Wednesday, May 12, 2010

73) Teach children lessons using stories - A debt too big to repay

"My mother was a saintly woman. I owe everything to her." Lyndon B. Johnson

Recently, one of the Dailies reproduced the story of a young man and his mother. Here is an adapted version of the story, as told by the son.

My mom who had only one eye, cooked for students and teachers to support the family. I hated her because she was such an embarrassment to me when my classmates laughed at her one eye. One day, I was so angry that I shouted at her: "If you are going to make me a laughing stock, why don't you just die?" My mom did not say a word. I was oblivious of her feelings. I just wanted her out of my life. When I got old enough I left home for Singapore. Later, I married, bought my own home and had kids. I was happy with my life.

One morning, without notice, my mother appeared at my door. Until then she had kept away, although she had not seen me for many years and had not met her grandchildren. As she stood at the door, my children laughed at her and I yelled at her for coming to my home, uninvited. She left quietly.

Sometime later, I attended the School Reunion at my home town. After that, out of curiosity, I went to the old shack, which used to be my childhood home. The neighbors told me that my mother died a few days ago. I did not shed a tear until they gave me a letter, addressed to me, that she had left with them. The letter read:

"My dearest son,
I think of you all the time. I'm sorry I came to Singapore and scared your children. I was so glad when I heard that you were coming for the School Reunion. But I may not be able to get off my bed to meet you.
I'm sorry that I was a constant embarrassment to you when you were growing up. You see, when you were very little, you got into an accident and lost an eye. As a mother, I couldn't stand watching you having to grow up with one eye. So, I gave you mine. I was so proud of my son who was seeing a whole new world for me, with that eye.
With much love, Your Mother.

Once we have told our children this story and made sure that they have understood what it really meant, we could ask them a few questions, to get their thoughts on the story.
1) Did the mother do right by donating her eye to her son?
2) Should she have told her son about her sacrifice?
3) Even when her son scolded her, she did not speak up. Was that right?
4) Do they know of any children who treat their parents badly?
5) What do they think of such children?
6) With this story, would they find the courage to speak to children who disrespect
their parents?

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