On the first day of June every year, we celebrate global Parents Day. Having just been made aware of this holiday and its meaning, it struck me as odd that we should have one particular day to celebrate the people who gave us life.
Are we really going to lump them in with the likes of World Yoga Day and World Nutella Day?
I’m not denying the scrumptiousness of chocolate spread, but really – it’s a bit superficial. Are we really going to brand our parents in with food?
And that got me thinking: why do we have a World Parents Day?
After all, every day that you come home from school to see dinner on the table, it’s children’s day. Every time your mum takes you shopping, or your Dad sits you down for one-to-one advice, its children’s day.
It’s unconditional, and it’s every day.
So why can’t we show the same love and respect to our parents?
This article might not come across as “cool” by any means. You either think I’m a teenage snob, or a middle-aged parent myself.
Both are wrong. And if I could say one thing on World Parents Day, I would say this:
Mum and Dad, I’m sorry. Sorry that it took me so long to write these words for you. Sorry that when I moved out of the house for the first time, I had no problem spilling tears, while for my sake, you blinked back yours. Sorry that I took for granted the listening ears and the space you kept for me at the dinner table.
Sorry that I didn’t appreciate when you told me no. You took up the burden of telling me what I needed to hear, and not what I wanted to hear. Sorry for the times that I lashed out and called you unfair.
Because of you, I have become a better person. I have learned to be responsible; to dream with my heart and think with my head; to be compassionate and think of others.
When I first told people I wanted to be a writer, I didn’t expect anyone people to believe I could do it. My mum, however, had all the belief in the world:
“I’m relying on you when I retire!” she would say, “You’re going to make millions on your first book!”
My dad, however, was a bit more realistic. He always championed everything I did in life. But he also made me aware of how hard I’d have to work to get it.
Once, I remember telling him how excited I would be when I finally graduated and no longer had to take exams.
His response? “Life is an exam.”
A few years later, I would understand what he meant. I’ve done amazing things: I’ve travelled the world, I’ve met incredible people, and I live my dreams – but it’s not been without hard work.
My hands have grown sore from writing, my eyes have grown swollen with tears – it’s a few consequences for the life I always wanted. The life I earned.
What if my mum hadn’t given me her support? What if my dad had never given me that push? That push inspired me to apply for work experience at Source Magazine back in 2013.
Our parents shape us; and I don’t think we need one particular day to celebrate this – they are laced in everything we do, and in everything we are.
That being said, I think you should take this year’s Parents Day as a wake-up call.
Do we appreciate our parents like we should? Do we show them this appreciation?
If you need this day to tell your parents how you feel, then I think you should reconsider your perception of Parents Day. This is the day you choose to upload that Instagram selfie with your mum or that Facebook post with your dad. It’s the day you show them off on social media with no usual hint of embarrassment.
This is the day that you realise that all the other days should have been spent doing the exact same thing. And perhaps that’s the purpose of it.
Now, I’m not saying to go as far as a Facebook post on a daily basis. But we should let them know we appreciate them, on a slightly more low-key scale.
Because, in my book, if you need to label one day to appreciate your parents, do you really deserve to appreciate them?
If you could say one thing to them, what would you say? I’m sure there’s a long list of “thank you’s” and “ I’m sorrys”, but what do they mean if they never escape your lips?
This year, say no to Parents Day – appreciate your parents every day.