Do We Owe Our Parents?

I have seen posts on social media arguing that we don’t owe parents anything. In fact, Noble Igwe, a Nigerian celebrity posted on Twitter describing the act of sending money to our parents in their old age; as the biggest scam invented

The biggest scam ever invented by parents was/is making their children send them money in their own age. I repeat, you don’t owe your parents anything. They were here before you and should have prepared for old age. Parents are always taking and taking. Stop the pressure!”

Posts of this nature, often raise reactions and emotions are heightened. Nevertheless, do we owe our parents? 

The answer to this question is not a one-way street. Therefore Aristotle’s “Golden Mean” will be employed to help answer this delicate question. Aristotle in his philosophy talked about the “Golden Mean,” that’s the mean between two extremes. What are the extremes in this scenario?

It will be extreme to state that we owe our parents EVERYTHING and must grant all their wishes. Also, it will be another extreme to say we owe them NOTHING. Therefore, what is the golden mean between these two extremes?

The key to not commit any of the extremes is to note what you owe your parents and what you don’t.

Three Things You don’t Owe Your Parents.

  1. Your Choice Career.

It is not your duty to fulfill your parent’s dreams by becoming what they couldn’t, or what they want. Happiness they say is the sole good of man. 

Therefore, always choose a career you will be fulfilled in, and not the one that will give your parents fulfillment. You don’t owe them that much.

It is stated that when you do what you love, you will never work a day. This right here should be your goal. Chase your dreams and not your parent’s dreams. Just ensure your dreams are worthwhile and feasible.

  1. Who to Marry.

Marriage is a serious venture aimed at forever. Therefore you should marry who you LOVE and not who your parents LOVE.

Do well to solicit for their blessings and advice. Still, the ultimate decision should lie in your hands. Be with who makes you happy, just ensure you are making that decision from both your head and heart.

Marrying who your parents want is not something you owe them.

  1. Staying with Them Forever.

At some point in your life, especially in adulthood, it is only fair you move out from home to start your own family.

Some communities in Ogoni, River State, Nigeria. Practices a culture known as “Sira.” It entails that, 

the oldest or only daughter in a family is not permitted to marry or leave her father’s house, and she is socially (not physically) wedded to her father for life. She produces offspring with one or several male community members, offspring who take her own father’s name and become his heirs.”

No one owes their parents this much!! Our lives should never be tied to the customs of our parents. Leave that house, and even leave your country is that is what it will take to make a mark for yourself.

Three Things We Owe Our Parents

  1. Never Waste Their Efforts.

Hello, I know you didn’t ask to be given birth to, but you are here now. Therefore, don’t ever waste the efforts of your parents. You owe them this!

When they send you to school to study that dream course of yours, study! Yes, study and earn good grades. When they invest in you, the return of investment should be worthwhile. 

  1. Respect and Support.

You owe your parents both respect and support. Our parents gave us life, and took care of us when we were young and frail. It is only fair to accord them respect and support them as they grow old.

There is nothing wrong with supporting your parents financially. Remember, there was a time they did the same for you. Sometimes I feel my parents would have led a more adventurous life. If the money they spent on us was spent on themselves.

  1. Love and Care.

We owe our parents love and care. Babysitting my little nephew has shown just how much love and care is needed to raise a child.

If you ever feel you don’t owe your parents love and care, remember the poem “My Mother,” written by Ann Taylor.

“Who fed me from her gentle breast,

And hush’d me in her arms to rest,

And on my cheek sweet kisses prest?

My Mother.

When sleep forsook my open eye,

Who was it sung sweet hushaby,

And rock’d me that I should not cry?

My Mother.

Who sat and watched my infant head,

When sleeping in my cradle bed,

And tears of sweet affection shed?

My Mother.”

(Excerpt from the peom My Mother).

Nevertheless, this love should be extended to both parents.

I hope this article was helpful in answering the question, do we owe our parents? 

3 thoughts on “Do We Owe Our Parents?

  1. Top of the day dear Cecelia, you are really doing a great job, kudos!!!
    A little reaction to your beautiful and creative write up won’t be a bad idea.
    First of all, Noble Igwe’s tweet is an irresponsible way of addressing the issue of parents putting thier children to pressure, there are better ways he could have done it just like you pointed out using Aristotelean dictum which states that “virtue lies in the middle”.

    Also, talking about what we don’t owe our parents like ‘career choice’ which you pointed out is a fact but, at that tenage stage of our lives where we make choices of our life career do we really have that freewill of choosing what we want? A typical example is in secondary school, most of our parents impelled us to join the science class instead of maybe the arts class which deep down in us we yearn for. Definitely I think there should be proper counseling sessions for our teenagers based on career choice to help them choose what they actually want.

    Summarily, just like you pointed out, we owe our parents a whole lot, from care, support, love, attention. Our parents invested in us and investment principles makes it clear that human capital investment is the most assured investment with returns if properly handled. Hence, it is not out of place to say that one major reason of procreation by most couples is to have children that will definitely take care of them at old age. Just like the Igbo adage that says ” a prostitute cries for children in her old age after wasting her hay days without bearing children.

    1. Your assertions are accurate. Noble Igwe should never have conceived such thoughts, how much more posting it on social media. It is all shades of wrong.

      Also, I think a teenager should be given an air of freedom to decide what they want to be. Sincerely, African parenting is in dire need of orientation.

      Thanks for this beautiful comment.

      1. Well said! Nevertheless, teenagers of this day and age still need proper guidance and support before committing to a life career. But the choice should be theirs—as you rightly said.

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