Very often in the conundrum around us we forget that the kids we have given birth to are not some ornamental plants which should be trimmed and watered according to our whims and fancies. The hobbies we couldn’t take up, the schools we couldn’t go to. The brand name colleges we didn’t make to, are not for our kids to go to. We all have those regrets as an adult, that if I was given a better counselling I would have become so and so. So now the entire universe is weighing down on our mind to counsel our child and make him what WE were not. We think, I will not let him regret. Regret? I won’t even allow him to think, or waiver or digress. I as an effective parent will train my child to be an epitome of perfection.
My friend Meera had a checklist. ABC by 2 years. Counting numbers by 3. All the colours including beige and Marcella by 3.5. Planets and countries and flags by the age of 5. And so to make sure her daughter absorbs it all she was given all the facilities*. 3 hours of nursery schooling, dance class at 4 pm, story telling at 5.30 pm, pottery and clay on alternative days and if any minute was left unutilized then teaching etiquettes at home.
There life was sorted.
Her daughter could swim, cycle, skate talk in fluent English by 6 years of age.
The only thing Meera as a mother couldn’t teach her daughter was to be Happy.
She couldn’t teach her to crack silly jokes or laugh at one. To run around pretending to be someone else. To make faces and throw tantrums. Meera’s parenting skills were impeccable. And so is everyone else’s, who look at their child’s face when they return from school and the first question they ask is, any homework? Or did you get a star, or an A or any praise?
The path a parent wishes to take to TRAIN their kids is absolutely their own choice. But sadly, statistics show that this very child will never experience happiness or a blissful life. They might find solace in momentary events, but being truly happy is not something they they will experience.
What I learnt as a mother, is no rocket science. And each day my son adds more to my list which I am sharing. I might not be perfect, and even he isn’t, but we are happy together. We are happy in our present.
1.Play : No camp or class or workshop will teach your child,what those bruised knees and fights at the playground will. Let them fly. Let them have some time to grow as a person, unsupervised. They are your children, not pets.
2.Career : Only doctors or IT professionals are successful says no book. Guide them, but don’t nudge. If your child is inclined towards music or arts or science encourage them. Rather than choosing a path for them, let them carve their own path.
3.Sleep : Only a well rested mind is fully functional. If we have to fit in 5 classes in a day in our child’s routine, then we are the ones who need help, not them.
4.Chores: Let them help. Pick up their laundry, put those plates in sink, set their own toys, tidy their room. This is the scaffold for a strong future. This would teach them to be of use at workplace and home in later years. This would teach them, that for some deeds to be done they need to dirty their hands. You can provide them with servants and house help now. But you will be taking away life’s lessons.
5.Love : Love them for who they are. Love them unconditionally. ‘I will love you more if you score more than your friends.’ Is not love. A child who is loved and trusted at home. A child who is allowed to make mistakes and learn from them. A child who knows I need to fall and then pickup the pieces to run again, is going to be just fine even when you won’t be around.
My son is not the PLAN B of Everything me and his dad couldn’t do. He came through us is because we were the lucky ones chosen to be his mom and dad. But each day we remind ourselves that we don’t own him. And so should you. No degree or grade or class or a checklist or a benchmark will assure you that your child will be successful or happy later in life. Its his today, and how he chooses to live it will.