Monday, February 21, 2005

Parent's Currents

Foreign feelings. That is what I've been plagued by lately. Plagued is not the exact word, but bothered nonetheless. Up to a certain point in time, I couldn't care less about my parents. I saw them as just people temporarily responsible for me, people that are supposed to pay the bills and keep me alive. I never leaned on them for emotional support, ever (This made me a reclused perve and burdened by my own adolescent problems - excessive wanking). They were too busy with my siblings to have enough time for me anyway*queue sad violin tunes now*. They did mention though, that they were lucky enough that I wasn't troublesome like my sister and brother. Well, lucky enough that I hadn't confessed my troubles and wrong-doings to them at least.

As I've aged, and they've aged, the situation has changed significantly though. No longer do I show apathy toward my parents. In fact, I've evolved one step further by actually caring for their overall well being, feelings and health. Long gone were days when I would do everything and anything I wanted without a care for what they think. Now, everything in my life seems to be at the very least geared toward making them happy as they prepare for their twilight years.

This has made me wonder though. In all the responsibility that has befallen me as the eldest child of the family, how much am I obliged to give? Obligation is a very powerful word to most of us, and is frowned upon by the young at heart. I for one, am still strongly against obligations, be it social, political, economic, religious or racial. I still believe that we should do something because we want to, and not because we are forced to. The line is getting thinner and thinner though, as sometimes, because we are forced to, we want to.

Not only am I wondering how much I'm supposed to give and do, I've also started wondering how long the lingering influence of a parent should remain in the child's life. I know of some friends whos parents still play an active, major role in all forms of decision making. I know of others who are afraid to do certain things not because it is wrong, but because their parents will find out. (Yours truly for one. I am not ashamed to admit this: I am still financially dependent on my parents. Dang.) So, is it expected of a child to devote an entire lifetime to his/her parents, in the hope that the cycle will continue with the child's offspring? What happens if the child is bad? Will the horrendous cycle of hatred continue deep into the coming generations? Who breaks the cycle then, if the cycle can't be broken? Doesn't make sense.

I understand the deep underlying need of all parents to continue protecting their child. But in our society in particular, I find the problem of letting go to be severe. In other cultures, children are expected to leave the home, in search of their own life by a certain age. Not even remotely similar here. Parents will fight tooth and nail to keep their little babies at home for as long as possible. Pleasant to know that parents still want to continue exerting their influence on the child for as long as they shall live.

Today, my father told me about the story of a great socialist of the 1960's who was framed and thrown into the ISA, accused of being a communist. He was telling me about how this politician was revered as the true champion of the public cause. Then he went on about how the politician's son, who is also a minister as his father was, is so different from his father. His son, I had to agree, is an absolute powercrazy nutcase. A real piece of arrogant elephant dung gone sour. But really, besides being the obvious asshole that he truly is, is the son truly obligated to be and act like his father?

Must I be accountable for my father's actions, as he is be accountable for mine? Where in the entire sanctity of a society such as ours does it state that a child should continue to act exactly as his/her parents are acting? Why is it that the actions of a child, which is mutually exclusive and personal, is often related back to his/her parents? Shouldn't each and every individual be personally accountable for his/her own actions? Must there continuously be a link between parent and child?

The child, as I have realized will one day become a parent. In most cases. I'm guessing that I am not in the right position to fully understand the innermost insecurities of most parents, until I become one. I used to want children. I've even got their names down. Now though, I think I'd rather not. For fear of being insecure, as my parents currently are.

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