Friday, December 6, 2013

expats with parents

Expats who want to feel close to their foreign parents, and guard their wellbeing are a counter culture of sorts. They clash with a local culture where parents self-fund their retirement, with the help of the system. It's also a culture where senior parents and children are mostly independent from each other, and where it's convenient for people to regularly visit their parents.

When we live in the west, we find that parents are not "in the picture". They're not at their children's parties, they don't show up every weekend. Without moral support to maintain a culture of extended families, we end up assimilating into the demanding, independent lifestyle of the west. It's all too easy for our love for our parents to become theoretical. We love you but our time and money is going almosy entirely elsewhere.

Until we lose a parent, and slug through that tragedy, we tend to think that we'll always have a chance to take care of them. We need a support system that steers us clear from this fatally over-confident thinking. Of course if our parents could immediately join when we migrate, nothing would tear us apart from them or distract us rom rewarding them and bonding with them. This is the dream for many of us, we're born to loving dedicated parents and our definition of success is to make it one day and reward them. The reward for these kind souls is our company, and of course securing their health and comfort. Imagine the horror when we realize that we waited too long, and missed our chance to be their deserving, grateful children. I wish to spare others that heart break.

Immigration laws would have to become more senior-parent friendly, but other changes can happen in the meanwhile. We can campaign to make the extended-family culture more visible. This will give moral support to those who want to reunite with their parents, and who often internalise their plans fearing that they're odd. A campaign for new traditions within our culture as well: a slogan saying "5% to those who gave everything", to make it common to send money home. As we assimilate into the west and start new families here, we need moral support as our expat-goals compete with local demands on our life. Similar campaigns can remind us to visit our parents regularly, and can make the public aware of them, and of our cause.

Immigration countries resist the idea of our parents joining us because of medical care expenses. But, have they ever suggested a "parent tax" on immgrants, and given us a chance to accept it? Cultural differences may be preventing immigration countries from realizing the value we place on having our parents with us, and not 2 continents away! Maybe we're willing to pay to avoid the pain of separation from our parents. Attachment parenting is age-old in some cultures that we come from, and it's picking up in the west too. This attachment lasts a lifetime, and we're willing pay to not sacrifice our extended family and end up in a nuclear faily that lacks a proper support system.

No comments:

Post a Comment

Write a comment: