Being a parent is a blessing, an honour, a privilege; also an enormous responsibility, an extreme commitment. This is a new role you have to take up as you hold that little bundle of joy in your arms. A role for which you can seek all the advice your family, friends, books and above all, Mr Know-all, the internet can give you to equip yourself, or you can simply depend on your intuition, emotion and gut feelings. Either way, it works out fine if the basics are clear. You have a precious gift, love him, nurture him, support him but do not try to possess him or live his life for him. You are that very fortunate gardener with an unique baby plant, that will grow up with your care. You will witness the blooming of an unique flower with the colour, shape and fragrance she is ordained to have. You just make sure she happily blooms to the fullest, emanating love and joy. As a parent you facilitate the growth of the child at every stage, you set the goal and pave the road to the goal, you hold the torch light so he can see, you cheer, you warn, you support all along. But all the while you remember ‘he is growing, I am not making him grow.’
Parenthood does call for a lot of mental preparation. Firstly, one must be ready to feel a surge of unconditional love, which she may have never felt before. This love surpasses the self, knows no bounds, is spontaneous. Yes, it spurts out like a fountain head, but the big thing is to contain it in the heart, cherish and nurture it as the child grows, never attaching conditions to this purest love. A mother’s love never wanes, no matter what. How a child behaves or how he appears or what he achieves can have no effect on the parent’s love. Being a parent means hardships, deprivations & sacrifice, but that magical love makes it all acceptable with no resentment.
This parental love, though unconditional, generally never goes unrewarded. The little one gives back a million times with his first gaze into your eyes, his tiny grasp, his heavenly smile and all his hugs and kisses, all expressing his love and affection. For any parent, this is the best rejuvenating gift.
Parenthood also means a huge responsibility. You are gifted with a ball of play-doh and you dream to make a flawless doll out of it. Suddenly you discover it’s a magical play-doh that changes shape and colour on its own, that sometimes stings and sometimes slips out of your hands. “Can I do it? Am I on the right track? How do I handle this?” are constant worries plaguing you. So how can we prepare ourselves for this mammoth responsibility? A few simple rules can help a lot. Firstly, try to figure out what you intend to do for your child. Our intention should be to guide and support him to i) attain the best to his ability ii) to imbibe the values we honour iii) to lead a happy, purposeful life with happiness and content. For this we ourselves first need to adopt a consistent, stable life style with definite principles, values and goal. The child’s nature will evolve automatically according to the ambience he is in. You will just need to give the right guidance at the right time and in the right manner.
We have to remember that bringing up a child is not fulfilling your own dream. It is his/her own life to be framed in his/her own way, which depends on his/her genes, nature, environment and your rearing. So don’t feel shattered if the doll you make is not your dream doll. It is your doll anyway, so love it as it is, make sure it does not break. Remember each doll is unique and beautiful in its own way. As one grows up, he is confronted with criticism from every corner. Let there be someone there beside every child, who will just love without judging. That is the greatest gift a parent can give a child.
Before discussing parenting, we, as parents need to be clear about a few things.
- What is the goal of human life to us?
- What do we want to see our child achieve?
- What are our expectations?
Goal of Life
The goal of life varies from person to person widely. Some want to be rich, some want to lead, some want a relaxed easy-flowing life, few strive for higher goals…. But at the end we all want peace of mind, we want to be happy. As a child we all talked about becoming a doctor or lawyer or football player or a businessman or maybe a truck driver or fashion model or astronaut or a scientist. We all tried to pursue our dreams, some made it, some didn’t. But in the process we hardly ever stopped to ponder whether we got peace of mind or joy or happiness or content. One day we realized, we had become something, but those magic words, ‘peace’, ‘joy’,’ content’, ‘happiness’, were still far away, because we forgot to reach for them. So, why don’t we, as parents set the goal such that our children strive towards peace and happiness, through whichever route he goes, no matter what he wants to become? Can our parenting lead him in that direction? It can.
What I want to see my child achieve
Well, we need to be very cautious with these two words: ‘want’ and ‘achieve’.
When we say ‘achieve’, we automatically think of the end point and too much emphasis on the end point can take our focus away from the means, which is far more important. Getting good marks in an exam is important, but learning the subject is more important. If the child is taught to aim at good marks, without a focus on sincere learning and honest attempt, the result may be disastrous. Let not parental demand take the child’s attention off the means of attaining the goal.
As a parent, if you think you ‘want’ something out of your child, please sit back and think again, why? Is it to fulfill some of your dreams, your expectations? Then you have to beware. Your child has a life of his own, for him to live his way, you are there only to help and guide him. He is NOT your second chance live life over again. His nature and your nurturing will bring out the person that he is. Then, won’t a parent have any expectations? Of course he/ she will, but we have to learn to accept it if they don’t match with the child’s dreams and aspirations. The parent can live the life, be a role model, slowly steer the child in the direction she thinks right, then leave it to the child to follow spontaneously.
Dear parents, I request you to think over these few issues we have raised, it may help find your own solution to many a problem you come across in parenting your precious one.