A few weekends back, I was at a wedding where I got to meet up with some old college friends. I was excited to see them and catch up on what was going on in their lives. It seems one of them has had a pretty interesting past few months moving out to the Big Apple and working on something that she is really passionate about.
We got to talking about all of that, and somehow the conversation took a turn for the bad. She got really upset (teary eyed!) as she explained to me her frustrations with… aunties. It seems that since she graduated and started working, every time an aunty asks her what she is doing in life, they didn’t really care about what they asked, they just wanted to know when she is planning on getting married. Which I guess isn’t such a big deal, because my friend does in fact want to get married one day, as soon as the right person is presented to her–but that isn’t what the aunties asked her about. They asked her about what she is currently doing in life, so she happily tells them. They, meanwhile, are trying to redirect the conversation towards what they find to be a more important subject… why aren’t you married yet?
I find it exceptionally rude that the aunties will ask one thing, but not care to hear the answer for it, and instead try to point out to my friend that she is doing something wrong by working.
And the ONLY reason I find it exceptionally rude is because it hurts my friend’s feelings. That”s the bottom line. I’m sure that the intention of the aunty is not to be rude, but in fact to show elderly, loving, concern for this poor, lost girl. BUT, the fact of the matter is that they did hurt her feelings, and that is all that matters. And unfortunately that is something that these aunties can be held accountable for on the big DOJ–Day of Judgment.
Dear aunty, when you pry into my personal life out of genuine concern–you’re offending me and hurting my feelings. I didn’t ask for your opinion about how to run my life, therefore you shouldn’t give me any advice, lest you say something that you shouldn’t say to me and then are held accountable for it on the Day of Judgment.
Dear aunty, I know I might be making a big deal out of an “isolated” incident–but it’s not isolated. Sometimes you just don’t know when to stop with the questions and advice. Why do you feel like at every stage of a girl’s life, you are more than welcome to give her your somewhat rude input about what she should be doing, when, why and how.
When she’s in high school you’ll criticize your appearances by making out loud comments about her 1) weight, 2) height 3) complexion. And then you’ll very obviously inspect her body, up and down, for the sake of your son or nephew.
When she’s in college you’ll want to know 1) why she plans on working (after her parents shelled out thousands of dollars for tuition) 2) why she picked a school “so far” from home 3) whether or not she’s learned to cook because 4) she better get married REAL soon, otherwise she’ll be a lost cause like that other girl who is 27, working and STILL without a husband.
After she’s (thank God!) gotten married, you’ll question 1) is that outfit from her mom or her mother in law? 2) did she put on some weight? 3) why is she still working 4) WHEN WILL SHE HAVE BABY ALREADY!!
Okay, so let’s say she makes it out of high school, goes to college, graduates, gets married, and within a time frame that YOU approve of she has a baby–does it end there? One can only wish– after baby number one, when is baby number two coming???
Dear aunty, all of this is none of their business. When you repeatedly ask about, in very obviously nosey ways, the inner details of our family life, you are offending an entire generation. We very often loathe speaking to you. And because you are offending us, and making us feel bad about ourselves, and making us feel like we’re doing something wrong (when more often than not, we aren’t doing anything wrong at all) you are only hurting yourself. Imagine the silliness of it all, when it’s the Day of Judgment and you’re being held back by a bunch of younger girls that you spent the last half of your life offending.
Dear aunty, don’t you remember what it felt like when you were our age and there was some other elder that always badgered and belittled you for what you were doing in life? Don’t keep the cycle going– treat us the way you had wanted to be treated. Please don’t use your age against us, and tell us that as an elder you have the “right” to know everything about our lives. And please don’t try to brainwash us into thinking that because you’re an elder you have the “right” to ask us anything.
What we all have the right to is respect and kindness.
The Prophet sal Allāhu ʻalayhi wa sallam said,
“The one who does not show respect to our elderly or mercy for our young is not from among us.”
Dear aunty, if you think that the way our generation speaks about the elderly is disrespectful, maybe it’s because none of us have been shown enough mercy. For once, when you ask about our lives–just listen to our answers and appreciate them for what they are. Don’t ask more than you should– just a simple, “How’s school?” “How’s work?” “How are your parents?” is sufficient. If we want to tell you more, when we feel comfortable, we will.