For years, young people have left South Africa, leaving their parents behind. If they work hard and are fortunate, they have successful careers. They start or expand their families.  Meanwhile at home, the grandparents age, their health deteriorates, and their financial circumstances and living accommodations decline. And then comes the news, which is supposed to be good news: The children are coming to South Africa, bringing the grandchildren. The grandparent is overjoyed.The exchange rate is in the favour of the visitors from abroad, and so they can afford to give their own children the taste of the good life in South Africa and perhaps experience some of the things they never had as children themselves. They visit a seaside resort, the mountains, game reserves, shopping malls and more. It is a whirlwind tour. Very little time is afforded to the grandparent, who has been looking forward with anticipation and great emotion to this visit. The grandparent is left at home, excluded, emotionally devastated.

This is wrong on so many levels:

The message the young parents are sending to their children is that an aged parent is disposable once they are no longer healthy and wealthy. That their needs don't matter. That it is OK to be concerned only about your own pleasure and to ignore the emotional needs of your parents.

Every missed opportunity to see the children hurts. Every broken promise hurts. You may think you still have time to connect with your parent in the future, but the future you envisage may never materialise.

You may be sending snapshots of yourself and the children having a good time, or posting them om social media, but all you are doing is emphasising how you are excluding your own parent from that fun and family togetherness. Yes, your visit is fun for the children now, but beware of what they are learning from you by observation. One day it could be your turn. If this is how you are going to be spending your time here, it would be kinder to your own parent to just stay away. Yes, I judge you. You know who you are.

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