The matter – or is it the question – of parental love has come to fore, lately. What is it really? What is it intended for? How is it shown? How far does it go? These are admittedly queries that are neither readily fathomed nor that easily answered. Considering that love per se is not only a complicated reality, a parental love is even more complex in significance, implications and consequences. But this does not mean that parental love in particular, could not be somehow explained as to its nature as “love”, and as to its qualification as “parental”. These eminent human realities are more empirical than academic. And it is in this context that the answers to the above questions asked, have to be proffered.
For a start, so that “love” is real and true, it must be altruistic. This means that the affection, care and concern that go therewith, should be in favor of someone loved other than the one loving. Otherwise, it would be but self-love which is not only egoistic and selfish, but also repulsive to everybody else. This is why love that is qualified as “parental” cannot but be also devotion, solicitude and attention from a father and/or mother in favor of the child. The truth is that there is nothing more dear and endearing on earth than the love of a parent for his/her child.
The more concrete and practical question to answer is the goal or finality of parental love – something that definitely goes beyond a parent providing food, shelter and clothing for his/her child, although such beneficial agenda are not only expected but also necessary. Distinctly much more important and significant than such admittedly gratifying expression or parental love, this has essentially something to do with the child in his/her dimensions as an individual person and as a social being.
Briefly, parental love cannot but be understood and acted upon, firstly, for the correct information, subsequently, for the proper formation and, ultimately, for the sound transformation of the child – as a continuous and consistent parental duty. Briefly and plainly: Information refers to teaching the child what is right, proper and true. Formation is molding the character, the value system and behavioral pattern of the same child. Transformation is making the child ever more conscious of keeping his/her human dignity, of not simply concerned with depending her/his rights but the more so, with complying with his/her obligations.
In other words, it is certainly not parental love to spoil a child, to let this do what he/she wants, to make the same think that she/he is over and above everybody and everything, that he/she is the world! In such a psychological and emotional framework, the child grows to be a big problem to the parent, a real danger to others, a big liability of society. And this is a big pity.
It is rather easy to be a parent, but parenting is definitely much harder. If giving birth to a child is painful, truth to say, the latter’s information, formation and transformation dutifully undertaken by the parent is a thousand and one more painful – and demanding! But that is the right way, that is the truth.
January 27, 2010