It’s the time when merchants rub their hands together with glee, when you can hardly find your newspaper because it’s overshadowed by the gaudy flyers within it.
It’s when restaurants are packed with folks taking mother out so she doesn’t feel the need to cook a meal.
A one-day appreciation wonder
Usually the heady rush of these unexpected sudden tokens of appreciation causes a certain amount of confusion in the hearts of mothers. The smiles, the joy, the exhilaration of the moment with families are enough to be put away in a special brain compartment to last for another year.
Do you care about the grandmother though?
In most cultures.grandmothers are revered appropriately every week of the year. Some years ago, teaching in Singapore, I asked a young Malaysian boy how he managed to see his grandmother every week. “It’s my filial obligation” he replied. Not only that, he recognized it was also his obligation to ensure his grandmother was cared for financially later on in life, as were his siblings aware of the same responsibility. Grandmother, frail and small as she was, simply had to indicate her needs and the family obligation happily and respectfully kicked in.
Work and sometimes dubious rewards
In their younger days grandmothers in their role as mothers were part of the workforce.. They still had to do the home chores, raise the children, and look after the husband after work.
There was no such thing as equal pay for equal work. Women could work and rise to the top of their professions, as long as they were in nursing, early childhood, cleaning or teaching. Pensions were either non-existent or very small.
Because of this, many grandmothers and mothers today find themselves in poverty situations, especially after the loss of their partner, regardless whether through death or divorce.
They seldom complain. Times have changed, and so have families. Grandmothers often live on their own, seldom with their families. The families usually have no idea of their parents financial situation. Instead, they work, enjoy their friends, bring in good pay packets and go on numerous vacation trips.
Show compassion, teach children to do the same
It’s not easy being a mother. This is shown over and over again. Sad stories of family tragedies when mothers finally crack under pressures only they understand. I’m willing to bet many of these situations might have been eased with the presence or active advice of an understanding grandmother.
Those little bundles of joy don’t come with instruction manuals. Good citizens are raised with luck and lots of attention towards your child. Eventually you may reach grandmother status.
The world has changed so rapidly with the technology developments you see. It becomes more and more difficult for parents to hold on to family values that once were easy to instill in growing children.
But the good news is that precious feeling of children’s filial obligation and respect can be maintained. When grandmothers are open to discussion with children and grandchildren they can still be powerful influencers of good.
All too often, they become caregivers again. The benefit can become mutual though, as they learn to mix and match old values with new experiences.
This Mother’s Day is almost upon us. No doubt you’ve thought of a gift for a special mother you know or who is in your life. Enjoy your day, but give some thought to this gift that your entire family can share with a grandmother or mother for next year.
You can start a gift that keeps on giving!
How about getting grandmother to start a new special bank account that everyone in the family contributes a small amount to each month? That’s a different way of looking at filial obligation! Best of all, frugal grandmothers would have a whole new concept - disposable income!
Hoping today has been a special one for you - mothers, and of course grandmothers too!