by Seneca Moraleda-Puguan

Is giving back to parents an obligation? Are children responsible for their parents when they retire from working?This is an issue that people, especially in the Philippines, have been talking about for a very long time but recently, it has become a hotly debated topic again on social media.

I believe that parents should not expect their children to repay debt of gratitude through financial support. Providing for parents is a burden children should not carry.

Just like many financial experts say, children are not parents’ retirement plans when they are old. Yes, we can give voluntarily, especially when our parents are lacking or they need help, but it should not be an obligation. I know of many people, especially those overseas, who carry the burden of providing for their parents. We experience it even within our family. It has become common among Filipino households, and it has to stop.

My husband and I decided from the very beginning of our marriage that we would never expect our children to provide for us or burden them to support us financially in the future. This is why we are working on our savings and retirement funds to support ourselves someday.

Fortunately, I have a role model to look up to when it comes to issues such as this: my mother. My Mama Marlu had worked so hard to provide for her four children. She had become the primary breadwinner of our family when she left for the United States. She labored and sacrificed so many things just so her family could enjoy a comfortable life.

But despite all this, I have never heard her complain and boast about all the things that she had done for us. And I will always be thankful to her for not forcing us to give back or to support her financially.

In fact, until now, she still asks us if there’s anything we need, and she doesn’t hesitate to give. Generosity and selflessness are the hallmarks of her life.

I truly praise God for giving me such a wonderful mother even if half of my life, she’s been away physically. I am always proud of her. I am eternally grateful to call her my ‘mama’.

Not everyone gets to have a mother like her but every mom, flawed and imperfect, is worth commending.

This month of May, I celebrate my mother along with all the mothers in the world. Being a mother, I dare say, is the most challenging job.

Raising and nourishing children who will impact the world in the future, positively or negatively, is such a big responsibility and a heavy burden to bear.

They truly deserve to be celebrated and honored. I, being a mother of two amazing children, call it a privilege.

Is giving back to parents an obligation? My answer is no, but my heart would like to bless my mother in so many ways, even if most of the time she tells us we don’t need to give her anything and we can use the funds for our families instead.

I want to be generous because I have a mother who has been very generous with her resources and with her life. She deserves to be rewarded and be blessed a thousand-fold, not just monetarily but with the gratitude, love, respect, and honor that she rightfully deserves.

Are children responsible for their parents when they retire from working? No, but we are called to honor and respect them.

I may not be responsible for providing for my mama, but it will be my honor to bless and support her in every way I can to let her know how blessed and appreciative I am to have her.

Sa iyong pagmamahal at mga sakripisyo, maraming salamat, Ma!

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