If someone asks me: "What would you like to do before you die?" How would I respond?
Indeed, this is a question we should ask ourselves before it’s too late. How shall we manage our life without looking back one day and say: "There is nothing I regret!" We shouldn’t waste our life and our precious time but appreciate every breath we take.
Personally, I know exactly what I still want to do. I wish I could plan a trip with my whole family. We haven’t done this for years; most of the time we either travel by ourselves or if we try to travel with the family, someone is still missing. Since we now have grown up and some of my 5 siblings have moved out it is extremely difficult to organize such activities. It’s nearly impossible.
Nevertheless, I would like to at least present my Mum with a travel-gift, so she can enjoy her life. Recently, she was on a 2week Buddhist trip to Thailand. You cannot imagine how happy she was. She enthusiastically told everybody how fantastic the trip was. Literally, her eyes were shining as she went on and on with those beautiful memories. I have not seen her being so happy for such a long time. I wish her to do it again in the nearest future because SHE REALLY DESERVES IT!
Looking back into the past I realized that my Mom has sacrificed her whole life for us. She was always there when we needed her; she forgot her own needs and was happy when we were happy. And I am sure as long as she lives she will continue to do so! We should not take this for granted, should we?
What does a Mom usually think and do? Well, she tries hard to raise her children, hoping that they grow up and become good people. She wishes and hopes for the children to have a better life than she had. As I mentioned above:
"She is happy when we are happy".
What about us? What do we think and do? The time will come that we become mature and go our own way and make our own decisions for our lives. But as we get older we become more and more selfish. The only thing in our mind is to leave homes, to become independent, to live a life as we always imagined and nobody tells us what to do. BUT believe me, once you think you have gained your freedom, you will very soon realize that you also have big responsibility now. You will feel lonely as well and miss your Mom. And you just wish that she is there to tell you what to do.
There is a Vietnamese saying, expressing the attitude of children towards their parents:"Parents raise their children for months and years; once children have to look after their parents, they’re counting every day and seconds!"
Isn't it so? You know exactly what I am talking about, right? Come on, don't lie to yourself :-P Who of us would not feel annoyed when our Mom or Dad ask us to do them a favor, but we are completely outraged. We promise to do it later and take things for not serious. It is just because we were enjoying watching our favorite TV episodes of Spongebob Squarepants or having friends coming over? And remember when your parents last time asked you to explain something, for example, how an Iphone 4 works, what was your reaction? Believe me, we are not as patient as our parents, not even a fraction.
Remember, when we were babies and cried our lungs out when we were hungry or did not feel comfortable, no matter what time? Although our parents had lack of sleep, they showed patience and loving kindness. Also, remember when we were about five years old, haven’t we constantly annoy our parents by asking questions like “Why is the sky blue? Why this and that?
There are way more things I could list, but I stop now since I’m pretty sure that you all know what my point is, right? GOTCHA!!!
One last thing, there is a short story I have heard from my Dharma master about a year ago when we were discussing about "deference" and "respect and thankfulness" towards parents.
I thought it would be nice to share it with you:
There was a little boy who was very energetic. He liked doing things that his father forbid him. Every time he came home, his father would yell, punish and even beat him. However, the boy never cried, no matter how much it hurt. Later, the boy grew up and has not even changed a little bit. He still broke the rules and disobeyed his father; his father continuously beat him. Even by this time, the boy has never shed a tear when his father punished him. A few years later, the boy turned into a young mature man. And still, he was not afraid of his father, he disobeyed him and so on. But one day, surprisingly, his father was not able to beat him anymore but only yell at the young man. Suddenly, he began to cry.
Can you guess why?
Because this young man realized that his father is becoming old and he is too weak now to beat him. All the past years his father tried to teach him rights and wrongs, good and bad, proper behaviors and misconducts, but the boy has wasted his father's time by making him more sad and disappointed. Now, all of a sudden, the boy who was once very energetic turned into a sensible young man, kneeling in front of his father and begged for forgiveness. He promised to change.
I guess, you guys do not want to be like the boy in this story, huh, do you? So, I'll leave you with that. Think about it. I would really appreciate if you can give me some feedbacks.
By the way, have you ever thought of giving something back to your parents, even if it is just a small gesture? Ever thought to say "Thank you Mom, thank you Dad for what you have done for me and make me who I am" or were you just too busy with your life and work?
Also, it was not my intension to write a whole novel about this issue. My initial thought was to ask you: "What would you like to do before you die?" …