Sidekicks to our children
Johann Wolfgang Von Goethe said, “There are only two lasting bequests we can hope to give our children. One of these is roots, the other wings!”
“Children learn more from what you are than what you teach”...how very true this quote is for the essence of good parenting is to be a role model and the children follow by example. Children more often do not listen but they copy, imitate and reproduce what the parents do!
Good parents from time immemorial have always been great friends, guide and philosophers and the first phrase “friends” is the prime deciding factor to establish a bonding and relationship with kids! Building trust and involvement in the processes of various elements make up a beautiful dimension of parenting. Allowing them to be the way they actually are and making them to do things on their own rather than having a hawk eye approach does wonders to the upbringing of a child. This does not mean being a confidante or a partnership with mutual benefit as this causes lot of burden and hardship on the child that he or she becomes weighed down more by our problems than theirs.
I recount here the delicate role my parents played in my upbringing which I try hard to emulate and follow but the bitter truth is, I have failed many a time. I was named “Sunita” which meant “well brought up” and I can stand up and take a bow for the belief, trust and confidence they vouched in me that helped me to become strong, determined and independent in thought and action, to judge what is right and wrong and where to draw the line. My father was indeed a buddy, a pal, a sidekick who was my first teacher in everything, a perfect role model ; be it a game of scrabble or building a crane from a mechanix set or a board of carrom or a game of badminton, he was a perfect comrade and companion, an alter ego to be precise. Not only the rudiments of the game taught but also inculcating the watch word of sportsmanship! It is just that the games today are substituted with gadgets and gizmos!
There was never a repeated chorus of “go and study” by my parents as there was a schedule in place which was carefully drafted with sufficient breaks to ward off monotony and boredom – the prime reason ought to have been “simply putting themselves in my shoes” and that did the trick. A monotonous lecture of “in those days, when I was young I used to study 6-7 hours and my dad would never let me play or watch TV” unless I finished my work” will obviously not go down well with present age kids who do not want to be tutored but to be taken along. This was already in place and a maxim with my parents and they excelled in being “a distant authority” and I fell in line automatically without being forced to! Raising children is fuelled by giving their diligent due and importance. Being a tyrant or a dictator is NOT going to help but rather opening the doors of the unknown for them to explore and react to situations will go a long way in making them to emerge as survivors to be fit and correct the mistakes by encountering them. Believe me it does take a lot of courage to raise children and being a referee or a whistle blower makes parenting bizarre. If we as parents control our emotions and behaviour, then automatically we set up an environment of understanding, patience and believing in solutions. Success of good parenting depends on positive involvement of parents with children as they close their ears to advice but open their eyes to example that is; we have to be what we want our kids to be! My parents did not push me beyond the limits but at the same time never did what I was capable of doing and so I learnt simple chores at an early age such as to iron my own clothes, polish the shoes, and pack my lunch and so on.
Extreme degrees of buddy parenting sets a bad precedence as we tend to share our sorrows and burden them with our difficulties; it may assume the form of incompatibility with spouse, financial difficulties, office stress and pressures and the like. The children who take their parents as ONLY friends will over react and try to solve these issues in addition to their own woes and end up confused and depressed. It is a two way process wherein we become confidantes and mutual sharing of secrecy happens leading to confusion and chaos! On the other end of the spectrum, is the autocratic big boss who sets the rules of the game and the child has to abide by them in letter and spirit; in this relationship the bonhomie and trust is lost and rebellion starts to occur and everything goes awry.
Essentially it means that parenting is a tactful and strategic art that requires guerrilla warfare mixed with righteous leadership by example, a cocktail of guile (not giving in to their whims and fancies) and innocence( after all childhood is a short season but parenthood is long!) . However, the cornerstone or building blocks for fine upbringing is friendship, trust, guidance, attention, right attitude, ability to listen, lending a shoulder to cry on and not being judgemental. Playing the different roles to perfection is easier said than done and no handbook can teach us to become good parents, it comes with experience!
My children see me as superhero!