Why do you want to harvest where you did not sow?

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Why do you want to harvest where you did not sow?
A father plays with his child

By Deborah Mirembe

In many societies, the death of a parent often leaves children and the surviving spouse vulnerable, relying on the goodwill and support of extended family members.

However, it is disheartening to observe that, more often than not, this support is glaringly absent. Many relatives shirk their responsibilities, leaving orphans and widows to fend for themselves in a world that is already harsh and unforgiving.

The prevalent mentality that the dead should take their belongings with them, severing ties with the living, is both cruel and unjust.

This abandonment forces children to grow up struggling with a single parent, usually a mother, who must bear the brunt of economic and emotional hardships alone.

These children face a double tragedy: the loss of a parent and the betrayal of extended family members who choose not to shoulder any responsibility.

What is truly surprising, and indeed infuriating, is the behaviour of these same relatives once the struggling family member starts to succeed. After years of indifference and neglect, they emerge from the shadows to claim kinship and share in the glory.

They boast of their prayers and supposed unwavering belief in the individual's potential, conveniently forgetting the days when their help was desperately needed and conspicuously absent.

This hypocrisy becomes even more pronounced during significant life milestones such as graduations and marriages.

Relatives who contributed nothing to the individual’s upbringing or education suddenly appear, eager to offer congratulations and even demand recognition in graduation speeches.

During marriage negotiations, they often assert the right to the largest portion of the dowry, arguing that they have a stake in the individual’s success despite their lack of involvement or support.

This behaviour raises important questions about the ethics of familial relationships and responsibilities. Why do family members feel entitled to reap benefits where they have not sown any seeds of support?

Why do they believe they deserve to "harvest" the fruits of success when they have neither cultivated the soil nor tended to the growth of the individual?

The answer lies in a profound lack of accountability and a misguided sense of entitlement.

These relatives fail to recognise that true family support involves being present during times of need and offering both emotional and financial assistance.

It means celebrating successes with a clean conscience, knowing that you played a part in achieving them.

The societal expectation that extended family members should automatically benefit from an individual’s success, regardless of their contribution, needs to be challenged.

Recognition and rewards should be reserved for those who genuinely invest their time, effort, and resources in nurturing and supporting their relatives.

In conclusion, the narrative of absent relatives emerging only to bask in the success of those they neglected is a troubling one. It highlights the need for a shift in societal values towards a more just and accountable system of family support.

Only then can we ensure that those who truly deserve recognition and rewards receive them and that the burdens of loss and hardship are shared more equitably among family members.

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