Sometimes we forget how tremendous of an impact our parents can have in our lives. For so many of us, once we leave the nest we fall into the routine patterns of our own lives and simultaneously forget about theirs as we get older. While holiday visits and the once-a-week phone call still means everything, oftentimes what they've done for us is taken for granted simply because of the belief that it's a parent's job to take care of their child, no matter what. In the 21st century, this is such an outdated notion because as the social norms change with the next generation, so do the dynamics of a family and the relationship between a parent and a child.
In a time where friends are seen as the true family, stepparents step in as replacements, and many kids grow up independently because of unreconcilable differences, the role of a parent comes from the most surprising places. In stark contrast to this, we also hear inspiring stories that spark hope into our hearts and remind us that unconditional love does exist, and there are some parents out there who will truly sacrifice anything and everything for their children. Their stories live on for generations and ignite flames for the torches their children will carry in the memory of what their parents have given up to truly give them a better life.
15 He Fled A War And Saved His Children’s Future
The conflict in Syria has been on everyone's radar for quite some time now and while everyone is aware that it's tearing a country apart, many don't realize that additionally, it's ripping families apart. Rather than become collateral damage of the troubled nation, on Syrian made the gut-wrenching decision to move his family out of the place they once called home. In a heartbreaking retelling he says, "When I feel nostalgic about Syria, I remember the smell of jasmine in my back garden. I remember my four best friends. We were always laughing and joking together. On Friday mornings during the summer, we’d wake up early to drive to the lake and swim. In the winter we’d play cards and smoke the water pipe. But I have to remind myself that Syria isn’t there anymore." The friends he speaks of are now scattered in other countries and one has sadly been lost to the fighting, his home is devoid of food and remains an empty reminder of what one was. However, through the tragedy of war, he found clarity and made the choice to follow in the footsteps of his brother-in-law and bring his family to America. There, they would have the freedom they needed to start again and heal from the life they left. Memories don't fade quickly, but the thought of a warm home, hot showers, and the things we so take for granted like a school bus have been enough comfort for them to create a new life. Sometimes a sacrifice comes in the form of uprooting, but a tree can always take to the earth again for better soil.
14 The Courage To Leave A Bad Marriage
It takes more strength than many of us know to walk away from a bad situation. As a mother, you face so many uncertainties and fears when it comes down to a choice between a better life for your kids, or future suffering for them and yourself. One mother from Australia was faced with that decision and ultimately made a choice that would change her children's lives, but give them the hope for a future that they needed.
When her husband began falling into the wrong habits, this now single mother had to choose -- stay or leave. By leaving, she not only protected her children but gave them a fighting chance without leaving an opening for her husband's personal demons to catch up with them.
It takes tremendous courage and bravery to raise a family on your own and this mom had those in spades to fight this battle. It's not always an experience filled with happiness and joy and oftentimes is lonely and difficult, but it will always be worth it for the smiles on their faces. "I hate being a single mom. It’s lonely. I hate that I’m playing into an Aboriginal stereotype. But ultimately my dedication is to my kids," she says, and that dedication is will ultimately give her children the life they deserve.
13 A Daughter Can Dream Because Her Mother Works
Mass marches have gone on all around the country to support Dreamers and ensure their future in the United States. One college undergrad has a message to share that differs from the opinions of most and forces us to think of not only Dreamers but the families who gave them that chance. When she was only eight years old, her mother brought her and her family to the States. After years of selling jewelry, food, and whatever else they had to survive, she decided it was time to give her kids a better chance at life and a future. Her mother had dreams of learning English and finding a job that would support them, and instead, they entered a life full of relocating and searching for work.
At 50 years old, her mother is still working and often falls ill because of all of the stress she puts on her body, and she does it all for her children.
To make sure that they have a better life, she lets life take a toll on her own. This brave young girl has a message for others, and the strength she gets from her mother in it reads clear: "Whenever I hear ‘I stand with Dreamers,’ I always think about my mom. I’m not willing to throw her under the bus. I’m not willing to be a bargaining chip to make her seem like a criminal. Everything people admire about Dreamers is because of our parents.”
12 Finding A New Mother
Unfortunately, blood doesn't always make you family and that's one lesson this brave Filipino girl learned when she left her village for a better life. Having left at such a young age meant working long hours and many days to be self-sufficient, and sadly that also leads to isolation and loneliness. This young girl learned that upon her departure and continued to struggle with meeting people and occupying her mind with something other than work and missing her family back home. Luckily, one coworker opened her heart and saw a void needing to be filled, offering the ultimate act of selflessness.
It takes a special person to be a friend, but it takes a spectacular person and a good heart to open up their own and become a mother.
"She’s like my mother away from home. She reminds me to eat, take my medicine, and get enough sleep. If she sees that I’m sad, she tells me to rest and does the work herself. It’s just nice to feel cared for. I’m not sure if I could make it without her.” Sometimes you need to lean a little on someone else, and our only wish is that everyone could experience a compassion such as this.
11 Finding Strength For Her Son After Her Father Was Gone
It's many girls' worst fear: Accidentally getting pregnant. The moment that strip turns pink, the rush of emotions and anxiety come forth and the question, what do I tell my parents? floats to the surface in a wave of terror. In more ways than one, the response from one young girl's father changed her life in more ways than one.
After asking what she wanted to do about her pregnancy and deciding to keep and raise the baby herself, her father immediately jumped into action.
Doing everything a good father should, he cooked for her, shared encouragement during moments of doubt, and began saving in the event of any unforeseen issues. To her, her father was the epitome of support and unconditional love, until his sudden passing in her seventh month of pregnancy. It was earth-shattering to her but out of this story that seemingly has a sad ending comes a lesson, and it's one that has allowed her to become a wonderful mother to her son. If her father taught her anything, it was to overcome and persevere. So she did, saying, "It’s been hard, but I’ve proven to myself that I didn’t have to end a life just because I couldn’t face it.”
10 Your Past Don’t Make You A Bad Parent
Motivation to be a good parent doesn't need to come from our own, and oftentimes we find ourselves becoming inspired simply by not wanting a son or daughter to follow our own bad decisions. This was the case for one man in the Philippines who found himself in the situation of being a father straight out of prison. No one wants to see a child be ignored by parents who don't have their best interests at hand. While it's a sad situation, it's one that always needs to be rectified for the sake of the child. That's where this man's life made a turning point, and where he learned to love another human being enough to make their life different from his own.
Upon adopting his son from a couple who ignored him, he found himself wanting nothing more than to teach his child how to be the best person possible.
Among nursing him back to health after the adoption, he has sufficiently spoiled his son while also teaching him what not to do in life. Motivated by his own personal nightmares he has successfully learned how to raise a son...and make sure that he is nothing like his father, but instead the best version of himself.
9 Looking For Work To Be Their Biggest Idol
Life occasionally deals some terrible hands. For parents with an inquisitive child, this can be stressful more than it is good, and that's what one man in Manila, Philippines, found out when he lost his job. In a struggle to find work, he was faced with his naturally curious son asking him questions and ultimately, he found himself not having the answers for once. "I’ve been going on so many interviews without any luck. I don’t try to hide anything from him because he sees that I’m striving. I just tell him: ‘I’m looking for a job that suits me, and I still haven’t found the right one yet,'" he says of his responses to his son. Sometimes it's all a parent can do to stay positive without hiding the truth and many don't realize the long-term effect of this.
By showing your kids that life isn't easy, but letting them see the dedication in your fight, they will remember that much further down the line if they're dealt a similar hand.
Don't fear, this story definitely has a good actually has a good ending that packs all the feels: This man was able to go home and finally give his son some wonderful news.
8 Fleeing Her Country For Her Miracle Baby
In 2016, the Rohingya people of Myanmar (also recognized as Burma) were persecuted by the Myanmar military and police in response to local Buddhist extremists who viewed them as minority outsiders. In the midst of chaos, one woman and her family experienced it all first-hand and shared their story of not only how they got away, but the miracle that followed.
In an effort to flee to the freedom promised in Bangladesh, as many Rohingya people have, to save her family, one woman describes their 15-day journey as one filled with images she'll never forget.
Their escape was also one that saved her youngest daughter, despite all the odds that were against her. Upon reaching their safe destination, she got some devastating news...and rather, a miracle came out of her exhausting journey. "When we arrived at the camps, the doctor told me my baby was not going to survive. But by the grace of Allah, she lived." For out of an extreme sacrifice, came the saving of a precious life.
7 Adopting Two Refugees On The Spot
Another inspiring story to come out of Myanmar is one that tells of a happy ending for two lost children. During the attacks, many children became misplaced and separated from their families. In a time when the future seemed dark and little mercy was shown on minorities in Myanmar, one man's quick thinking open heart led to the saving of two kids.
When fleeing his town in the midst of an attack, this Rohingya refugee saw two children near a tree. When he realized they were crying, he was told the sad story of how they had been orphaned and then, in an act of angelic kindness, asked the question that would change their lives.
"When I asked if they wanted to come with me, they nodded ‘yes.’ I’m taking care of them the best I can, but it’s difficult because I already have a large family. I think they are happier now." Despite his obligation to his current family, he made the decision to take two more in if it meant giving them a future. In a situation where many people would have kept running and not turned their backs, one man altered the course of two children's lives. All it took was a question, and he saved them both.
6 His Mother's Hard Work Saved The Family
In Indonesia, a young boy learned about the sacrifices a parent makes at an early age. Parents don't always make the best of choices and since no one can predict the future, occasionally those choices can affect the lives of their kids. It's an unfortunate situation, but all it takes is one person and one positive, determined attitude to turn it around for an entire family. When their father made a poor business deal and they lost everything they'd had, his mother did everything within her power to make their lives better.
With four children she was faced with no choice but to work, and after convincing their landlord to let her plant a field so that she could turn it for profit, things began to change.
The boy describes his mother's planting as initially unsuccessfully, but with his mother's patient determination and focus, eventually it prospered -- and so did they. She was able to support them while still finding time to make sure they had a chance at a good life, including finding the time to ensure their education. Using her own strength to reflect theirs, she told them, "If I’m strong enough to do this, you’re strong enough to go to school."
5 Teaching Her Daughter Women Can Be Independent
Family customs are often undisputed and nearly law in a place like India, and one woman is striking down tradition for the sake of her daughter's independence. Women's movements are gaining power and with them, women are seeing increased independence and rights that were previously withheld. Moms reign supreme when it comes to ensuring their daughters have all of their dreams within reach, and that's one thing this mom is proving with absolute certainty. With an upbringing that left her barely independent and included not leaving home until she was 18 spare walking to and from school with her brother, she was left unsure and uncertain of the outside world.
In an effort to keep her own daughter from feeling that dependence, she's doing what many women are following suit with: teaching her daughter the independence she needs to do what she loves and not depend on anyone.
Women are becoming more and more empowered in today's society and the confidence doesn't end simply because of where you're from. "Whatever she wants to do, I’m going to support her," is what this courageous woman is saying in response to her daughter's wants and dreams, and that's a beautiful thing to see.
4 Father Sold His Ring So His Son Could Be Happy
Many people have mixed emotions when it comes to telling their children white lies. For many, it's not an option. However, for some, it's necessary to maintain the innocence that comes with being a child. The small tale can be something as small as telling your children that the stove will "bite them" if they try to touch it, to something a bit bigger -- like, say, selling a favorite piece of jewelry in exchange for your son's happiness.
For one father in India, convincing his son that he'd been having his favorite ring fixed was one of those instances. In reality, he'd sold his ring to get his son the bicycle that he so desperately wanted, and by doing so became a representation of complete selflessness for his son as an adult.
In addition to this, his father never worried them with news of bad business, wore old clothes for the sake of his children having new, and gave them whatever they'd needed. "My father sacrificed everything for us," is what his son says of him now, proving that even the smallest of sacrifices do not go unnoticed to a child who knows better. Even the things they don't know about have the power to change their life for the better.
3 A Surreal Surrogate Experience
Everyone's parenting experience is different. For one couple, that meant having their song through a surrogate and in addition getting a laugh out of it, they sacrifice traditional birth to fit their needs as a family. The couple says they didn't have the same "emotional preparation" as most parents do and instead found themselves catching a flight to the hospital where their son was being born -- two weeks early! As a same-sex couple, many things are different, but the one constant is the love that you give to your child. It doesn't matter who your parents are as long as they shower you with unconditional love, and while this couple did not get to witness the actual birth of their son or go through the emotional nine months of preparation and experience, the end result is still the same. Rather than let this deter them, they've walked away with an amusing anecdote to their first meeting with their new baby boy, saying, "We actually met our son for the first time in an elevator. We were heading up to the room, and the nurses were bringing him up from the nursery. They noticed two guys carrying luggage, and said: ‘I think this might be your son!’” Now that's one for the baby book!
2 Overcoming Fear Of Being A Bad Mom
It's true that not all kids have a maternal or paternal bond with their parents. This is rare but happens in situations where a child isn't securely attached to the parents who raised them, and the fear of that is perfectly normal. Not every child feels a connection to their parents and that's a legitimate concern, especially for parents who are unsure if they feel a connection to being a parent. One woman is finding the strength to overcome that fear and though it may seem basic to some, it's a terrifying slight to a potential mother.
Her fear comes from the most common source: the fear of not being a good mom.
It's such a natural fear but still one that resonates with many of us as we tackle the difficulties of parenting, especially at an older age. What if your child grows up and hates you? What if they feel no emotional attachment to you whatsoever? How do you deal with it if they turn away hugs and affection? It's okay to feel all of these things but this mom has fought one step further -- it's okay to feel these things, and still bring a life into this world.
1 Putting Them First
The truly amazing thing about being a parent is the eternal humility they carry through their entire lives. When we hear stories of great bravery and the sacrifices parents make to take care of their kids, we sit there in awe and surprise at how much people will go through. In response, many parents will turn around and say they simply did what they had to do even if that meant walking through the fire so their kids didn't have to. That is true of one New York mother who raised her kids on her own with no qualms whatsoever about doing what she had to do to make them happy. As a single mother the challenges come at rapid speed; responsibilities fall solely on one person and can either make or break you. This New Yorker didn't let that stop her and commends herself on the fact that regardless of the situation, her kids always had clothes, food to eat, toys, and were signed up for every activity possible, all of which she paid for on her own. If it meant overtime this mom fearlessly took it on for the sake of her children, and that's a sacrifice that comes from the pure love of a mother. Through it all, this mom has one profound and heartwarming thing to say about being a single mom: "I still wake up at 3:30 every morning to beat the traffic across the bridge. But they always come first. Because they never asked to come here. They were my decision.”