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How far should we respect our parents?


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At what point, if any, should a person draw the line and make decisions for themselves?

We all know that many of us being born and raised in the west have a unique perspective of life, one that our parents will probably never understand. They, in most cases, want whats best for us, but im sure we've all seen many cases where their vision is impaired by their lack of understanding. In some cases they are actually doing harm instead of good.

So what do you guys think? at what point do we decide whats best for us? and at what cost?

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I agree with The Admin: your question does seem a bit figurative and vague, so some more detail would be appreciated.

However, I can respond to your question at this point with this: you are ready to draw the line and make your own decisions in life from the moment you take responsibility for your own actions and are ready and prepared to face their consequences alone.

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Ok, this is a real life scenario:

A young Sikh couple were planning to get married. The boys parents decided they'd do him a "favour" by buying a bigger family house so there'd be more space while living as a "Happy Family" (whereas frankly, they're quite dysfunctional). The couple were going to have to take on a mortgage that was frankly going to be stretching the couples means beyond what can be considered reasonable, and they were being given no real choice in the matter.

Unfortunately the financial strain caused the couple so much stress that eventually their engagement collapsed. They felt that they were out of options and would never in the forseeable future have any financial freedom or ever have the option of buying their own home. The boys parents were both well aware of the stress they were under, but his father chose to ridicule him and wind him up even more, and his mother turned a blind eye because she really wanted the new house and that was her highest priority. So the parents did nothing to help the situation or reassure them in any way.

The couple are now beyond reconcilliation as the girl is too afraid of the boys parents to try to resolve things having called it off. it is truly over.

now, the boys parents were thinking for his benefit in the long term. They thought they were doing him a favour by buying this house. What they failed to acknowledge was the perspective from which the couple saw things and what was important to them, and they ridiculed them when they expressed their concerns (the idea of a couple having some kind of financial breathing space and being able to generally make the most of their time together as opposed to spending their lives struggling to pay a mortgage they didnt choose to take on).

end result is that the parents overbearing attitude towards their son and their lack of regard for his views and concerns eventually caused the breakdown of his engagement.

once again, i re-iterate that they thought they were doing him a favour. But, in actual fact they ended up doing alot of harm.

now i know the Gurmukhs amongst you will speak of sanjog and lekha etc etc, but the fact remains that their limited perspective of the world and their overall attitudes towards what im sure all young people agree is important to any young couple did some serious damage.

So, the question is, at what point do we draw the line and speak up? The boy was doing his best to do what was right by everyone, but by reading the above anyone can see that something was going to have to give. Either it was going to be his "Respectful conduct" or the future he was planning with the person he was hoping to spend his life with.

Now the question is, did he take the idea of respecting his family too far?

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You can't please everyone all of the time, so there's no use trying. Presumably this boy was - at a cerebral level - aware of this fact, but he went ahead with his parents' plan anyway. He did it out of fear, not motivated by "respecting his family". He simply did'nt have the confidence in himself to make his own decisions. Taking decisions means taking responsibility, which the boy did'nt want to have to shoulder.

He disguised weakness with a semblance of filial piety.

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The Paindu parents who live here have no idea how the situations differ from those in India and such incidents above happen reguarly. The parents feel a sense of right over their son's live as it should be lived according to their views. But one thing they fail to realize is that the world is a different place than it was when they were growing up. Right there is the difficultly they place over their children to try to make them undesrtand that the environment is not as easy as it is in india. There isn't only the stress of Khaytee baree, rather a new kind of life is being lived here.

Regarding the story above, the parents tried to do what they felt best according to the indian mind-set which has been hardened by age. I am sure their son tried to explain to them the difficult decisions they are asking him to make, but as such their son had been brought up from day one to obey to their parents. I feel they both are at fault. The fault of the parents is that instead of the son exploring his own options and living according to his own accord, they felt their son still need guidence. It is their own blunder that their grown son who is soon to be married should make his own decision and they should stop interfeering in his life and rather guide him when he asks for it. They should be happy with whatever their son provided for them. I think they became selfish to not realize their son's position and what type of situation he would've been placed in. The son shouldn't have been obeying blindly, he should've made a stand for HIS future....there should come a time in the understaing of both parties of when to take a back seat with due time....especially in the undestanding of the parents.

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i agree with Pheena. both of them were at fault. but i really think that the son should've stood up for what he believed in. you can't just throw away your life because you don't want to hurt your parents. just like the son didn't wanna hurt his parents, the son should've understood that the parents probably don't wanna hurt him either. and if he had attempted to COMMUNICATE with them, it's possible that they could've seen what he was trying to say.

but i distinctly remember something said about attempts at trying to explain why the couple didn't wanna take on the burden of the new house. what i would've done is made my decision and stuck by it regardless of what the parents would have said.

i also think that the girl did the right thing in this case. as bad as it sounds, but i think that she's smart to have ended it. if her future husband was unwilling to stand up for himself, then what would've happened in the future? besides that, who in their right minds would've wanted to get into a situation where the parents have a problem with you because of your choice on how you wanna live your life.

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OK, so we all agree that the guy should have stood up for what was best for him/his future partner...

But, just to play devils advocate :twisted: in doing what would have been best for himself and his partner, he'd be turning his back on his parents who bought him into this world and have raised him. Mahraj says that your mother is your first Guru, then mentions the father as being the second, and THEN Guru himself third in the list. (forgive me, i cant remember the full line, it starts "Gurdev Maata, Gurdev Pitta..."

So what is the Sikhi based standpoint in all this? The question is, where is the line where you actually say "Enough"? Does such a line actually exist?

Or, should we be basing our actions on the Praladh/Harnakash story where Praladh just did his Bhagti irrespective of what his father said and did, and God took care of the rest?


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You are not here to live for your parents, that does not mean you have to lose respect for them. The parents ability to let go of their children and to see them succeed should be more important than to hinder them in life by holding him back for their own selfish ends. A parent is who lets go of their children to let them live according to their own mind-set. If you make a concious decision to progress in your life and your parents are holding you back, you are not donig them a favor by obeying their commands. Nor does that mean you are sinning against your parents.

Yes your first guru is your mother. Mother is also born when her first child is born, before that she is just a female. But simply having a kid does not mean you know what a mother is. Living and raising your kids makes your a mother/father. To make them succeded and make them develop their own decision making skill...it is to push your kids to stand on their own feet is what parents do. Not to hold him back for her own selfish ends. Happiness for a mother is when her child is happy, she needs no other happiness. But there are also mothers who kill their children, who sell their kids for money, who use and abuse them for their own selfish ends....are they mothers?? Does the words of Guru ji, 'Gurdev Mata' fit with those mothers??? Should u be still obeying the commands of such parents just because they brought you into this world?

The line is defined individually. I love my parents, but i do tell them where i think they need to stop making decisions for me, but before i can even say something to them they already know when they should step back. That is the job of a parent to be able to recoganzie when the child has grown its wings and is ready to take a flight. Sometimes the parents push the child out of the nest to let him experience life for himself...but when the child is flying the joy in the parents eye is unexplainalbe. When such time comes, the job of the parents does not end there, they change their position from being the leader to a mentor. Blessed are those who's parents have such mentatlity.


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