Remember those cute things your little one says? There are the times when they are hilarious and at other times precocious for their age. Many a time they sound disrespectful and uncaring and then they compensate with the cuddles and kisses that weaken us over and over again. Well, Parenting is a challenge and many a times overwhelming. It being our first time, we are burdened with the tasks of disciplining, teaching and providing and thus fail to see the bigger picture, the real purpose of rearing a child- An opportunity to grow spiritually. For once, before your children grow up, sit back and reflect on this other side of parenting. Think about the innumerable lessons in life that you have got since you became parents. The gibberish that made you wonder so many times, had many a profound meanings, the statements that came as disrespect, were embedded with messages on relationship management . In fact, the acts of defiance in retrospect could have been lessons in managing expectations. These lessons can be easily lost when we are engaged in molding the child to be what we want it to be. Here asking one right question to our-self can perhaps put things in clearer perspective, “What do we really want FOR our children?” Note that it is FOR them and not FROM them. This verse by kahalil Gibran in ‘The Prophecy’ can perhaps be the guiding light: “ Your Children are not your 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 …You may give them your love, but not your thoughts For they have their own thoughts You may house their bodies, But not their souls For their souls dwell in the house of tomorrow Which you cannot visit, not even in your dreams”. This realization in itself is the beginning of a spiritual revelation .
My interaction with the youth recently left me wondering. Am I going overboard with the concern for social growth and individual development? Is it that people are OK and I am getting idealistic or probably bitten by the Social Welfare bug? It is confusing me. I interpret it to be all about ME and US, but people around me think it's about 'THEM'. When I look around and see educated people littering the road, I cannot take it, but the moment I bend down and pick up the mess, I get weird look. Best is yet to come. If I point out to them, they point right back and say everyone else is throwing the rubbish here so what’s wrong?!! Disturbed by the brusque almost atrocious attitude of traffic cops, when I brought up the issue with a group of young professional, the reply was rather flat- I have my own priorities set, why to get involved unless it’s about me?!! Why are we so insensitive? I feel like living a disconnected society where everyone lives for themselves. It’s a reason to mock if someone like me dares to talk about standing for the common good-“you are too idealistic man! Grow up”. We do not have time till our back is on fire. Am I flipping? Help me.
Recently, I met a couple that is battling against the alcoholism of their only child. They appeared distraught as they spoke about how they thought his life is being spoiled and that not only is he unable to see the problem but is not letting them help him. As I heard them out, what struck me most was the phrase, “that he was not letting them help him”. Intuitively, I helped them talk with just a few leading questions. What came out after initial beating round the bush was that they loved their son dearly and hence had always taken it up to themselves to ensure that all his wishes were fulfilled. They had ensured that the child did not have to sweat or shed a tear for anything and were unable to see what had gone wrong in their parenting. Everything they spoke about was about their parenting, the child did not seem to have a say anywhere while apparently, it was all about him. During the further course of counseling, various alternatives were suggested. Given the severe degree of alcoholism, the first obvious option was admission in a Rehabilitation centre. On hearing this suggestion, the mother burst out into a series of crying and accusing. She was aghast that how could we suggest such “Inhuman” treatment for her “poor” son. After all he was only having one bad habit and was not sick. And that they were capable of taking care of him. Thence, as expected, they abandoned the counseling. This one is about alcoholism, but how often do we come across parents who fail to understand the difference between Loving and spoiling the children, between doing something for the betterment of the children vs. something for the love of the children, between selfish love and selfless love. Today, as this era beckons to all parents to prepare children to face the hardships of the world in order to reap the overflowing benefits of this borderless globe, one question prevails- Are we parenting for the child or are we parenting for harvesting returns for ourselves and to satisfy our egos of being a parent?