What is the first thing that comes to mind when you think of debt? If you live in the same city as I do and own a detached home, the first thing that may come to mind is your mortgage. If you’re a student, maybe its your tuition, and if you’re a business owner then maybe its your line of credit.
Most debt is usually taken out as an investment. You borrow money now in hopes that someway down the road you will be able to pay it back and get something in return. The one thing that is certain is that all debt must be paid back at some point.
When thinking about debt, there is another type of debt that may not come to mind right away, and that debt is the debt owed to your parents.
Depending on where you are from, the average cost to raising a kid until they are 18 years old is roughly $250,000 – $300,000. Financially, that is a good chunk of money. Just imagine if your parents told you that you had to start paying them back for the cost of raising you for 18 years with interest. That repayment plan would probably take a very, very long time. Thankfully, that’s not how it works in the grand scheme of things.
Aside from a large financial cost, there are all the other costs that go into raising a kid. The time spent with them, the sleepless nights, the emotional energy, and all the other intangibles that can’t be financially measured. It is hard to measure the the value of these intangibles, but their worth is probably priceless.
The older I get, the more I realize how much my parents have done for us kids. It also makes me wonder, how can a son or daughter ever pay their parents back for everything they have done for them? Is taking care of your parents when they get older enough? I’d say no. That is not enough, that is just the least you can do for your parents when they are old.
You could pay them back for how much it cost them to raise you, but that’s not really the point. Plus by the time you can pay them back, they probably don’t really need that money anymore. If you ever want to see a great example of what unconditional love is, you don’t have to look much further than the love parents have for their children. They do so much for their kids with the hopes that their kids will have a good life in the future.
That’s why I refer to the debt owed to your parents as the eternal debt. They make a huge investment in you, and never expect that “debt” to be repaid. That is what makes this debt so different than other debts.
So back to the question how can a son or daughter pay back their parents for everything they have done for them?
I’ve come to the realization that most we can’t ever really pay them back no matter how much we might try. The best thing you can do is to be appreciate and grateful that you have loving parents. Love them back the same way they do you, and usually that’s more than they could ever want in return.
Instead of paying them back, pay it forward instead. Pay it forward to the kids you have one day, or if you don’t have kids pay it forward to your nieces, your nephews, your friends and your loved ones. Pay it forward so that the love that you received from your parents gets shared and spread ten fold. Maybe then, that eternal debt will finally be repaid in full.
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