In examining this statement, one must clarify the word 'important'. What is this
importance? In which area is importance most necessary? Are grandparents
important in these areas? ('Importance' is clarified here as 'significance'.)
In this harsh world, where everyone has to work for a living to survive,
provision of material wants is important to keep up with the daily cost of
living. This is especially so for parents with kids.
Young people may chafe at the
restrictions of authority and feel that the powers in control of their daily
life do not understand their problems and needs. But when they mature as adults
(physically, morally and emotionally), they realise the tasks of society's
leaders are to provide them with secure jobs, to ensure a decent standard of
living and to meet their aspirations. An orderly and peaceful society with
honest leaders will be what they will appreciate to deliver the goods.
In this light, grandparents do not fulfil the bill of providing this
political and business leadership. Most of them will be retired and do not hold
full-time jobs. Therefore, they will not be important in this critical area (the
exception will be those who are still working as important leaders).
Parents are, however, important people in society. They are the economic
providers of their family. This is especially so for fathers who are usually the
breadwinners. However, nowadays, with the increasing cost of living, mothers
find they have to work to supplement the household income to pay the monthly
bills. In this sense, their role may be even more important than the fathers as
they are also household keepers.
Fathers usually do not do the housework. Many mothers without maids have the
thankless task of doing household chores like cleaning and cooking for the
family. Often, it is she who is the main source of inspiration for the children.
A mother is usually more accessible to the children. She provides earthly advice
and the much needed emotional support. It is usually mothers who look into the
nitty-gritty of their children's education and welfare.
This is not to deny the role of fathers. Many fathers too are transmitters of
good values and help guide their children' s lives. However, in this fast-paced
society and a host of rising expectations, fathers are often caught in the rat
race and may have less time for the family.
This is where grandparents come in to fulfil a vital role. Very often, they
have already retired and are in their golden years. Their children have all
grown up. \Kith time to spare, they are the ideal people to fulfil the role of
caregivers and moral advisors to their grandchildren.
Many parents bemoan the fact that maids
do not provide the ideal form of guidance for their children. However, they
themselves have little time at the end of a long working day to provide the much
needed interaction with their own children. This is especially so on weekdays.
Grandparents take on the nurturing role which many parents are sorely lacking
in providing. They have the time to provide a listening ear to the children,
fetch them to and from school, ensure that they have proper nutrition and rest,
and help cultivate good habits.
It is the area of transmission of moral values that grandparents are
especially important. They have gone through the hardships of life and are
wiser. Being benign authority figures whom
the grandchildren are familiar with, their advice will be more readily accepted
by the children.
I remember particular occasions when I saw grandparents lovingly bring out
their grandchildren for meals or outings. I remember clearly the love, care and
consideration for their charges which maids often fail to provide. Hence,
grandparents fulfil this important role in bringing up a generation of healthy
and responsible kids.
Grandparents play an important role in society, especially in certain areas.
But to say that they are the most important people in society is to deny the
role of the parents, politicians, business leaders and other important figures
in society. Hence, the statement cannot hold.