Global Day of Parents

sarvatIrthamayI maataa sarvadevamayaH pitaa
maataraM pitaraM tasmaat sarvayatnena pUjayet

Mother is (the embodiment) of all pilgrimages, father is (the embodiment) of all deities. Hence, mother and father are to be revered with all efforts.

Old Sanskrit Shloka

Parents are the bedrock of society. Without parents to nurture a child, physically, mentally, spiritually, socially and psychologically, we may well have been living in isolation! They say a parent a born along with the child and so the importance of a parent in the child’s life, especially in the early years can’t be emphasised enough.

Being a parent is the most important job in the world. The first 1,000 days of life is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to build a baby’s brain and shape a child’s ability to learn and grow. Parents want to give their children the best they can. Yet, many have no choice but to work long hours, often away from home, to support their families. Parents need time to give their child the best start in life. Parenting is probably one of the most fulfilling, if not the most demanding job we will ever have! The responsibility to care for another tiny human being who depends on you and your partner for their very survival is immense, but it is something we humans do so quite instinctively. After all, the urge to procreate is in our DNA, though there are exceptions to the rule.

A parent is a child’s first hero. A girl’s first love is her father and when she looks for partners as she grows up, she will look for a man like her father if she has been brought up in a loving environment and the opposite of her father if her father had been abusive growing up. Likewise, for a boy, his mother is the first woman in his life. He will probably look for a woman like her when he is looking to get into a relationship and will most likely compare women he meets with his mother. Again, a loving mother will inspire him to look for similar qualities in his partner and an abusive and non-maternal mother figure will make him look for someone with the exact opposite qualities.

Parents nurture their children throughout their lives, guiding them, sometimes invisibly. They play multiple roles in their children’s lives – as teachers, as coaches, as psychologists, as friends and as parents.

Because parents such a huge role in everybody’s lives the United Nations decided to observe June 1, that today as the Global Day of Parents. This day was proclaimed in 2012 and honours parents throughout the world. The Global Day provides an opportunity to appreciate all parents in all parts of the world for their selfless commitment to children and their lifelong sacrifice towards nurturing this relationship.

Emphasising the critical role of parents in the rearing of children, the Global Day of Parents recognises also that the family has the primary responsibility for the nurturing and protection of children. For the full and harmonious development of their personality, children should grow up in a family environment and in an atmosphere of happiness, love and understanding.

The central goals of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development adopted by the world leaders in 2015, focus on ending poverty, promoting shared economic prosperity, social development and people’s well-being while protecting the environment. Families remain at the centre of social life ensuring the well-being of their members, educating and socializing children and youth and caring for young and old.

In particular, family-oriented policies can contribute to the achievement of Sustainable Development Goals 1 to 5 relating to doing away with poverty and hunger; ensuring healthy lives and promoting of well-being for all ages; ensuring educational opportunities throughout the lifespan and achieving gender equality.

So why celebrate such a day? Days like this reminds us to respect others. As a child, you are taught to respect others, especially our elders, but I believe that you have to respect everyone, irrespective of the fact that they are older than you. Our parents have been with us through thick and thin and have been there for us in every stage of our life. A parental unit is not just a mother or a father, it is the two individuals who have brought you to life, so a day like this showcases the other parent who may not be taking an active interest in their child’s life, but on days like this, they can spend some time with their child or vice versa and learn from each other. Parenting is like playing a game of tag. It is hard going it alone and so when you are a parental unit, you have to recognise that both partners play an equal part in bringing up their children.

So take some time today to talk to your parentsm, your first teacher and nurturer and tell them how much you love them and appreciate all that they have gone through to bring you up to be the person you are today. And if you are a parent yourself, give yourself a pat on the back for a job well done!