I was waiting outside the Principal’s office, to get my child’s transfer certificate signed by her. Due to my husband’s transfer, we were shifting to another city. There was some staff meeting with the Principal going on, so I had to wait. The student counsellor’s room was next to the Principal’s office. I happened to be sitting right in front of the door . Some parent was having a session with the counsellor . The door was left slightly open, may be by mistake and I overheard some comments that were carried out. Seemingly a mother was in utter frustration, unable to understand her son’s behaviour. I could piece up just one comment from her outburst, “How can he be so uncaring and ungrateful after what all we have done for him? I had planned this week long leave so much in advance so that I could be with him for his exams but look at him! He doesn’t want me. He says he would prefer studying on his own.”
I could visualize the loving but helpless mother who was at a loss in understanding her own child. My heart went out to her. I could do nothing to help her. The peon called out for me, handed me the signed certificate and I returned home. The helpless mother’s words kept echoing into my ears. I was thinking that she was distraught for she could not reach out to her son and so she judged him to be uncaring and ungrateful. What disturbed me was, “after what we have done for him?” I was puzzled. Did she do what all she had done, to make her child feel grateful?
I have heard this particular comment, very commonly used by parents. I feel very sad to hear so. I fail to understand how can parents think so , hence speak so. Do they say so out of desperation?May be yes. It is their own fear, fear for the child’s future that makes them use such harsh words. As a teacher, dealing with other’s children, hearing them speak their hearts out, has given me so much of deep insight to the minds of both children as well as parents.
The helpless mother that was having a session with the counsellor was so very stressed out with her child’s reaction. She was a working mother and had planned to be with her son for his main exam. She wanted to be there as a support. As a teacher, I have seen that children have their own ways of doing things and many a times the parents, due to lack of time together, are not very aware of these ways. The children too, develop their minds and get it attuned to doing things, without the parent’s being aware of them. Naturally then, it is not unusual for them to reject the support that their minds are not attuned to, specially in trying times.
We parents bring our children into this world by our pleasure and then why do we end up bringing them up with our fear? Despite our love for them, we fail to reach out to them for we never try to understand them. They are our parts, our very own and so very precious to us, then why do we not ponder over the fact that it may work better if we try to understand them rather wasting all our energy and time in making them understand us? We keep on filling them up with all the things that did not work for us, our failures, with the want to teach them success. We stick to our guns and the children, replicating this habit, stick to their’s.We end up turning one of the most beautiful relationships into an ugly one, both for the parents as well as the children.
Right from the very beginning of parenting, we can explore the path strewn with patience and love. We can refrain from telling them every little thing that they should do, how to do. We act like masters in writing their lives and they start resisting wherever they can. This becomes an ongoing battle of strength. We instead, can be their guides in their exploration, supporting them gently when they fall and holding them till they stand. Parenting can be a joy when we set out to enjoy it rather than treat it like a task and that too a difficult one. In fact, I see parents taking pride in claiming how difficult parenting is to them.
We parents can be a solid and most reliable source of love, support and trust for our children. This requires a fearless mind, a courageous but loving heart and a relentless will to understand our children. We need to show them the right tools of virtues of life by using them ourselves, where then, we will never need to hide behind fear. We will then be able to show them the right ways of living life by making our own choices with an ever thinking mind. When we are ready to understand our children, we will show them how to take life with all it’s glory, facing every ordeal with a strong mind. We show them love, they learn love. We show them success, they learn success. We show them joy, they learn joy. We show them fear, they learn fear. It is so much better to show them to be responsible while being careful, rather than be constantly guided by fear.
Children are our joy. Anything that we do for them ever, is for our happiness. We do so, by choice. We should never demean this joy by expecting gratitude. As I said before, we need to show them the virtues through us for them to imbibe. Gratitude is one of the purest of virtues that each one of us should practice. Let us understand our children to make them understanding.
I love the lines written by Mahatma Gandhiji:
“Be the change that you want to see”