During the valedictory speeches or when accepting an award, it’s custom generally to say the words…
“I’d like to thank my mum and dad for this.”
But why do we attribute so much kaha, or so much strength into emphasizing the importance of our oldies?
Well, I think with all things growing up, you tend to go with what everyone is saying. The quick and easy way out of public speaking, the road to avoidance. But there is a side to us that takes those words with a grain of salt. There is a part of us that I believe takes that seriously, and in today’s short talk I’d love to unravel why that might be.
As a young guy still with close relations with my parents, I have learnt that it’s not easier to be in their position. Growing up you always take for granted the role your parents play. It’s only really once you start working and forging your own life that you get a real clear scope on just how hard it must be to be a mum or a day. Not to mention all the other shit that goes on in our communities.
When I was a baby I was taken away from my biological parents and put into the care of my step parents. So right off the bat, there’s an extra special connection between my step parents and me around an understanding of my whakapapa, or where I’ve come from and who I have to thank for being here, and also apparently how cute I was as a baby.
Now, this Whanau took me into their care when I was 8 months old. They weren’t financially rich at the time and had two children, my big bro and older sister, to look after and teach. So right from the onset there’s a real sense of closeness and belonging that must have been really hard to manage.
Then after reaching my school years, I developed an eye allergy which basically meant that my eyes are permanently bloodshot, and id be spending my entire childhood and teenage years visiting eye specialists and consistently medicating. So that must have been a pretty shit thing for mum and dad to realize.
Going to school it became clearer that I was really interested in maths and English, and basically all of academia in general. So there must have been a point when my parents must have decided that they were going to have to set up an account for me, just in case I decided to go to University. So that’s another really massive step to take. Not many young people have that privilege or opportunity in the first place.
Then when I reached the age of twelve, I was old enough to consent to become a Whangai adopted child to my step parents. At this time there was pretty much no question as to whether or not I’d be sticking around for the long term. My parents had stuck to their commitment to look after and love me and I in return loved them as my parents, so this process was beneficial for everybody.
Coming into my first year of intermediate school was when my brother passed away. Which was a huge scare for my whole family and community. A long time passed before any sort of movement happened and it was just shit.
The thing that came from this experience though was that it reminded us of the importance of life, and it sparked a momentum with my parents. Mum, in particular, was the one who grew from that experience the most though. To really base her entire life on supporting her kids. Myself and my sister.
Those relationships took a really long time to come back and start flourishing again. Because there are no answers to grief, loss, and tragedy so close to home. Those memories are still upsetting to deal with but what’s worth celebrating is the tremendous effort and determination it took for my family to bounce back.
As a young person, I was aware of all of the things that were going on at that time. However, because I didn’t fully understand the hardship and difficulty of building a family, I didn’t truly know the heartbreak my parents must have endured. I didn’t actually appreciate how much that must have dampened their spirits.
So there’s a lot of stuff there basically is what I’m saying. There is a whole range of huge invisible miracles my parents have performed in my life which I’m slowly learning to appreciate. It’s really humbling to be able to unpack some of what they have done for me because what it does do is actually articulate the meaning behind the words.
Just learning to appreciate the many invisible favors our parents have done for us can really help us get a scope on what value the favors other people do for us actually have. If you can’t appreciate the small things people do for you then it’s almost like you’re not really deserving of getting anything.
It goes beyond manners in the sense that if you can’t say thank you for something small that somebody does for you like take your rubbish to the bin. Even if that person is doing their job, they might be having a really hard time. So it’s really important to always be mindful of appreciating the little things people do. Another reason to appreciate those things is that actually everybody has a choice, and that person is choosing to help you.
But then that works the other way too. When you do things for other people, what you’re doing is paying it forward. It shows that you care enough to go out of your way and pick up somebodies wallet that they’ve dropped, or given the lady at the bus stop the extra $1 to get on the bus, to give a homeless guy some food because he needed it more than you did.
That’s true appreciation. It doesn’t just come from nowhere. Somebody has to step up to the occasion and offer you a hand. Raise you up as a child. Pay your medical bills. Put a roof over your head. These things don’t happen naturally they’re decided by somebody. The real way to appreciate something somebody has done for you is not necessarily shouting it out on your rooftops to your neighbors but actually, sometimes it takes just being a straight up GC. But it starts by just appreciating the invisible things.
Thanks for checking in.