During an interesting discussion with my colleagues, a thought-provoking issue came up. The demographics of the group of colleagues was an interesting mix, varying widely with regards to the age groups. The elderly obviously think we’re a lost generation, and a very selfish one too at that.
One of the elderly in the group passed a remark on how we (the younger generation) are always broke; whether or not we are employed and usually getting paid pretty well. They asked why are we always broke? Okay not every young person is always broke but you will have to agree with me that at most times we struggle to make it through the month after pay day. That’s when one of the younger people in the group raised an interesting point…
Maybe some of the young people are always broke because as soon as you start working you are expected to pay back a looooot of people that helped in your upbringing. If it’s not your parents expecting you to pay them back for raising you and putting you through school. Then it’s your mother’s aunt who put your mother through school so that she could get educated and put you through school; now you have to pay for their grandchildren’s education. Okay…maybe these are extreme examples, but I’m sure you know of similar stories.
So, do we come into this world already drowning in debt? Are we brought into this world with the obligation to pay off some sort of debt we did not even actively acquire?
There are things I’ve heard a couple of times from some parents. Things such as “I raised now you must pay me back”. I don’t know…I think no child is asked to be born therefore no children should have the burden or obligation of paying back their parents for raising them.
The desire to honor and take care of your parents should be one that comes from the child because they are grateful and appreciative for all their parents have done for them. Your children’s dreams should not be put on hold because they are taking care of the debt of being raised and having being taken to school. Yes it would be stupid, to say the least, to live a lavish life while your parents back home are starving. The issue is contextual really.
I think, moving forward as young parents, let’s save for our retirement. Let’s plan ahead and make sure that our children grow up not wanting for much. And also, we must work to ensure that we are not so poor that when are kids start working we immediately feel like it’s payback time.