We all have a list of to-dos in life, our bucket lists, our priorities. Making your parents happy is rarely on the list – for most of us. Let me share my story with you. Almost 15 years back I stepped out of my cozy family environment into a professional world. I then thought- my love for my family shall never wane. I will keep on loving & caring for them; khuch bhi ho jaaye chahe!
It did not happen like that. My intentions did not change / reduce — but the: Blindness of youth, Busyness of Duniyaadari , the hunger of ‘doing more well’ distanced me much from my family. I lost my father in 2003 and I took a lot of time to come to terms with this loss. My deep desires to do a million things with/ to my Dad — had come to an abrupt end. I could not do any of ‘this’ or ‘that’ to/ for him.
My mom is a doctor and she lives in a beautiful hill town- Dharamshala in Himachal Pradesh (very far from wherever I work). I thought I will love my Maa more now and give her everything- my love, my care and an emotionally strong life. In spite of my best intentions — I was regularly failing in that also every passing year. I kept on doing more and more well in my own life; but was just not finding the right ways and the right times to express / validate my intentions with my mom.
Today -as I live forward — I see my days converting into weeks; weeks into months & then years too are just flowing by. My travels as a Motivational Speaker and Corporate Trainer, leave very little for me to do elsewhere. The inescapable whirlpool of life is growing deeper & noisily charming; every passing year . I helplessly see my purposefulness about a lot of beautiful things in life especially ‘relationships’ getting veneered by my busyness.
The little I understand about relationships — ‘Whenever communication diminishes between ANY relationship; everything else too diminishes’. What’s the point of LOVING anyone in heart; but never finding time to be with him / her?
There were so many times in my growing up years when I thought ‘what my parents are saying is not charmingly modern and befitting for me’. There were times; trust me- when I felt irritatingly annoyed too with their sermons. There definitely were times when I thought ‘they were interfering; as I have the right to live my own life- my own damn way’. Some really simple ways of making your parents happy, lessons I gathered in retrospect after screwing up a thousand times over:
1) An attentive ear
You may in the end -do whatever (of your own mind); but at least LISTEN to your parents COMPLETELY. Give a very patient hearing to whatever they are saying. They NEED to be HEARD. Trust me- they might surprise you with better logic (if you listen patiently). Listening / Hearing them is important; as most Indian parents complain of ‘Ye Sunta taq nahin hai’. This will satisfy their ego to some extent at least. I could have made many better decisions in the last 2 decades had I genuinely heard the logic of my parents.
Some small little things you can do bring a smile on their faces.
2) Calm down A Tad!
You want to kill the sensitivity inside your parent’s hearts- then do one thing: ‘SHOUT at them for whatever reasons e.g. stupid worldly reasons etc’. You are crushing your luck when you do that. You fog the blessing route when you do that. You are too short sighted; if you do that. I did shout at my parents many a time. I feel like jumping from the roof top with the regret of those times. Given a re-take; I will just smile and hug them even if they are shouting at me. This will change everything. This is the magic code. You don’t really have to do much for making your parents happy. A little sensitivity in dealing with their emotions, is all that is needed!
3) Be Patient
Technological advancements are shortening the generation gaps like never before. Yes — you are seeing the modern world more than your parents are/ did. Making them silently feel inferior because of their lack of exposure to modernity is tantamount to a sin. Upgrade them. Make them feel a part of your world. Gift them the brands. Take them out for dinners. Shop with them. The walls will crumble. The distances will shorten. The cold ice shall melt.
Here’s how you can explain Tech to your Parents in 5 Easy Steps
All they need is your TIME and RESPECT. Your doing well in your own life will get amplified more when your parents are with you; when you route your success through them. You will never feel alone then. You will never feel the need for emotional reliance on stupid boyfriends/ girlfriends; when you are rocking in your relationship with your parents. Carry your parents in your heart. Trust me they are not that unstylish. You can make a statement by doing that; as no one is doing that.
4) Be their ROCK
Never ever make your parents insecure in their old age. It is your job / duty / responsibility to be their security. Did not your mother take the full responsibility to treat you well at all times when you needed her? Just because you have got a wee bit modern(because of her Duaa only) — should you shirk your HIGHEST responsibility?
5) They are not your ATM
Stop continuously demanding things from them. Do not make a donkey face- if they do not meet your demands. They are NOT obligated to do everything for you- just because they gave you birth. Do not compare your parents with other’s parents. Every family has different stories and compulsions. Go and work yourself and fulfill your demands/ needs. What happens to your ‘Cool Dude image’ which you present to the world; when you become a cribbing beggar when in front of your parents for your demands? Do it yourself naa?
Ask not what your parents can do for you. Ask — ‘what you can do for them?’
They will themselves keep care of ‘your more than basic needs’; as they are your parents.
6) Gratitude, Not Attitude
Indian moms are the most loving and most melodramatic of all. 99% of them love the movie ‘Baghban’. 100% of them live in assumptions e.g. ‘My son / daughter is sweet / sober / seedha but he has a tedha and kameena friend who wastes his time and gives him wrong advice’. Your parents have done so much for you. They need your gratitude and not your stupid attitude.
If you have been a mediocre son/ daughter like me: Do not feel guilty. All of us are WIPs (Work in Progress). Decide today that ‘You will be the best that you can be to your parents. Surprise yourself and more importantly surprise them with your decision to be genuinely good a child’. You will be a rockstar then soon. Divine grace will flow through your life path (Personally experienced)
Children can never love their parents as much as parents love them … But maybe children could put an effort to reduce the margin. Ok you have career goals, honeymoon goals, money goals etc. But -‘being the most loving son / daughter; that the world has known will not be a bad goal at all…I have decided to make up for all those years ; when I wasn’t … How about you ?
Listen to this heart touching tribute, comedian Zakir Hussain pays to his father.
You may be fighting with the world to become the best in it. Trust me — if there is one battle worth winning — it will be to defeat the duniyaadari to create time for your old parents. The best gift you can give to your parents all year round is a feeling of YOUR RESPONSIBLE presence in their lives.
My mom is fiercely independent & doesn’t need anything from me. I find great satisfaction in making her fly along to my workplaces. I love it when she sits through my events/ workshops. I am the happiest when I ‘dine ’/ ‘coffee’ with her at the best restaurants in India. I become the happiest person in the world — ‘whenever I try to make her live FIRST CLASS’. I have decided to spend a major chunk of my life’s time with my Mom (even at the cost of my career). She is my mom. I fondly call her – Mona Darling!
Make a genuine attempt at making your parents happy. There is nothing as beautiful as seeing their faces light up. Trust me – they are not asking for much. And if you are looking for ways to become a better parent, check out: 10 Inspiring Things Successful Parents do for their Kids
There is a study that says that the amount of gratitude we express in our lives directly impacts the happiness we experience. And if you stop to think about it – who are you thankful to most in your life? Would it not be family? There’s no harm in devoting even 5 mins daily to your parents. Even if you are far away, speak to them about your day, involve them in your life, show them that you care. They are the only ones who will stick by you even when everything and everyone else abandons you for whatever reasons. Love ’em!