Written by Helen Man, Translated by Kaylee Ho
Freeloading Adult Children
A survey reported that about 30% of adults in China, namely the “freeloading adult children,” currently live off their parents’ meager pension. They are spendthrifts who shamelessly and even violently demand money from their parents.
Several years ago, in Suzhou, the senior Cui couple had nowhere to live but to rent a garage to live in after giving their house to their newlywed and only son, Cui the junior. When Cui the junior and his wife began to have a steady income, they forgot about their parents and never visited them when they were sick. The elderly couple wanted to get their house back for retirement, but their son strongly refused and even argued with his parents. The elderly couple brought the case to the court. Finally, the judge ordered the son to return to the house and immediately vacate his parents’ residence.
Chinese people believed in “raising children to prepare for aging.” Now they have to “save foraging to avoid their children.”
“Laopiao” (Senior Drifters)
In China, 60-70% of children under the age of 2 and 40% over the age of 3 are cared for by their grandparents who have left their hometowns and come to the cities where their children work. They are labeled as “senior drifters.” They have become 24/7 babysitters, grocery shoppers, cooks, and cleaning maids. They are lonely in an unfamiliar city, tolerating their children’s negative attitude due to generation gap issues and differences in parenting methods or spending habits. Often they are worried about where to retire and being a burden to their children when they become too old to take care of their children’s families.
Children who have “senior drifters” at home must be considerate and grateful for their parents’ hard work. They should be gentle and patient in speeches and grateful in their actions. They need to teach their little children to respect their grandparents and help their senior parents integrate into the community. If feasible, let the elderly take a day off or go out with the family on weekends.
Being ungrateful to parents can hurt the elderly the most. In today’s society, children who are disrespectful and unfilial to their parents are obvious: contempt, bad attitudes, intimidation, and stealing their parents’ pension benefits. How unfortunate!
Christian Faith & Filial Piety
Some Chinese people who don’t know much about Christianity mistakenly believe that Christianity opposes filial piety since they do not bow before their parents and relatives. In fact, true filial piety is the act of caring for, respecting, and supporting parents while they are alive, rather than paying homage to them after they have passed away.
In fact, Christianity places great emphasis on filial piety. The fifth of the Ten Commandments declares: “Honor your father and your mother, so that you may live long in the land the LORD your God is giving you.” (Exodus 20:12 NIV) The New Testament also states: “Children, obey your parents in the Lord, for this is right. ‘Honor your father and mother’—which is the first commandment with a promise— ‘so that it may go well with you and that you may enjoy long life on the earth.’” (Ephesians 6:1-3)
Also, the Lord Jesus himself has left us the best example: even when Jesus was crucified, in the midst of great pain, he still cared about his mother Mary and entrusted her to his disciples: “Woman, here is your son.” And he said to the disciple, “Here is your mother.” (John 19:26-27) From this, we can see that Christianity is indeed a faith that requires us to honor God first, honor our parents, and love our neighbor as ourselves.
True Filial Piety
- Repay kindness and support your parents.
In Chinese culture, children who fulfill filial piety must at least support their parents and obey the law. If they disobey the law, they will shame their parents.
Christian filial piety goes a step further because the Bible says: “May your father and mother rejoice; may she who gave you birth be joyful!” (Proverbs 23:25). Making parents joyful includes caring for and honoring them. The Bible also commands: “Children, obey your parents in the Lord, for this is right.” (Ephesians 6:1). Therefore, if parents ask their children to act against the Bible, the children should not blindly obey their parents in unrighteousness.
- Show care by frequent visits.
As a child, you should always visit your parents, talk to them on the phone, and teach your children to care about the elderly. Try to take time out to accompany the elderly on trips.
- Be encouraging and respectful.
Please remember that your parents are old. So be patient and respectful; don’t blame them too much for their stubbornness or mistakes but be kind and cheerful.
Speak encouragement, praise, and affirmation to your parents, especially in front of your spouse and relatives, so your elderly can feel your love and respect.
Encourage parents to develop various interests and expand their social circles, such as participating in church senior groups, community activities, etc. If possible, please teach the elderly to use the computer: to watch the news from various places on the internet, to know the world without going out, and to train their brains to be flexible.
- Be caring and pay attention to the elderly’s health
Children should pay attention to the safety of their parent’s homes. Set up emergency facilities for them. I once knew an elderly lady who lived alone and was injured at home but couldn’t call for help and died in the end. It’s a pity.
Pay attention to the health and mental status of your parents. If your parents have chronic diseases, make sure that your parents take medicine on time and have regular physical examinations.
When elderly parents have health problems, they usually don’t want to trouble their children, and they simply take some over-the-counter medicine and become very ill.
- Find the right long-term care for elderly parents.
If you can’t afford to stay home to provide long-term care for your elderly parents, hire an aide or send them to a good nursing home with their consent. You should visit and care for them often and teach your children to do the same so that you have no regrets in the future.
- Give the best of life to parents – lead parents to trust the Lord.
Life is short. However, death is only a door into eternal life. Accepting Jesus Christ can determine your eternal destiny. The Bible clearly declares: “Whoever believes in the Son has eternal life, but whoever rejects the Son will not see life, for God’s wrath remains on them.” (John 3:36) Faith in Jesus gives you the assurance of eternal life, and the Holy Spirit will also help us all the time. Therefore, we can live with meaning, joy, and hope.
Here’s a true story: An old man, who had been refusing to believe in Jesus for years, was very sick. When he saw his daughter kneeling and sobbing in front of his hospital bed. The old man asked, “I’m not dead yet. Why are you crying?” The daughter said desperately: “How can I not cry? I will not see my father in eternity. The old man burst into tears, and God was able to turn his heart of stone into a heart of flesh. He accepted the salvation of Jesus Christ.
Dear readers, I hope you can trust the Lord and lead your parents to do the same. This is true filial piety in eternity.