Written by Titus Ho
Edited by Eunice Tan
“Home is where the heart is”
Since primary school, this phrase has been frequently brought to my attention. This is due to my friends uttering this saying to one another as well as through the watching of videos and the reading of news.
Oftentimes, I would take little notice of this adage, for I simply thought of it as a cliché. Hence, I felt that there is no need to dwell much on this. I would “enhance” this maxim by adding to it my own opinions and thoughts. “After all, isn’t the heart technically supposed to be in the body?”
Growing up exposed to different people taught me to expand my understanding of things. Most of my friends rarely spent time with their families but socialise with other friends instead. They would find it surprising that I hardly joined them for their social gatherings which would interfere with my family time. These friends were usually the ones who find it a hassle to spend time with their own families. I wondered what is causing my friends to take little interest in spending quality time with their families. The more I thought about this issue, the more I figured out that it isn’t surprising after all.
In this fast-paced modern world, most individuals are so busy pursuing their materialistic dreams that it becomes the controlling factor of their lives. They would exhaust every ounce of their energies pushing themselves towards accomplishing their dreams. But in doing so, family relationships are being “put in the back seat”. One might think that this issue is of no far-reaching repercussion and would not have a great impact on society. Sadly, this is not the case.
The whole problematic cycle begins with children being tended to by childcare/student care centres while both of their parents are busy making money and carving out a career for themselves. Their “primary home” isn’t one that is occupied by the whole family, but by teachers and childcare providers. Children are often left to their own devices and deprived of parental attention. This leads to them not knowing the true meaning of what familial love is, for whatever familial love they know of is a twisted version.
Admittedly, as children mature into youths/young adults, some parents might begin to make an extra effort to show care and love to their kids. Unfortunately, these youths/young adults, being accustomed to being loved and nurtured by “professional care-givers”, find their parents’ acts of kindness and concern rather affected and insincere. Family meals and reunions are deemed as trivial matters, for these are something unusual or out-of-the-norm for them. Such youths/young adults are rarely seen at home, for they see no importance to coming back home.
Finally, when these youths/young adults become parents themselves, they would unfortunately follow in the footsteps of their parents. Seeing how their parents have attained an affluent lifestyle from pursuing their economic goals, they would also desire to maintain the same standard of living. So much so that these adults would have no qualms placing their own aged parents into old folks’ homes, as they have no time or energy to look after them. There is no sense of filial piety or familial love for their parents as they have not been able to experience these when they were children. Sadly, this cycle keeps repeating, resulting in the home being just a place for the basic needs of eating, showering, and sleeping. There is not much interaction between family members, and this causes family relationships to grow more distant.
However, we can do something to put a stop to this vicious cycle. The pursuing of our dreams is important, but more so is our family. There must be a balance to manage these two aspects, for a family is there to support one another which is instrumental for an individual to better achieve his/her dreams.
The presence of family is crucial for one’s mental & emotional growth. A family is always there to cheer and encourage, especially during difficulties. A family is your home where you can find refuge in times of distress, and to give you a listening ear when you need it.
Indeed, the home or the family is where the heart lies.
A revised version of this article is available on Innovative Times, a homeschooler run ezine, at Home is Where the Heart Is (updated). Do be sure to check it out!THG’s Editorial Staff