Trees are not for fishes

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.

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Grateful for the love and respect received so far. Inspire, motivate and enable anybody to achieve their limitless limits-that is my goal for the rest of my life. Worked in MECON, Mphasis, Cofounder KelpHR,

Categories Uncategorized12 Comments

12 thoughts on “Trees are not for fishes”


    1. This is just a beautiful quote in Khalil Gibran’s words. In fact this is a good time to toy with the concept that nothing is really invented but just discovered.

  2. Good article. Happens pretty much across the world I guess. The fact that father letting the kids to live their life, makes the mother think that father no longer cares about the kids. She just doesn’t understand why the father is doing like this even if he tries to explain it to her. And this ends up in a fight between father & mother! 🙂

    Kahlil Gibran, what an amazing poet, author, writer, philosopher he is! “Complete Works of Kahlil Gibran” is the compilation of all his works. A mind-blowing, incredible work.

  3. *What is that a mother expects from her son?*

    I fought with death when I was giving birth to you. I spent sleepless nights when you were sick and crying. I never ate without feeding you first. I bore so many pains to bring you to the stage that you are in today. _How will you repay me my son_?

    When I grow up, I will find a good job and earn lots of money for you so you can enjoy the pleasures of this world.

    Your father is doing this already and I do not expect this from you too. By the time you are earning I will be old and will not be in need of any worldly luxuries.

    I will find a pious lady and marry her so she can cook for you and take care of you.

    That is not her duty my son and neither should you marry for that reason. It is not compulsory on her to do any service to me, neither do I expect this from her. Your marriage should be for you, a companion and a comfort for you as you go through this journey of life.

    Tell me mother how can i repay you then?

    (With tears in her eyes) Visit or call me often. A mother only requires this much from you while she is alive.
    Then when I die give me your shoulder and bury me.
    Whenever you perform prayers, supplicate for me.
    Give out in charity for me.
    Remember your every good deed will benefit me in the hereafter so be good and kind always.
    Fulfill the rights of all those around you.
    _The sleepless nights and pains I took to bring you up was not a favour to you but was for my creator. He blessed me with you as a beautiful gift and as a means for me to attain His pleasure. Your every good deed becomes my repayment._
    Will you do it my son?

    (Cannot speak and has tears in his eyes)

    Added by Suma Nair

  4. Well written. Your articles are very helpful for me in validating my beliefs.
    The below is my belief w.r.t this topic. Am I on the right track Sir? 🙂
    Children are from the nature who come to existence through us as part of the creator’s plan. While it is our dharma to bring them up as responsible human beings, they remain only as our closest friends once they reach a stage where they make their own decisions. Understanding this expectation, maintaining this close relationship and helping each other is a social responsibility on both sides based on the need and situations.

  5. Dear Menon,
    Nice blog – as usual. Could read it now only.
    Was not able to connect the fish and trees immediately. Then looked up the net and got
    “If you judge a fish by its ability to climb a tree, it will live its whole life believing that it is stupid.” – Albert Einstein.

  6. Any parent with designs on their children needs psychoanalysis of what shortfalls in the parent’s life causes these intense desires. The desire to mould children after one’s wish is not tenable because the child grows among not just home but among multiple circles which influence it.

    You have talked about the child growing up to be a brat. But there is no reason why despite the perssures he or she suffers from parents the child grows into a fine individual and is not devoid of love for parents. In such situation it is quite likely that the parents continue to be a source of disquiet in the child’s life and family.

    1. Yes, Dr, finally the child takes his own path. I know a family where the father hit the bottle and their life miserable. One son followed the fathers footstep and ruined his life whereas the other son chose the opposite direction and is doing well. Both grew up in the same environment, however chose different paths.

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