As a young girl growing up, I always embraced my grandparents and acknowledged them in every decision I made. When I got older, and my grand- parents got older, I continued the same manner of expression toward them. To me, they were like a second pair of parents, so wise and understanding.
I just could not imagine how it was possible for others to visit their grandparents in retirement homes when I had them with me all the time, whether they were back home or coming to visit.
Maybe it was simply because of the way I saw my parents behave toward their parents, always nurturing them and having them around so that they felt useful and loved.
With age, people become wiser; they learn new ways of life, experience a plethora of journeys and are normally lively.
So then, why is it that a main topic of conversation among students and parents is that there will come a day when they will understand being placed in a retirement home?
It seems as though this is an American mentality, as in other cultures it is common to have your grandparents and parents around to guide you and pass down their knowledge. They keep traditions going and often need a reason to stay busy.
When placing our parents, who eventually become grandparents, in a retirement home, we are risking many things — being around them, listening to their heart-warming stories of when they were young, traditions that can only be passed on through us and, most importantly, their chance to see their family grow.
Also, there is no guarantee that they will not be mistreated in a retirement home.
So why are we still risking everything and placing them somewhere far away where we can only visit them every once in a while?
Some claim that it is because they are too busy starting their lives, they have children to take care of, a career that takes most of the time in their day or simply because they want to be independent and be on their own.
While these claims may stand true, they are not justifiable. When we were growing up, our parents were always around, making sure that we made the right choices, listening to our concerns and helping us fix them.
They were there to show us new things and pass down certain traditions. But as they get older, it is as if we already used them enough so there is no other purpose for them. This should not be acceptable.
I can understand that not everyone has the same feelings and that there may have been some rather harsh experiences as they grew up, but this does not mean that we should not be there for our parents as they get older.
God calls us to love others and to always serve them. I think we should start at home, learn to forgive if there is any reason to, and love our parents so that there is no reason to send them off for other people to take care of them. There are so many
opportunities for them to learn new things and to keep busy, so why not do that instead of sending them off and never being around them?