Here is the complete transcript of the podcast
On the podcast today, I’m answering a question that has come in from a longtime listener of my radio shows, and now a longtime listener of this podcast. And the question is, “As a first-generation immigrant with parents alone in India, there is always a mental tussle and self-judging about them. Due to constraints, my parents are not able to travel to us, at times mind thinks that I am being selfish and not being there for my parents, but practically, for kids, my kids want to be in the US for their future. How does one deal with this?”
Wonderful question. Thank you for trusting me with this question. And I will do my best to answer this and make an attempt. There is no right or wrong answer to this. So I’m going to share the philosophy behind this. And you can apply this philosophy if you think it makes sense. Now, this is a challenge, this is a problem, when you leave your parents and when you are far away, it doesn’t matter whether you are in America, you are in Canada, Singapore, whichever part of the world you are in, doesn’t matter, you are like 100 miles away, away from where your parents are, it’s still an issue. Distance, in general, is an issue. And I’m going to cover that. But then here’s how I see it, because I myself have gone through it, and I’m going through it. So this question is very close to my heart. So each one of our assets, every asset you have in your life today will eventually become your liability. Your parents at one point in time, where your assets and they are now due to age, everything else that’s happening, you know, we all age, and we’ll start losing our functions, we become a liability. So they were assets, to begin with. And now they’re turning into a liability be any position you have, you have a house, you have a car, anything that you have, that you think now is an asset is going to soon turn into a liability, your emotions that you think are your assets will turn into a liability. And whatever you think in your mind is an asset, which by the way, your parents are an asset. And this was a program that was done a long time ago. And this is there in the mind from the beginning, because they gave birth to us and the race does, we want to become as we see them becoming a liability not to us for themselves, they’re not able to do the basic functions, and they’re going down and they don’t have the energy and they’re aging. And we have to do everything. Because it’s an asset in our minds, we will do whatever we can to protect that asset. Every asset becomes a liability, and you will do everything in your capability to protect that asset. And you will expense a lot along the way. So that’s the point.
Hopefully, that point I could convey across every asset. Let’s look into this. Take that principle one more time. And I’ll give you one more analogy on this asset. As you started. As we all started as kids, we were given some skills, some values, and some beliefs by our parents. And we had some talents, they did not have short talent, and there was an investment they made. That’s not the right way to put it. But you get the idea. There was an investment that was made into us, and with time. And as we became older, we started seeing life and we acquired the necessary understanding of this world, our job is to turn that investment into equity for them. So the bad way to say this, but you get the idea to turn this into equity for them. Now, one of the ways we turn this into equity is that we take whatever they have given us and we give that to our children. So we transfer our passions, we transfer the things that we could not do, but our parents wanted us to do. But then we can do. So we want our children to do it so that we can turn children into assets. So I see this is the question you’re asking, right? So that is why you’re going to Bible Bible says, a simple concept. I’m gonna sum it up in one line, leave and cleave. So you leave your parents and you cleave to people who come into your life. So your responsibility is to your children. Clearly, Bible says that now I was talking to a friend of mine who has some deep understanding about Vedas and all and we chat a lot. And I’ve asked him this question. And he said, even with a says that, you know your responsibilities to children. Okay.
Now the question becomes is what happens to the parents and the assets and they thought that we are, they’re turning, they got an asset. They gave birth to us and instilled the talent and skills into us and then they thought that they were going with time We are going to become equity. Right? Now that means we’ll take that equity, whatever, when we see the world and then turn that equity into assets, and that asset will be our children. But then along the way, right along the way, they did not realize that they will become a liability. They didn’t want to, seriously they didn’t want to, but they start to see, hey, I’m slowing down, I’m aging, I’m sick. And I think I’m troubling my child, I think I’m, I don’t want to tell anything that’s happening with me. But the way the nature is, they can’t hide it from you, it’s a matter of a day or two before you come to know, you know, you can, they could delay this, but then each and every emotion that is causing pain to them sooner or later will come to you. So this becomes a game that you have to play, in your mind. What is the time that you would like to spend with your parents? And how can you tell yourself that whatever time you spent with them is enough?
Now, there are two parts to this question also. One is your desire to go spend time with them. Okay, that is completely controlled by you. But they are fine, they’re able to take care of themselves. They had a good life, that living a good life, it’s fine, but they’re sick, and they need, they’re losing their abilities, and you don’t have anybody to help you and support you, then it becomes your responsibility. Bible talks about this, every other scripture, every other philosophy that I have studied, at least in my understanding talks about taking care of parents, let’s look into this from a different angle. Back in the day, while I was growing up, children were supposed to grow up and take care of their parents. So parents necessarily did not have a 401 K or retirement or social structure and I live in America now. So there is some social structure to this some social security coming in some other things, you know, there are programs built-in to take care of older parents and all those things. But in the structure that I was raised in the times that I was born and raised, the only structure that was there is that parents will transition and live with their children, and they will transition out from there. So there was no concept of care homes, old age homes, and all that, that dynamic has shifted, and the dynamic has changed. And because of the way the world operates, now, it probably makes sense to look into those options. But then if they are demanding that they want you and they want to be with you, and there is nobody else who can serve, and you yourself want to serve, then that’s a different equation altogether.
So you have to somehow create the balance, I want to point out one thing, every time you do something, it comes at an expense. So every time you see something is amplified or something is having an incredible amount of visibility or success is a function of life that is looking good. That means it has drawn the energy from somewhere else. And the chances are whatever it has drawn the energy from is now weak. So if you focus on parents, your children will be compromised, given no doubt about it. If you focus on your children, to a large extent, your parents could also be compromised. But it’s a balance that you have to create. It’s a mindset. Now, one, angle, one core philosophy, I want to share with you that I have used multiple times. Every interaction I have with anyone in my last interaction, every conversation of the last conversation. That’s my mindset. So every time I see my relatives, my parents, my friends, even you, if I meet you, as I’ve spoken to you, I think in my mind, that was the last conversation. That is how I approach every interaction, every discussion, even every consultation, that gives me a perspective, whatever I have to say I said whatever I had to do I did in that space. I usually never say I’m going to deal with this three months from now four months from now.
My personal mindset is that I want to live you know, 400 years, but then I’m okay if Tomorrow’s my last day or today is my last day I’m okay with it. So I work out as if and I go to the gym I work out and do all the things I didn’t want to live for 100 years I want to be strong, healthy, and all that. But then I’m okay if life ends. That’s perfectly fine because those are the things we do not control. I’m going to talk about this tomorrow on the podcast but you get the idea. See with time every relationship reverses. You’re your parents become your children. You are the child who will have to become a parent. So as a child, there comes a point where you have to become a parent and say, This is what I can do, this is what I cannot do. That’s the level of understanding you have to bring in. And there are multiple different approvals that you have to take to do certain things. And sometimes you have to force some approvals from your side. So all that is nothing but balance, and all that is your ability to handle yourself, not anybody else. So can you turn your parents who are declining in age, from a liability into the equity? That could be a question you may have? The chances are no, mostly no, it’s very rarely I have seen that a caregiver who has given a tremendous amount of care, was expecting that the old man will become young, on the old woman will become young, that means the parents would become young, and they’ll overcome all the challenges, it doesn’t work that way. And that’s how life is the most unfortunate thing about caregiving is that no matter what you do, they will go. So this feeling that I am not able to see my parents will will eventually end up in a situation where my parents are no more around. I hate to say this, but this is the truth, this is how life works. So you have to do what you have to do, you have to create this balance. And this is the mindset I would use.
So go spend time with your parents as much as you can understand that they had their life. If they are demanding that you serve them, then you have to, you know, you have to, there’s no way out and nobody else you don’t trust anybody else. You have to. If they are okay, if you can get it, if they can be helped to some enlisting the services of other people around, then that’s fine. But what I’ve seen consistently happen is after a long time living alone on their own, most parents would love to spend the last time with their kids. And that is something that you may choose to accommodate. And that is going to come at a cost. And that cost is very difficult for many people to be here. So that’s why they, you know, become sometimes emotionless dealing with those situations.
Hopefully, my analogies and my answer are helpful. If it is let me know. That’s all for now. I’ll catch up with you tomorrow. Stay tuned. Bye now.