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Honour your parents

The Scripture clearly states that we have to “Honour our father and mother that our days may be long…”Exodus 20:12. Where are the children? How are their parents living these days?

I read an article in the Philippines Standard newspaper yesterday which should affect all of us, regardless of our geographical location in the world. The journalist gave some horrifying examples, and I quote some parts of his article:

“… there is a growing number of parents who are abandoned and who are suffering from Alzheimer’s Disease or some kind of dementia… I find it criminal for children just to abandon their parents because they live elsewhere or are just too busy earning a living. They forget their obligation to take care of their parents when they get old…

My wife and I can cite more than a dozen instances where a mother or a father, already widowed, only have household help taking care of them.

We know for instance a good friend, widowed, living alone in a condominium in Mandaluyong (a city in Metro-Manila). She was found dead one morning—she was suffering from an extreme case of diabetes. The tragedy of it all was that she had two daughters living in the US. A married son was living elsewhere.

We had an occasion to visit a very good friend of my wife, a widow, who lives in a rented one-room home. Only a dog acts as her companion. We found her state pitiful and tragic. Her dishes were unwashed. Her room was dirty and smelled bad. A vendor delivers her food. And yet her two sons are both successful doctors in the United States.

We also know of a friend, a widow, who lives alone. At one time, she called my wife to tell her that she had fallen. It is a good thing she did not hurt herself… we also know of her relative who lives with her unmarried daughter who is so busy and often goes abroad as part of her job. This relative, a widow, has no household help. And to think she has eight children!

There is also the case of a good friend of my wife who lives alone with her household help. She also has eight children.

What to me is really tragic is the case of a relation, the husband suffering from some ailment and the wife from dementia. They live by themselves with one house helper. On occasion, an unmarried daughter visits them and helps them. This is a couple that has five children, living abroad. A son has a cushy job in a conglomerate.

I can go on and on with similar cases of parents neglected by their supposedly successful children… If this happens to parents in the middle-income group, I can only imagine what poorer parents—those living in hotels, for instance—have to endure.

That is why my wife and I thank the lord that we have a daughter who took us into her home. Two of my sons are in the US, while my youngest lives in Makati (another city in Metro-Manila). Parents in the United States are more fortunate. Their children can just dump them into homes or villages for the elderly. Since senior citizens have a pension plan in the States, their children can just use this money for their parents’ expenses.

We don’t have that luxury in the Philippines for senior citizens. Yes, there are a few, but what is urgently needed are homes for the elderly, both public and private. This means that the obligation to support cuts both ways—parents must support their children in years of their minority and dependency. Children who are already capable must take care of their elderly, sickly, or disabled parents.”

Here in Australia, generally we are blessed, senior citizens are being looked after by our government. Whether the government helps or not, as children we have responsibilities to our parents—we must honour them, take care of them until the Lord calls them home to glory. On the 21st of March, my beloved mother-in-law will be100 years old. Families of her children will come together for a big celebration, but above all to rejoice in God’s faithfulness.

Do you like to be neglected by your own children one day when you are already old? It is important that you set an example to your children now showing them how you honour your parents. May God give you the grace to demonstrate His love and compassion towards your parents?


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