The Guilt Factor – Should it exist?

Parents are the reason most successful people got to where they are. They just did what they thought they had to do to ensure that their children did well in life. There are so many instances we have come across where a single mother has lived her life around getting her son to an IIT, the Masters Degree that follows and paving his way into an exciting and rewarding career abroad.  She just lives her life thinking about her son’s well-being, helping with everything that she could.

Fast forward to the present.. The son now is well settled abroad, with a family and has a  real constraint with his inability to move back to India to be with his Mother. Various feelings overpower him – fear, helplessness and of course a tinge of guilt. But, should he have these? All he has to do is to think of ways to take care of his Mother, now in India at an age where travel is not the most exciting or convenient thing to do.

In a perfect world, the elders will live with their children (we @ Prayojana feel that this is the ideal situation…) But, it is not a perfect world. There are constraints and the children are justified in being at the place that best opportunities to earn their livelihood, lead their life and set up their own progeny for success.

So, what should the children do? Instead of being burdened with the feeling that they are unable to be with the parents during their golden years, they should think about the best options available where they can make a positive difference to their parents’ lives. With nuclear families being the norm, the geographical distance is the only difference between someone living in the same city as their parents AND someone living in a different country/city. With vastly improved connectivity helping with video calls, connecting people together etc, this geographical constraint has shrunk in size. In some ways, it doesn’t really matter if you are in the Bay Area or in Belandur when your parents are in Malleswaram.

On top of everything is this little fact that Parents are very proud that their children are well settled in their lives. Imagine how they will feel if you drop everything you have and relocate back home just to take care of them.. Now, who will feel guilty? Will this sit well with them? Absolutely not!!

Children, like how their parents were, should become enablers. The questions that should they should ask themselves are:

  1. What is the best that I can do now within these constraints?
  2. How do I enable them to lead a healthy, comfortable and active life without disturbing mine?
  3. What should I do to stay completely connected with them despite the oceans that separate me from them?
  4. How should I prepare to handle events, minor or major, that will come up?

These are positive ways to look at the situation. You really shouldn’t be feeling guilty, helpless or scared. Find solutions and make peace.

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