a messy floor, and fighting over a toy were several reasons my nieces and nephew apologized to my sister.
As we grow older, we make mistakes far greater than spilled milk. And yes, it might require even more than saying “I’m sorry.” Looking back at the mistakes we’ve made in the past, we’ll likely find that they have forgiven us more times than we can count. They have extended compassion and love in their own ways, maybe not in the ways we wanted, but in the best way they know how to let us know that we had been forgiven.
Often we don’t often feel enough gratitude for our parents when they forgive us because it is so common, we don’t even give it much thought. But if we take time to think about how our mistake made them feel, we can understand how much their forgiveness means.
So the next time you think of breaking a house rule, do something beyond reason, or say something out of anger, pause and ask yourself, “Is this something worth hurting their feelings for?”
There are so many other things that our parents are doing that we might not give much thought. But if we take a step back and observe even the little things they do for us and how much effort these things require, we’ll realize that parenting is hard.
My sister once said, “I never really understood how much effort our parents put into raising righteous children until I was raising mine.”
We might not fully understand until we walk in similar shoes but understanding our parents with empathy will help us appreciate their daily efforts more.