MY PARENTS ARE SO DISAPPOINTED IN ME, THEY WORRY ALL THE TIME. THEY HAVE MADE MY BEING HERE POSSIBLE, SO HOW CAN I TURN FROM THEM? WHAT DO I OWE TO MY PARENTS?
THE TROUBLE with the family is that children grow out of childhood, but parents never grow out of their parenthood! Man has not even yet learned that parenthood is not something that you have to cling to it forever. When the child is a grown-up person your parenthood is finished. The child needed it — he was helpless. He needed the mother, the father, their protection; but when the child can stand on his own, the parents have to learn how to withdraw from the life of the child. And because parents never withdraw from the life of the child they remain a constant anxiety to themselves AND to the children. They destroy, they create guilt; they don’t help beyond a certain limit.
To be a parent is a great art. To give birth to children is nothing — any animal can do it; it is a natural, biological, instinctive process. To give birth to a child is nothing great, it is nothing special; it is very ordinary. But to be a parent is something extraordinary; very few people are really capable of being parents. And the criterion is that the real parents will give freedom. They will not impose themselves upon the child, they will not encroach upon his space. From the very beginning their effort will be to help the child to be himself or to be herself. They are to support, they are to strengthen, they are to nourish, but not to impose their ideas, not to give the shoulds and should-nots. They are not to create slaves.
But that’s what parents all over the world go on doing: their whole effort is to fulfill their ambitions through the child. Of course nobody has been ever able to fulfill his ambitions, so every parent is in a turmoil. He knows the death is coming close by every day, he can feel the death is growing bigger and bigger and life is shrinking, and his ambitions are still unfulfilled, his desires are still not realized. He knows that he has been a failure. He is perfectly aware that he will die with empty hands — just the way he had come, with empty hands, he will go.
Now his whole effort is how to implant his ambitions into the child. He will be gone, but the child will live according to him. What he has not been able to do, the child will be able to do. At least through the child he will fulfill certain dreams. It is not going to happen. All that is going to happen is the child will remain unfulfilled as the parent and the child will go on doing the same to his children. This goes on and on from one generation to another generation. We go on giving our diseases; we go on infecting children with our ideas which have not proved valid in our own lives…
You say: THEY HAVE MADE MY BEING HERE POSSIBLE.
Be thankful for that, but there is no need to feel guilty.
SO HOW CAN I TURN FROM THEM?
There is no need to turn from them, but there is no need either to follow them. Go on loving them. When you meditate, after each meditation pray to the existence that “Something of my meditativeness should reach to my parents. Be prayerful for them, be loving to them, but don’t follow them. That won’t help you or them.
You say: WHAT DO I OWE TO MY PARENTS?
You owe this: that you have to be yourself. You owe this: that you have to be blissful, that you have to be ecstatic, that you have to become a celebration unto yourself, that you have to learn to laugh and rejoice. This is what you owe to them: you owe to them enlightenment. Become enlightened like Gautam the Buddha and then go to your parents to share your joy. Right now what can you do? Right now nothing is possible. Right now you can only pray. So I am not saying turn away from them, I am saying don’t follow them, and this is the only way you can be of some help to them. They have helped you physically, you have to help them spiritually. That will be the only way to repay them.
This is an excerpt from the transcript of a public discourse by Osho in Buddha Hall, Shree Rajneesh Ashram, Pune.
I Am That – Talks on the Isha Upanishad
Chapter title: Absolute Love, Absolute Freedom
16 October 1980 am in Buddha Hall
Osho has spoken on ‘childrens, parents, parenting, gratitude, love’ in many of His discourses. More on the subject can be referred to in the following books/discourses: