Tag Archives: Homer

Paean to Parents

parent paen-1Paean is a song of praise or tribute, an ode. It’s a very old fashioned word, derivation Greek, first used in the Iliad by Homer in reference to singing a song of praise to Hector at his funeral.

I don’t know how this word came to me. It just did. It wasn’t while I was reading old literature, but rather while I was wandering through our local park to get some fresh air. I was watching the tree branches move in the wind when I saw a young parent in front of me on the path. His new baby was in a stroller and his toddler walking beside him. They were having a discussion about the grass and trees, but the toddler needed his shoes tied and the young father bent down, patiently and carefully, and retied his laces. And I thought about how one needs so much patience, love, and concern to bring up the next generation to become caring, kind, and aware individuals.

Parenting is a real art form, one that is learned with the doing and practicing. OJT-On the Job Training. I wanted to go over to that young father and say thank you so much for being gentle with your child, for all of the time and energy that you will be spending as you reach forward into the future and teach your children how to become compassionate and conscious beings. Our biology depends on us to procreate, to have young to replace the old who die. We, as a race, need the young to continue our human endeavors. You may not be a parent but collectively we will always rely upon the young for their fresh focus and new ideas. So I did not say anything to that young man. I felt embarrassed that I as a stranger would be too intrusive on his time with his children. But I wanted him to know how thankful I was of his efforts. And when I see the mother in the market, with the three year old, who is just too tired to go on, lying face down in the aisle, and the mother scoops up that child, and wipes her eyes, and offers her a piece of bread, I want to say thank you for teaching care to your child.

So if we could all say thank you to our parents, and hold the door open for the mothers who have their hands full of groceries and children, or offer a seat on the bus or subway to the pregnant mothers, who are tired and aching, then wouldn’t we too be helping the parents raise the young to become attentive and true and thoughtful.