Giving thanks to Parents

Particularly in the earliest years of life, parent are the most significant and influential people that an individual encounters.  Parents provide basic necessities, a sense of being accepted, a way to view the world, and many others things as well.  A normal, human response is to show appreciation for all that has been given.  To do so is to recognize the value of what has been given and to show honor to those who have given it.

Appreciation begins with recognition of the many sacrifices that parents have made.  Parents choose in many cases to put the needs of the children ahead of their own needs and appreciation can be shown by putting the needs of the parents ahead of one’s own needs at a later time in life.  A sacrifice, particularly of time, is a way of placing value on parents even after their aid is no longer an absolute necessity.  To make the choice of spending a day with a parent, doing something that the parent enjoys doing, is a way of reciprocating the love and devotion that the parent showed for so many years.  In addition, including one’s parents in personal or family activities and get-togethers is a way of saying that the parents continue to have value as people even after the chore of child-rearing has concluded.    

Appreciation also involves carrying on the values and traditions that were instilled by one’s parents.  Parents provide a way of looking at the world that creates a platform for success in life.  They create a sense of place that one is not just an individual, but part of a family tradition that stretches back into the past and which continues on into the future.  Choosing to live a life consistent with these values and traditions honors the time and devotion with which parents instilled these ideas and creates an opportunity for them to continue to be carried on into the future.  Parents are appreciated by their children when the name that has been passed on to them continues to be held in high esteem.  Actions, choices, the treatment of others, and many other demonstrations of strong character are a testimony of the hard work that one’s parents spent in teaching these values and seeing that they were put into practice.

Appreciation can also be shown in simple, practical ways.  The aging process often robs parents of the physical abilities and financial resources which they used to give their children a good start in life.  A willingness to provide parents the ability to continue to have the basic necessities of life and uphold their human dignity shows appreciation and reflects a continued value for parents as their physical abilities diminish.  Such practical acts continue the emotional bond that was created by one’s parents in the earliest years of life and affirm their value over time.  Accepting the many pressures on one’s time and resources and yet continuing to place parents at the top one’s priorities is a tremendous honor for the parents and shows deep appreciation for them as individuals.  To do so is to admit that parents had a great deal to do with the contributing member of society that one is today. 

Appreciation of parents is both a responsibility and an opportunity.  It takes focus off the self and places it on others who have made a great contribution to one’s own success.  While it can be a burden, it also reminds a person of his or her past and the many who sacrificed to provide the life of today.  Parents pass on values, traditions, and meaning that shape everything about who a person is.  The process of giving to parents of time, financial resources, and continued value and dignity is both the right thing to do as well as a way of passing on what a person’s parents have instilled to another generation.