If you were raised in a coloured or African home and you grew up seeing your parents work hard to give you a good life, you are probably one of the many with a desire to take care of them in their old age. It is our pride as African children to see our parents happily retire and rest from a lifetime of work without having to worry about finances. For some of us, ‘adulting’ hasn’t quite turned out as we hoped, and we can’t yet afford this dream but there are other ways you can show your parents you love them that doesn’t require bucket loads of money. Here are a few.
Our parents miss us, whether we drive them crazy or not. I believe they actually miss yelling at us as kids, lol. They may even be quite busy because retirement doesn’t mean not doing anything. but they miss our presence. So, making out time to just sit and listen to them or ‘hang’ is something they will always cherish. Even if you can’t always physically be there, a phone call that isn’t rushed will do the trick. Allow them to talk as long as they need to. Also, give them updates. Ask for their thoughts on things happening in your life. It will make them feel useful and valued and not redundant in your life.
Pick up the Tab
You may not be able to fully fund their life, but you can pick up the tab on their expenses here and there. Send them fruits, buy their groceries for a week or a month. Pay for their light bill, buy them gas. It may not seem like much but it’s really the thought that counts and will ease the financial burden, no matter how small. If you can afford it, you can send them a monthly stipend. It may not be much, but they will appreciate it.
Run errands for them
They may have a driver or house help or just someone that runs around for them, but you could opt to do this once in a while. If they have an appointment, you could drive them or accompany them. Pick up their laundry. Go with them to the market, to the salon or to their EXCO or society meetings, if they’re part of any. Parents are always proud to show off their children to their peers, or to anyone for that matter. It’s another way of spending quality time with them.
This may seem a bit ‘oyibo’ but who doesn’t love to be taken out on a date. Take them to a nice restaurant or even a movie (child-friendly lol). Pick up the bill and just generally have a good time. I promise you, they’ll love it.
It’s easy to get caught up in the busyness of your life and find yourself procrastinating on all the things you said you would do for your folks. Or beating yourself up because you can’t do the one grand thing you wanted to do for them but it doesn’t have to that one huge expensive gesture like buying them a house or car. The little things count and you can start from there.