Tuesday, December 24, 2013

Parents first

That what the organization would be called, "parents first". The lives we create in the west are demanding, distracting.  The demands on our time as immigrants are loud and frequent. But what about our promise to our parents, to reunite, to reward them with our presence, after they've dedicated their life to our education? We need vocal reminders to keep us on track, regarding our goals to reward parents.

Today immigration laws are causing parents of foreign-trained professionals a kind of emotional abuse; they have to chose between their children's success and their company. What western parents have to make that grueling choice.  Imagine a law that tells Canadians and Americans that they need to pay a legal fee of $5,000 every time they visit their parents. No one would tolerate this attack on family and seniors, yet this is what keeps us away for our lonely senior parents. Travel expenses are in the thousands, and the time we need to log in canada makes s chose between our parents and long term immigration plans. A westerner never has to make that choice, and this is therefore discrimination. Mind you these foreign parents sent the west ready-trained prfessionals, cost-free.

We may not be able to immediately change immigration laws, or repair public institutions and improve life quality at home so we can return to our parents, but we can increase our awareness of our foreign parents. We can insitutionalize reminders, sme to save towards visiting our parents, send them money regularly, make them part of the public discourse, learn about how parents hide their needs to protect us. Lucky immigrants have vocal parents who remind their children of their duties to support them financially, sponsor them for citizenship. Not all parents are that outspoken or goal oriented, and some our self-conscious about their needs. This is where institutionalized support can help professional create an early plan to preserve our parents physical and emotional wellbeing, by keeping them close.

Disciplined, employed immigrants may be on the right track in regards to reuniting with their parents, and may not need support. But what of those who go the time-consuming, risky entrepreneurial route, who lack focus, who get distracted by materialistic goals, who are overconident and postpone rewarding their parents?

We don't all realize that parental relationships need to be mantained. To feel loved parents need continuous gesture of support, and not simply to be rescued after years of neglect, once we've made the necessary money. Love is an act of prsence, a wire transfer at times, but not to be confused with an email or skype call. These alone are placeholders, but they don't give our parents the attention and care that they need. We also don't all have the wisdom of fearing time, and its effect on parents. We might have lost touch with relatives and childhood friends that may open our eyes to this fact. Once we drift away from home, we can no longer count on family and social circles to pass on their wisdom to us, or have an yey-opening talk when we need it. The new circles we form elsewhere are rarelyinvolved in our relationship  with our parents. In some cultures which we join parents and children visit, but they do not share a life. We therfore miss out on social cues that our parents need to be with us, or see us more often as we promissed. This is where institutionalized advice is needed ro replace the family-awareness we miss out when we leave. Why should every generation learn the hard way the value of time spent with loved ones, only after a painful loss.

What do you think, would you want to go to meet ups, and receive messages that remind you to save for your parents, visit your parents, read between the lines when they claim they're ok?

I imagine awareness campaign messages saying:
Caring for our aging parents is not a goal for later, it' for now. Later might be too late.
Parents are our most urgent project.
My senior foreign parents gave me the degree that's making your country money. In return they ask not to be left behind.
Don't be the immigrant who lost his parents because no one advised him.
Send money, send love, visit often. There is no immigration law against that, only disractions.
Foreign parents are ill? Don't figure it out alone, talk with those who share your extended family goals.
Let my mommy in or else her and I will go improve another country.

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