CHICAGO, IL –
Happy Eid to all our dear readers! Congratulations on completing the month of Ramadan.
God accept all your works. Amen.
On these days of Eid, many of us spend much time with family, and deservedly so. They are our lifeblood and cornerstones. Getting family right is of paramount importance to our well-being in both worlds.
And getting family right starts with our parents.
Filial piety is one of those topics that seems cut and dry.There is consensus as to the great magnitude of getting that aspect of our lives right in any tradition worth its salt.
What is being dutiful to one’s parents, though?
Is being dutiful serving them in physical tasks like mowing their lawn (if they are privileged to have one), taking out their trash (we all have trash), running errands for them, and the like?
It certainly could be. Those are all very worthy tasks to take care of for mom or dad.
Be that as it may, there is another level of filial piety in my estimation.
Within the word succession we find the word success. When it comes to family matters, I do not believe there is any coincidence in that neat tidbit.
Successful families properly undertake the hard-to-get-right transition between generations. They think about succession.
These successful families are rare, however.
Most families are ill-prepared for the transition to the next generation of family leadership and suffer from arrested development or mutiny. Either way, sooner or later the result is the degeneration (pun intended) of the family structure into a diaspora of individualism among its members.
This diaspora can be a literal, physical dispersal of the members of a family across the nation or globe in an attempt to escape the anarchy and distress that ensues from a family breakdown at the point of succession.
It can also be a metaphorical dispersal in which family members withdraw to their own internal worlds where they can be themselves and place order in their lives – order that should be coming from the family unit, but is not.
In this case, family members may be close in proximity – perhaps they even live together – but very distant in reality. They can grow apart just as quickly as those who move to distant lands.
The key to proper succession, and, thus, the success of a family and institution of their core values and competencies into a new generation of leadership is properly caring for one’s parents.
There is no success possible without that matter being resolved first and foremost. I believe the next level of filial piety lies in that resolution.
There is more to be said on this topic, but, for now, enjoy this last day of Eid and let’s regroup next week, God willing.