My Experience With an Elderly Man
Last Sunday, as I was at the gas station, waiting to fill my gas cylinder, I watched a woman in a fruit stand just across the road slip, and one of her legs got inside the gutter just in front of her stand. The road wasn’t so busy at the time, and the was scanty with people as Sundays usually are in my part of the world.
As she slipped, I spontaneously muffled “oh my”, at least loud enough for the elderly man beside me to hear and look in that direction. He made quite a comment, and I sat and wondered how that incident might have led him to the comments he made. To roughly translate his comment for better understanding, he said:
“This is someone’s mother, and I am sure she has children, children that has forgotten they have a mother. May God not let us birth children that will forget us in our old age, it is better we have no children than give birth to children that won’t remember us”
Because I was the only person sitting within talking distance with the man, and he couldn’t have been talking to anyone else at that time just so I do not respond to his comment about the matter, as his breath reeked of alcohol. I simply assumed he unintentionally thought out loud, and that wasn’t supposed to come out.
I was tempted to say that was just an incident no one intended for it to happen and it could have happened to anyone anywhere, even if the woman was in her house. I suppose it was an opportunity for the elderly man to probably strike a conversation. And like most elderly people in my country especially when they are talking to younger people, a conversation is always an opportunity to chip in one or two advice or ring a bell about what society should be like and what it shouldn’t.
But the fact that I wasn’t in the mood for a conversation dampened my opportunity to see the world through his eyes. Though, that didn’t stop me from thinking about the supposed expectations that the man had for another person’s children, and how he had casually made that statement.
I was forced to think that perhaps he knew something about her personal life that I didn’t, because that was the only way his comment would have been justified. The plausibility of that thought was predicated on the fact that the man emerged from a house close by and it is usual to know more about people around you.
Let me digress to the second part of this article. Which is about children, and their responsibilities towards their parents. A lot of people actually have different opinions when it comes to this. And while some people feel their parents are their responsibility whether or not they played a role in their life, the very fact that they gave life to them is already a debt to be paid for as long as they live. While others hold a different view and only care about parents who had cared for them.
I have heard an argument about the children caring for their parents, someone said during the argument that children have no responsibility towards their parents especially caring for them, that it was a conscious decision of the parents to have a child, and therefore the child will always be their responsibility and no point in time should the table of responsibility turn the other way.
The premise of his argument was that the child too will have his own responsibilities, such as a new family of his or her own, and will have to care for their children too the same way the parents have cared for them. But, should a child decide to take care of their parent, it should be out of their own volition, and not because they owe their parents.
I wondered why he would have such mindset. Perhaps he wanted to be on a different side of the argument, because what’s an argument if there are no sides because why would you expect your old parents to still continue to fend for themselves, and shockingly about you too. Shouldn’t a parents responsibility entails caring for a child until they are old enough to take care of themselves, all the while inculcating good morals and values into said child.
Well, there are no boundaries to opinions, and people are entitled to their opinions irrespective of how you feel about it.
Thank You For Reading 🖤🖤