And so I found an article on wikiHow called How to Be a Good Son, with a series of rules of thumb on how to achieve this goal. Only if it were that simple. The list is simple, perhaps even naive. But it is a starting point for the discussion, at least.
Since some of the readers of this blog (if there’s any left, that is) have not been through the gift of becoming parents, but all of them have at least been children, I’d like to hear your thoughts on the previously refered list. Here it is:
How to be a Good Son
1. Never use bad language and/or talk back to your mom and dad because you may hurt them through the bad words without thinking.
2. Try your best in school. Listen to everything your teacher said, make notes, and even make little practice tests for you to practice your skills.
3. Be honest with your parents. Don’t lie to them, and don’t do any sneaky stuff. Help them to build a wall of trust for you, but when you get it, don’t let it fall down again!
4. Be independent and take good care of yourself. Be mature instead and try not to have them worry about you all the time.
5. Do as much housework as you can when you’re home. Don’t be a couch potato or a lazybone.
6. Love, help and be kind to your brothers or sisters rather than hit them even though you really hate them because they’re always bothering you, making you lose your temper.
7. Don’t be shy to show your love to your parents. Do it by saying some sweet words, sending gifts, kissing or other ways. Dont give attitude when they talk to you.
Again, it’s a pretty plane list, but points number 3, 6 and 7 are noteworthy. Besides, the truth is one does not learn how to be a good son/daughter. You just are. You grow old and then, one day, you are faced with the challenge of being a parent yourself. And then it hits you, as you start remembering details of your childhood, and how your parents dealt with different situations, which sometimes are rather similar to the ones you’re facing now.
And you keep learning.
Funny thing is therefore, that you may realize how good or how bad of a son/daughter you have been when it is too late. And perhaps one of your parents is not around to thank them. Or perhaps, you are immersed in such a thorough process of learning, that you don’t find the time to thank your parents for everything they did when you were an infant. Or when you were a child. Or when you were a teenager. Or when you are an adult, young or old.
The fact is, then, that any day is a good day to thank your parents for helping you become what you have become. Mother’s Day is usually a good occasion to change your mom’s routine and, when she’s around, take her out to dinner, or to do something special with her. But the day is so commercial nowadays, that I don’t really think most people are truthful with their feelings around this date. It’s more like social pressure what seems to motivate most people to celebrate their mothers. And what about the remaining 364 days in the calendar?
And so, the question remains. How to be a good son? I guess it all depends, for the list provided above sounds appealing when you are at a stage in your life when you still depend on them, like childhood.
As one grows, nonetheless, certain things in the relationship with your parents change. If you ask me, for instance, there’s a way different vision from the kid who lived at his parents’ home age 16 to the person I am today. And so, at age 34, I’m still learning to treat my parents as fellow adults, rather than just my parents. I’m also learning to talk to my parents as my friends, and to communicate my feelings clearly. Last week, for instance, I had great quality time with my Dad as we were discussing different issues affecting us both, in our respective professional lives. We did so on a friend-to-friend basis more than on a father-to-son one. I’m so thankful to still have my old man around!
Being the only married child in my family also has its implications. I still have to play mediator between my wife and my parents. I have to show them that I am open for their advice, but I still need to claim my own independence and ability to make decisions on my own. I have to look for common activities between my family (wife and children) and my original family (parents and sibblings). I have to show respect for their opinions but remain faithful to my choices. Setting boundaries and limits in an appropriate way is also part of the equation, as it is loving them, and showing love to them, on a constant basis.
The truth is, again, you never stop learning how to be a better son. Me? I just go, thanking God that at ages 64 and 58, both my parents are still around. And even when they’re gone, I will still be in the process of learning how to be a good son.
I love you, Mom and Dad!