The Best Gift

The Best Gift

A couple had grown old. They were failing health. As usually happens in old age, both had health issues; some serious, others trivial. They still had their share of arguments but they were both dependent on each other’s presence. With God’s grace, they were well off. They were not dependent on their three sons and a daughter.

Each of the four children were busy in their own lives and spent a little time on and off with the aging parents at their own convenience.

On their golden anniversary the children decided to give them a nice gift. They discussed various options but were not able to come to a consensus. So eventually each decided to go his own way.

The eldest son gave them a gold coin each. He said that they could buy anything they wanted in exchange for the coins that were worth a good sum. The second son transferred a tidy sum of money into the bank accounts of the mother and the father. He felt mighty pleased with his gesture.

The third son gave them an offer for a holiday anywhere in the world, saying that he would be happy to foot the bill of the holiday, whatever it may be.

The daughter was not so well off. All she could afford was a simple cotton shirt for the mother and a kurta for her father. So she gave them just that. The cotton shirt and kurta were worn and washed umpteen times. The daughter visited the parents every other day. She called them up and spoke to them if she could not visit. She gave them the gift of her time!

A year or so later, the mother died and the father died soon after. The gold coins lay in the safe, as they were. The money too lay unspent, in the savings bank accounts and of course the holiday never happened because they were never well enough to do it.

Simple and inexpensive gifts are perhaps the best. It’s not the value of the gift that matters. It’s the thought behind it that is of value.

When children are small, the parents are young. That is the time the parents want to build their careers by working long hours. If they are affluently placed, they want to enjoy life, go places, party, travel, socialise etc. But this is also the time when babies need their parents. The way a mother can bring up a child, a nanny cannot. Sacrifices made by parents at this stage surely bear fruit. Our parents’ generation made so many sacrifices for us. I wonder why parenting seems to be going out of fashion. I guess there is no harm in having maids or servants or other help too, for but my sincere advice to all young parents is – do find time for your children …

Conversely, if you have aged parents, do make it a point to pay-rent to them. Pay them the RENT of Respect, Empathy, Niceness and Time!!!

Having received so much from them, including the biggest gift, which is the gift of life; is it too much that we give something to them?

All said and done, the best gifts you can give to your aged parents are your time and some gratitude. Conversely, the best gift young parents can give to their babies is their time and lots of love.

Life is all about give and take! You give some; you get some.