In sum, our parents are our forebears. They are our first teachers, providers, and carers. Celebrating them is not out of place. Let’s do it more often as the joys, sorrows, sacredness and mysteries of parenthood roll on!


It is very difficult to avoid worn-out clichés that often adorn children’s descriptions of their parents. Best dad and mum in the world! Who wouldn’t say so? It is common; very common!

Unfortunately, it is not in our gift to choose the families we are born into. That’s one of the mysteries of life. The only option we have is, probably, to make the best of the biological parents we are allocated to or miss the mark. The word, allocation, is not used lightly here.

While the world might be itching towards designer babies, the possibility of designer parents remains a perpetual impossibility, if not an unfathomable illusion. The closest chance we have towards cracking this impossibility is to attempt unpicking if we would choose to be born into our current families, if we had a choice. While the former is an illusion, the latter can illuminate the joys, sorrows, sacredness, and mysteries of parenthood.

Through parenthood we are invited to participate in the art and act of creation with the Creator, if you believe there is one. We bring forth the new and, until recently with the advancement of science and technology, the unexpected. The period between conception and birth, hitherto, remained a mystery; and to a large extent, it is still mysterious.

If you were born before the early 1980s, most of our parents went through this mysterious uncertainty with many familiar questions. Would it be a boy or a girl? Maternal mortality was also high. Therefore, would everything be alright with mum? It must have taken a lot to go through the anxieties. We don’t and shouldn’t envy them. And in the end, many accepted what they received through the process with faith in Chiwetera (God bringeth forth).

…our parents consciously or unconsciously aspire to live and extend themselves through us because they exist in us. We are literally their seeds and seeds can only produce what is seeded in them. That’s the true meaning of longevity and legacy, as sustainability, embedded in and expressed through Amaeshi (my lineage shall not end).


Through this faith, many of our parents accepted us for who we were and are – a gift in which they, as co-givers and recipients, rarely withdrew and withdraw from. Like the seasoned farmer, they watered, fed, and nurtured us to the best of their abilities. Even in our profligate prodigality, they tolerated and tolerate us in the hope that our tomorrow will be better than our today and our yesterday. In this hope, also, lies the quintessential desire of being a conscientious progenitor.

As long as we exist, our parents consciously or unconsciously aspire to live and extend themselves through us because they exist in us. We are literally their seeds and seeds can only produce what is seeded in them. That’s the true meaning of longevity and legacy, as sustainability, embedded in and expressed through Amaeshi (my lineage shall not end).

Despite their desires, many keep an open mind in the hope that man proposes but God disposes. They allow us to be and find our place and space in the world. In so doing, they empower us to realise ourselves in ways unique to us and our capabilities. We create our own worlds in a world that is not our home. We are just passers-by; it is a journey – another set of common clichés.

Nevertheless, what counts is the present. That’s the only thing we have. Yesterday is gone and tomorrow will never come. The only reality we have is the transient now. To appreciate the present, we need to be fully conscious of it. That’s the essence of mindfulness. Unfortunately, many distractions today prevent us from relishing the fullness of the here and now. In the end, we remain aloof and absent-minded.

One way to overcome this dangerous aloofness and absent-mindedness is to recognise our family members in the truest sense of it. Celebrating our parents and siblings in their present and presence might be the best gift we can offer them. It gives joy and peace to their souls. Many of us, unfortunately, do it at their death. Then, they may no longer be with us in truth. Even if they are, we may not notice them in flesh and blood.

Good parents often find a way to stand again, no matter the odds. And when they do, they stand on the shoulders of their children, who once stood on their shoulders. In some cultures and traditions, it is still the duty of children to take care of their parents.


We live only to die. And as the German philosopher, Martin Heidegger, put it, we are beings unto death. However, in some faiths, it is only through death that we live. But that opens up another conundrum: What if there is no life after here? Even if there is life afterwards, shall we continue as a family then? Shall we meet to part no more? Is our encounter with our parents and siblings only an earthly affair? What happens when we are no longer here? Unfortunately, these are known unknowns. And we may not know the answer to these questions because they are not in our gift to know.

Returning to questions beyond us, now and then, is only a confirmation of the fallibility of our humanity. Despite the rosy picture of parenthood, it remains a crooked journey of ups and downs. Good parents often find a way to stand again, no matter the odds. And when they do, they stand on the shoulders of their children, who once stood on their shoulders. In some cultures and traditions, it is still the duty of children to take care of their parents. This reversal of roles characteristically reflects the cycle of our infirmed and fragile humanity in search of perfection.

Good children are prayed for and blessed. Nwa gi mekwaara gi (may your children do same to you). As we are a blessing to our parents through our births, they in turn become our blessings through their experience and wisdom. From them, we can simultaneously learn both how to live and how not to live. We acknowledge their mistakes, learn from them, and hope to be better. In so doing, we continue to refine and purify the quality of our lineage.

In sum, our parents are our forebears. They are our first teachers, providers, and carers. Celebrating them is not out of place. Let’s do it more often as the joys, sorrows, sacredness and mysteries of parenthood roll on!

Kenneth Amaeshi is a public philosopher and professor of business and sustainable development at the University of Edinburgh. He twits @kenamaeshi and can be reached via kenneth.amaeshi@ed.ac.uk.