Children -They are the sons and daughters of Life’s longing for itself. They come through you but not from you, And though they are with you yet they belong not to you. – Kahlil Jibran
A parent was in tears and was telling me about all the sacrifices they had made and accounted all the expenses he suffered, yes thats the word he used,
After he poured all his inside, he asked me, “what about your children ? How have they been treating you ?”
Two major blessings of my life are my daughters.
“You don’t have Sons ?”
“I told you about my blessings, 2 children”
“How much do they care for you ?”
“They dont have to.”
“Why, havent you spend money on them, how much ?”
“Stop questioning and listen to me.” I said
“My children were not investments. I never expected any returns. They were my friends and I dont remember telling them what to do. Both of them did their engineering, I had no role in their decisions. I was never possesive about them. I have no plans to live with them. They have their families and their responsiblities are towards them.I dont want to burden their life with my old age. I plan to move into an old age home at an appropriate time. My children may mind that, I am not going to care. I do not own anything on this earth. I am only a custodian of things, the ownership will change once I am gone.”
“I love my children, thats it, if they love me, its a bonus for me. My father did not expect or want anything from me and I am taking that forward.
My children takes their decisions, a discussion with me is their choice, not mandatory at all.”
“I am always behind them, just in case, they need me, non interfering .”
“You have daughters, what if you had sons ?”, he asked me.
” I am sorry, I have to bring the word ‘community’ into the discussion. I shall do it just once to answer your question, after this I may not use that word again. In my community of nairs, daughters and sons are treated equally, they have equal rights on properties and the daughters come forward to look after the parents as much as the sons. And for us the beti bachao, save daughters, slogan has no relevance. So it is immaterial whether I have sons or daughters. They are children for me.”
“Regarding your problem, I have only one suggestion, change your mindset. Your children are love, not investment. For me the word sacrifice has no place in my life.
Whatever I do, I have a selfish reason. Its either, my duty or my responsibility or for love. I do not want to be an escapist.
Children should never be part of old age plan.
Many parents want their children to fullfill their unfullfilled dream. They drive them in a particular direction, when their talents lies else where.”
One evening I was standing at the gate, saw a group of 4 young boys following a boy and taunting him. They may be around 7 or 8 years young. The boy in front kept walking when the other kids pushed him from behind and another one pulled his hair. His silence encouraged these kids to misbehave, further. And then he stopped and turned around, caught hold of the boy near him, gave him a slap and pushed him to the ground and walked away. The others ran away while the boy on the ground got up crying went home and came back with his mother. The lady asked me ” did you see the badmash who hit my innocent son ?”
“Yes,I saw an innocent boy was ragged by your son.”
” Who is he ?” She did not seem to get my message.
“He is the DIGs son .”
“Do you know him ?”
“You wait here, he will come back this way “, I told her and went inside my house.
After 15 minutes I came out and the lady was still waiting for the return of the hero.
“You saw him, beating my son ?”
“Why did you not stop him ?”
“I wanted to stop your innocent son from ragging him, he did not listen, so I did not stop the DIGs son, from doing what I wanted to do.”
The mother’s blind love simply refuses to accept the son’s short comings and mothers have this impression that they know their children well. The mothers have a justifications for all the misdeeds of their children. They grow up , spoon fed through out their childhood with lot of incompetence and inefficiency and are unable to do much on their own. On many occasions, the father is involved in equal measure.
Then there is the rich and pampering family whose children have no idea what it is to not get. They grow up and do not feel the necessity of doing any job in their life.
They take to drugs and screw up their and their parents life.
The parents think that they know their children well enough to see their future. They are confident that they have brought them up, the way they wanted. What they forget, while they are growing up, they are learning from their friends and also starts thinking independently and rejecting some of their learnings from their elders. It is not the right or wrong that matters here, it’s the changes that have taken place in their belief system. A parent will never believe, that their child has taken to crime or drugs. They confront such situations by finding whom to blame than their children.
The simplest of example happened in my life. At the age of 10 when I tasted beer, I didn’t like it and my mother believed I will not like it for ever. On another occasion, may be, I Think, at the age of 25, somebody offered me a beer, my mom said, he does not like beer!!! Well , by then, I was fond of beer.
Tell them about values , ethics, kindness, caring and sharing. In fact children learn from observations rather than lectures. You should not lecture to your child not to say lies and when a Sharmaji calls you, tell your child to tell him that you are not at home.
Let them take decisions, ya, we think they do not know what they want, neither do we know what they want. Help them nurture their talent and support them to sharpen their skills, rather than trying to teach a fish to climb trees.