There’s a book by Rudyard Kipling called “Kim.”
A young orphan boy grows up in the shadows of the himalayas during some of the greatest political intrigues of the late 1800s. We learn of political struggles between the British Empire, the Hind, the Punjab, Afghans, Tibet, and even the Russians.
Mark Twain claimed to read the book at least once a year, it’s that good.
Here’s some excerpts from the very end of the book, where an old Kulu woman of Saharunpore tells us how the old and the young live together.
We who go down to the burning-ghats clutch at the hands of those coming up from the River of Life with full water-jars, yes, brimming water-jars. … It is true that the old eat the young daily.
Mothers have not the wisdom of our years. If a child cries they say the heavens are falling. Now a grandmother is far enough separated from the pain of bearing and the pleasure of giving the breast to consider whether a cry is wickedness pure of the wind.
When one cannot dance in the festival one must e’en look out of the window, and grandmothering takes all a woman’s time.
I watched my father make his way to the “burning-ghats” in his own way. I’ve also seen neighbors and friends about my age doing the same thing with their parents. It’s our turn to help our parents in this transition. And it can feel as if they are feeding upon us. How wrong is this, that we also fed upon them for many of our first years?
What strikes me about Kipling’s words, beyond their insight, is also how much they tell us about the strength of family relationships for that time, that place.
Consider the popular movie, Crazy Rich Asians. The underlying theme is the strength of the family, the responsibilities of keeping everything working properly. The father is never in the movie, ostensibly because he’s off taking care of the empire. It is also the basis upon which the heroine is evaluated by the mother.
Family relationship ARE important. It’s critical to have a baby, a mom AND a dad, and then some grandparents nearby. We’ve been losing sight of this for many years, and it’s something many people never think about.
Hearing Kipling’s thoughts on the subject reminded me to think about it again. And to thank all those families out there that still have all their parts. Money doesn’t matter. The health of the family does matter. Love holds it all together. And it’s the best way to grow the future.
Finally, consider what Kim and others say whenever something annoying happens.
It’s all one.