My parents

All research or scholarship questions

Should you feel obligated to support your parents?

Yes
3
75%
No
0
No votes
Depents on the situation (If so, list situation)
1
25%
 
Total votes: 4

hqQELNQBb

My parents

Postby hqQELNQBb » Sat Oct 21, 2006 4:05 pm

Hello all,

It is my first post :)

I want your thoughts on this:
Do you feel that because your parents may have supported you when you were younger, that you "owe" it to them to support them now?


(Pay the bills they run up etc, just because they did it for you when you were younger and unable to work)


Thanks. :)

Baha'i Warrior
Posts: 753
Joined: Thu Aug 11, 2005 10:07 am
Location: U.S.A.

Re: My parents

Postby Baha'i Warrior » Sun Oct 22, 2006 1:50 am

Morutea wrote:Hello all,

It is my first post :)


Welcome. Nice to have you here.

Morutea wrote:I want your thoughts on this:
Do you feel that because your parents may have supported you when you were younger, that you "owe" it to them to support them now?


(Pay the bills they run up etc, just because they did it for you when you were younger and unable to work)


Are you asking us as Baha'is? Probably yes (depending on the circumstances, see last paragraph). First of all they gave birth to you. That in itself is very signifacant. Second, from what it sounds like, they sacrificed for you when you were a kid.

But first of all without going into too much detail you'd need to give more info. I.e. what are their ages, why aren't they working, etc.

Best,

BW

choogue
Posts: 0
Joined: Fri Feb 27, 2009 4:54 am

Postby choogue » Sun Oct 22, 2006 7:22 am

Welcome Morutea,

I wouldnt actually feel obligated just because they support me. I would support them because i care for them and would want the best for them.

Regards
Abbas

brettz9
Posts: 1363
Joined: Wed Dec 31, 2003 12:12 pm
Contact:

Postby brettz9 » Mon Oct 23, 2006 11:27 am

Hi Morutea and welcome,

The Baha'i Writings have this general advice in our relations to our parents:

104. In the Tablet to 'Abá Badí', this holy verse hath been revealed: "Verily, We have enjoined on every son to serve his father." Such is the decree which We have set forth in the Book.

106. ... The fruits that best befit the tree of human life are trustworthiness and godliness, truthfulness and sincerity; but greater than all, after recognition of the unity of God, praised and glorified be He, is regard for the rights that are due to one's parents. This teaching hath been mentioned in all the Books of God, and reaffirmed by the Most Exalted Pen. Consider that which the Merciful Lord hath revealed in the Qur'án, exalted are His words: "Worship ye God, join with Him no peer or likeness; and show forth kindliness and charity towards your parents..." Observe how loving-kindness to one's parents hath been linked to recognition of the one true God! Happy they who are endued with true wisdom and understanding, who see and perceive, who read and understand, and who observe that which God hath revealed in the Holy Books of old, and in this incomparable and wondrous Tablet.

( Baha'u'llah, Kitab-i-Aqdas, Question and Answers)


The compilation at http://bahai-library.com/?file=compilation_family_life also has a number of things to say about parents and our relationship to them. Here is just one:

If thou wouldst show kindness and consideration to thy parents so that they may feel generally pleased, this would also please Me, for parents must be highly respected and it is essential that they should feel contented, provided they deter thee not from gaining access to the Threshold of the Almighty, nor keep thee back from walking in the way of the Kingdom. Indeed it behoveth them to encourage and spur thee on in this direction.
(`Abdu'l-Bahá, from a Tablet-translated from the Persian)


I even seem to remember a quote about the connection being made between the sacrifices they have made for us and our duty toward them.

If they are running up bills, though, because they are losing their memory, dealing with a gambling habit, or some other issue, of course, you'd want to try to see about addressing that with or for them first.

take care,
Bret

playexyshoola
Posts: 0
Joined: Mon Mar 16, 2009 9:41 am

Postby playexyshoola » Mon Oct 23, 2006 7:21 pm

Hi There

Well let me give you a girls point of view on this topic...

I do not think any one is forced to care for their parents...i really dont think it has anything to do with religion eigther!!!...its your personal opinion...it depends how close you are to them...what situation you are in?....
to me i would care for my parents only if that is the %100 thing i want to do..not because they gave birth to me and raised me....thats my personal opinion...and honestly i believe religion should not make a difference..GOD has created Love in our hearts and he has given us a brain to use...so therefore it is in our hands to do what we have to do..go with your Head and Heart and im sure God will guide you to the rite path...

All the best

asal

brettz9
Posts: 1363
Joined: Wed Dec 31, 2003 12:12 pm
Contact:

Postby brettz9 » Tue Oct 24, 2006 3:12 pm

Hello Asal and welcome,

May I first ask whether you are a Baha'i or not?

According to Baha'i belief, everything has to do with religion--to us religion is not some mere tradition that you inherit from your parents. God has given us teachings to illuminate every area of our lives--even if is not always in explicit detail--and He has done so not through our emotions, but through a Holy Messenger of God. The point of having a Prophet is that we must recognize that His knowledge is greater than our own in order to be transformed as individuals and as a society into something better than what we could come up with on our own.

Now, we are ALSO supposed to be guided to a certain degree, as you suggest, by our feelings and by our rational thought, and these will help us in such situations as Morutea is facing to decide how exactly to apply the teachings exactly to our given circumstance (no one is giving Morutea exact rules here or claiming to absolutely know that these quotations apply to his/her situation). But we are supposed to take the Writings into account, and as you can see from the quotations from our Faith on the topic, they are quite strong in emphasizing our DUTY toward parents.

I emphasized "duty" here because we as Baha'is cannot see that as a dirty word, since it is frequently used in our Writings in a positive sense. Would it be ideal that people 100% wanted to do the "right thing"? Yes. But as our own Writings state:

"You ask him about the fear of God: perhaps the friends do not realize that the majority of human beings need the element of fear in order to discipline their conduct? Only a relatively very highly evolved soul would always be disciplined by love alone. Fear of punishment, fear of the anger of God if we do evil, are needed to keep people's feet on the right path. Of course we should love God--but we must fear Him in the sense of a child fearing the righteous anger and chastisement of a parent; not cringe before Him as before a tyrant, but know His mercy exceeds His Justice!"

(From a letter written on behalf of the Guardian to an individual believer, July 26, 1946: Baha'i Education, A Compilation, compiled by the Universal House of Justice, in Lights of Guidance, no. 794)


So even a motivation like fear has its place in inspiring us to good behavior (as can another selfish motivator, reward), according to Baha'i belief, so I think it would only stand to reason that such logical ethical appeals as this (about reciprocating love) would also (and again, I am pretty confident there is a quotation to this effect).

best wishes,
Brett

Addition: As far as someone being "forced" to take care of one's parents, I think it should be stated that we have voluntarily chosen to accept Baha'u'llah's authority and wisdom over our own (and so, perhaps this is why Morutea has chosen a Baha'i board to find out this answer, according to His insight for us). By doing so, we may subsequently be "forced" into something because we fear God (as represented perfectly to us by His Messenger), but our choice to consider Him as an infallible Teacher from God in the first place was and remains voluntary.

playexyshoola
Posts: 0
Joined: Mon Mar 16, 2009 9:41 am

Postby playexyshoola » Tue Oct 24, 2006 4:27 pm

Bretzz

As i mentioned once before YES, i am a bahai, and YES i still disagree with you...True that we all have certain duties..but as i mentioned before we have different situations as well...thats y i said the answer to his question will be diffrent from each persons point of view...Religion should NEVER force anything unto anyone if it is a True religion...God has given us the knowledge and the brain to use and search the truth for ourself..therefore its up to us how deal with certain situations...
So are you telling me if your parents are Alcoholics, or Covenant breakers Or etc...would you still take DUTY into considerations...Im not sure wer u comign from....
Yes the writings are there ONLY to GUIDE us NOT TO FORCE US....

Im sure in no religion followers and believers are forced to take care of their parents...it does not sound logical!!!

Regards
asal

brettz9
Posts: 1363
Joined: Wed Dec 31, 2003 12:12 pm
Contact:

Postby brettz9 » Tue Oct 24, 2006 10:56 pm

Yes, I am sure it does depend on the situation. I was only providing quotations which seemed to emphasize the need to care for them. I didn't mean to say that it necessarily applied to Morutea's exact situation. But what I meant to say was that we may not always feel 100% happy to do something, but we "must" do it anyways. Since I think this is a kind of force, that is why I sought to clarify your statements.

There is always room for some nuance in the Writings. Surely, no true religion will ignore nuanced situations. But, let's take the converse example of the law to take care of our children. In that case, "force"--if this is the kind of force you are talking about--is to be used, both by the authorities, as well as the spiritual "force" of a promise of potential future punishment:

Unto every father hath been enjoined the instruction of his son and daughter in the art of reading and writing and in all that hath been laid down in the Holy Tablet. He that putteth away that which is commanded unto him, the Trustees are then to take from him that which is required for their instruction if he be wealthy and, if not, the matter devolveth upon the House of Justice.

(Kitab-i-Aqdas, par. 48)


and

"It is for this reason that, in this new cycle, education and training are recorded in the Book of God as obligatory and not voluntary. That is, it is enjoined upon the father and mother, as a duty, to strive with all effort to train the daughter and the son, to nurse them from the breast of knowledge and to rear them in the bosom of sciences and arts. Should they neglect this matter, they shall be held responsible and worthy of reproach in the presence of the stern Lord."

(Abdu'l-Baha: Selections from the Writings of Abdu'l-Baha, 1982, pp. 126-127)


Now although none of us as individuals can say in exactly what situations these laws apply (maybe that's what you mean by force--though since we individuals do not represent the religion, it is not really the religion forcing anyone), clearly the Central Figures of our Faith have given specific situations to "force" certain laws. But even here, they of course do not "force" the law to extreme degrees (e.g., I don't think the duty above for teaching children means wealthy parents will be required to support their children until they get their Ph.D's). But as you are probably aware, the Universal House of Justice does have the power to legislate (i.e., add additional laws) such as to say exactly when parents will be forced to pay--e.g., to be forced by legal consequences such as fines or imprisonment if they don't pay their primary school taxes.

I think supporting parents also assumes that they have a real need to be supported. If they are healthy and with an income, they don't have a right to use us as slaves to feed their habits. At least my assumption in attempting to address this question was that the parents could not take care of themselves. I think in such a situation, it would not matter if they were alcoholics or not (and maybe the Faith would even make an allowance if they were declared Covenant-breakers). 'Abdu'l-Baha served people regardless of whether they deserved it (none of us do), and we are supposed to follow His example.

So in summary, maybe we agree and are just debating language. To me, "force" is being used in these situations we are discussing; "guiding" to me implies that something is fully optional in every case. While we must use our own feelings and reasoning, there are specific cases in which the Writings spell out for us very clearly that we are "forced" to do something, even though, as you say, there are of course exceptions to how a law or teaching is applied.

best wishes,
Brett

Baha'i Warrior
Posts: 753
Joined: Thu Aug 11, 2005 10:07 am
Location: U.S.A.

Postby Baha'i Warrior » Wed Oct 25, 2006 11:31 am

asal wrote:Religion should NEVER force anything unto anyone if it is a True religion...God has given us the knowledge and the brain to use and search the truth for ourself..therefore its up to us how deal with certain situations...


He has given us a brain, but since true knowledge consists in the knowledge and belief in God, that brain is not useful if it doesn't maintain any active "contact" with the soul.

asal wrote:So are you telling me if your parents are Alcoholics, or Covenant breakers Or etc...would you still take DUTY into considerations...Im not sure wer u comign from....


If you go to the Writings, you will see that we are instructed not to associate with covenant breakers, even if they are parents. This would certainly be an exception. But if they are alcoholics, you should try to help them receive treatment. If they resist after repeated attempts, for example, then you can leave them to themselves. Obviously taking care of them doesn't involve buying them alcoholic beverages.

asal wrote:Yes the writings are there ONLY to GUIDE us NOT TO FORCE US....


No one forced you to become a Baha'i. When you state you are a Baha'i, you are acknowledging that Baha'u'llah and 'Abdu'l-Baha understand you as an individual better than you do yourself, and this is why They give you certain teachings. We should all strive to heed to their commands and exhortations. Yes, having a clean mind, pure thoughts, and being in a prayerful state, for example, are "only" exhortations, and commands or more specifically Laws. BUT are these exhortations just there to make the passages sound good? Or are they suggested to be followed so that the believer's soul may become nearer to God? Apply this to the topic at hand.

asal wrote:Im sure in no religion followers and believers are forced to take care of their parents...it does not sound logical!!!


While as we said there are certain cases where you wouldn't take care of your parents, it is indeed most logical to respect and take care of your parents, the ones who creates you, and by doing so have allowed you the possibility of eternal life. If they didn't give birth to you, you wouldn't have existed. You would have been non-existent! But through the grace of God and the union of your parents, you were born so that your soul may obtain eternal life in the Kingdom of God! Now, who should you be more thankful to? Them, or someone who'd give you a million dollars and all the material wealth you'd ever want?

Best regards,

Warrior

Dorumerosaer
Posts: 0
Joined: Wed Feb 25, 2009 3:15 am
Location: Germany
Contact:

Postby Dorumerosaer » Tue Oct 31, 2006 10:23 pm

>>Do you feel that because your parents may have supported you when you were younger, that you "owe" it to them to support them now? (Pay the bills they run up etc, just because they did it for you when you were younger and unable to work)>>

Well, I suppose I would place the financial question you ask, into the broader child-parent relationship. Therefore, not directly answering the financial question, but in general responding to the question you pose about the relationship between adult child and older parent.

The word "just" appears in your question. "Just" because your parents supported you when you were younger. My take on this is that there is no way on earth that I can repay my parents. They gave me breath. When I was sick, they cared for me. They taught me to pray and to read. They gave up their own wants and needs, to clothe and educate me. They instilled values in me that are with me every moment of every day, that enhance the quality of my life. They put me and my brother and sisters first. They did almost nothing for themselves; everything was directed to our upbringing, our education, our protection.

At my mother's funeral, I said, "What words can I say? 'Thank-you' is what you say to a stranger who hands you a glass of water. Thank you is what you say to a person who holds the door open for you. There is no word, to thank a mother, for the ten thousand times she looked after me, when I was incapable of looking after myself." I then asked God to thank her, and to reward her, on my behalf, because only He was capable of giving proper recompense to her.

I do not know your circumstances. Did your parents abuse you? Neglect you? Beat you?

If not, how can the word "just" appear in your question? "Just" because they gave you life? The word does not fit in the sentence. Raising a child is a huge thing to do. You can't say, "Well, *merely* because you gave me a million dollars yesterday, I need to think over whether to give you a thousand today"

However, if someone, even a parent, is being irresponsible, and imposing, then I think that boundaries can be set.

I give to my parents, not because they expect it, but because they deserve it. Anything I give back is a pittance, compared to the vast treasure they gave to me. It should come from love and expression of gratitude, not from reluctant duty.

So I would say perhaps to consider the following quotes, and see if an attitude adjustment is called for. If it is, your financial response will flow accordingly. If not, if there was abuse, neglect, imposition, etc. etc., then boundaries, or tough love (refusing) may be appropriate. But it sounds like you are looking at what they gave you, with a microscope; and looking at what they want you to give them, with a telescope. (Poor example, but in general, minimizing what they gave, maximizing what you would give).

So again, I think the question is about determining the tone that should characterize the entire relationship. Is thanks due to them? If so, they earned it with deeds; and deeds are the right response.

Brent

"Bahá'u'lláh has clearly stated the consent of all living parents is required for a Bahá'í marriage. This applies whether the parents are Bahá'ís or non-Bahá'ís divorced for years or not. This great law He has laid down to strengthen the social fabric, to knit closer the ties of the home, to place a certain gratitude and respect in the hearts of children for those who have given them life and sent their souls out on the eternal journey toward their Creator. We Bahá'ís must realize that in present-day society the exact opposite process is taking place: young people care less and less for their parents' wishes, divorce is considered a natural right, and obtained on the flimsiest and most unwarrantable and shabby pretexts. People separated from each other, especially if one of them has had full custody of the children are only too willing to belittle the importance to the Bahá'í laws and teachings, combat these corrosive forces which are so rapidly destroying home life and the beauty of family relationships, and tearing down the moral structure of society." (From a letter written on behalf of Shoghi Effendi to the National Spiritual Assembly of the United States and Canada, October 25, 1947)


"In regard to the question you asked him: he feels sure that, although in some ways you may be a financial burden to your children, it is to them a privilege to look after you; you are their mother and have given them life, and through the bounty of Bahá'u'lláh they are now attracted to His Faith. Anything they do for you is small recompense for all you have done for them."
(From a letter written on behalf of Shoghi Effendi to an individual believer, September 20, 1948; Lights of Guidance, p. 230, #769)

"Question: What is the attitude of your belief toward the family?
Answer: According to the teachings of Bahá'u'lláh the family, being a human unit, must be educated according to the rules of sanctity. All the virtues must be taught the family. The integrity of the family bond must be constantly considered, and the rights of the individual members must not be transgressed. The rights of the son, the father, the mother -- none of them must be transgressed, none of them must be arbitrary. Just as the son has certain obligations to his father, the father, likewise, has certain obligations to his son. The mother, the sister and other members of the household have their certain prerogatives. All these rights and prerogatives must be conserved, yet the unity of the family must be sustained. The injury of one shall be considered the injury of all; the comfort of each, the comfort of all; the honor of one, the honor of all."
(Abdu'l-Baha, The Promulgation of Universal Peace, p. 168)


Return to “Discussion”