Treating my Parents on May Long Weekend

Last weekend was May long weekend.  While I typically work a part-time job during the weekends, I found that this year I wanted to take a breather and take my parents out for dinner.  My folks are from out of town, and I found that the older I get, the less time I feel I have with my family.  Watching my parents age over the years has an element of sorrow.  Slowly, they face the issues of aging, with deteriorating health and undoubtedly realizing that they might not be around one day.

My parents immigrated to Canada from China when they were 37 years old; I was in elementary school.  They’ve lived a hard life, scraping to make ends meet and enough to feed me and my sister.  Despite not always seeing things eye to eye for many years (with arguments spanning throughout my teenage years and even as a young adult), I still feel immense gratitude for their support throughout my life.  Last weekend I had a chance to take them to places they would never take themselves due to their frugal ways.  Given that they live in a different city, it was important for me to do something memorable.

Here’s why treating your parents can feel good:

Gratitude: there’s a lot of sacrifices parents make to raise us.  Despite how many are far from perfect, and may even have negative impacts on their children, they still play a significant role in our lives.  No matter the number of arguments I’ve had over the years with my folks, I still crave their approval.  There was always an innate desire to please and make them proud.  There are many ways you can treat your parents, whether it’s something small such as taking them out for a dinner, or going for a short hike, there are many simple but creative ways to give back.

This year, I took them to the Calgary tower for brunch.  Not only was the food delicious but the view was extraordinary.  It made the trip worthwhile and memorable.

Creating positive memories: Creating positive memories helps to strengthen the relationship you have with your parents.  For example, long periods of isolation can hinder you from having a positive relationship.  After a long fight with my father, I did not visit home for close to two years.  It really strained the quality of our relationship.  Ultimately, holding grudges did not help me move on, but rather, it kept a lot of emotions bottled up that contributed to stress and anxiety.

Setting an example: treating the parents can set a positive example for others, including your own children.  While I have no children yet, I believe that giving back demonstrates respect for other family members, and especially ones older than yourself.  It encourages a culture of kindness and reciprocity within the family.