When we're little, our parents are our heroes. We look up to them and get impressed by everything they do. We watch their every move and try to follow them. In our rooms, we play house; we pretend that we're cooking, cleaning, even raising our own (Cabbage Patch) kids.
We're amazed at how much they know and we're impressed by all that they can do. We hope that we can be just like them when we're grown up.
Then, when we're older gradually things change to overturn. We ignore them when they tell us to cut our hair or wear looser or longer clothing. We get mad at them when they ask about our friends and who they are. We even lie to them about what we do and where we're going.
We say that we don't want to be any-thing like our parents. We make promises to ourselves that we will never do such and such the way our parents did. And we're sure that when we have kids, we will know better how to raise them because we will be able to relate to them better.
“Parents just don't understand.” In the 1980s, this little mantra made a pop song a big hit on the charts. Kids of all generations agree on one thing that parents just don't understand. In fact, if you ask your own parents, you can probably get them to tell you of at least one instance when they felt that their own parents didn't understand them. Think about it. Think about our parents and forefathers. Do you seriously think that they didn't have issues that their parents couldn't understand?
Every generation faces a gap from the one preceding and the one following. Our generation is no exception. Of course we have differences in thoughts and ideals. It's virtually impossible to live in a growing, multicultural society and not have a generation gap. Things change rapidly and it's hard to keep up with advancements in technology, finance, culture, and language, to say the least. For example, the IPod that you've got attached to your ear makes no sense to your parents, who still hold onto their cassettes.
But, these changes don't have to be the end-all for strong communication between the generations. On the contrary, there is much to be learned from earlier generations, especially from our parents. Islamically, we all know that we are supposed to respect our parents, do not behave them harshly or rudely and do not use even the silly expression such as ugh! We are to care for them in their old age. But what about actually being friends with our parents?
Your parents are the ones who most likely love you the most. They have shared their adult life with you, caring for you, providing for you, and loving you. They have sacrificed for you and they pray for only the best for you. Which friend does this for you? You have a lot in common with your friends, but you and your parents have more similarities than you might think.
The truth is that we are a product of all of our experiences; therefore, though we say that we don't want to be like our parents, we really are. In some way or another, we all have our parents' tendencies. Maybe you've learned to be punctual like your mother or you're always running late like your father. Whatever the habit or trait, it remains a mark left on you by your parents. It's like a finger-print of love; it's the invisible mark that our parents leave on us as they raise us. These marks ultimately define who we are and where we've been. These combine with your own individual and independent nature to create a whole being: You.
The real beauty of these marks is that we can choose them. We can determine what attribute of our parents we admire enough to keep. Maybe you admire your mother's honesty or your father's stability. We have been watching our parents all of our lives, we see how they live, we hear what they say and we soak it up either consciously or unknowingly. If we are now aware of what we see and hear, we can learn from it and perhaps incorporate it into our own lives.
Similarly, we can also see and hear what we don't like and we have the option to prevent ourselves from adopting whatever unattractive traits they may have. The point is that we should not focus on our differences but rather hasten to find what we have in common. You might be pleasantly surprised to find out that your mom can do more than make a biryani.