Filial Piety – Your Children Are Watching You!

Children are very impressionable. Their brains are like sponges, soaking up what they see and hear. Their minds retain bad experiences and imitate what they see, hear and observe to be true. Someday, your children will be walking in your shoes. Not just literally, but figuratively, in their role as an adult.

As parents, there are few aspects of our lives that escape our children’s eyes and ears. Whether you like it or not, they watch how we treat our parents (their grandparents). If we treat our parents poorly with little respect and kindness, they learn from watching us.

Your kids are watching you.

Your kids are watching you.

You are like the star in your children’s favourite movie. It is a fact of everyday parental life. Your children have two eyes. Let them observe you loving and serving your parents. Let them see you treating your parents with kindness and respect. Let them see you doing what is right and centering your life on goodness. Children learn by example. Be the example your children need you to be.

Because our children are constantly listening and observing, they are also constantly internalizing. They look to us as their teachers and what we say and do really matters to them. Internalizing is taking an idea or behaviour and making it a part of your nature by either learning it or assimilating it subconsciously. Our children take the things we say, or do, seriously even though they may not understand why. Our actions and words help define and mold who they will become by the things they observe us saying and doing in our everyday life. What you do and say can change their world.

At some point in their lives, what they have witnessed us doing is likely to become the path they will take. It is thus critical to choose the life you would want your child to replicate because your children are watching. Mistreat your parents and your children will probably end up mistreating you when they grow up and have families of their own.

Living next door to me is an old lady and her son, daughter-in-law and grandchild. My wife and I really feel so sorry for the old lady. She told us she would rather live in an old folks’ home than in her son’s house but the old folks’ home in Miri would not accept her as she has a son and a daughter.

Her son and her daughter-in-law ‘s attitude towards her is one of  estrangement and alienation. Her son often scolds her.  Her daughter-in-law does not talk to her. She has to do her own cooking and eat by herself as her son and family do not want to eat her cooking. She has such a great love for gardening but her daughter-in-law does not want her to plant flowers in their house compound. So she has to plant them in the back lane behind her house.  She has to walk long distances to shops to do her shopping as her son never takes her shopping.

She used to have some savings but she has taken the bulk of her savings to help her son pay for the down payment of his house a few years ago.  We often see her scavenging among the rubbish bins in our gated community for aluminium cans, plastic bottles, newspaper and carton boxes that she can resell for some money. That is why we always give her our aluminium cans, plastic bottle, newspaper and carton boxes. And we frequently buy some food and fruits for her.

She tries in her ways to repay our kindness. She knows my wife loves planting flowers so she will give some flower plants to my wife from time to time from her backlane garden. She really has green fingers as her flowers are lovely.

Her little grandchild may be too young to understand what is going on. But once she is older, she will realise that her parents are mistreating her grandmother.  It would be karma or retribution if she grows up and later also treats her parents the way they treat her grandmother.

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