Tuesday, July 20, 2010

What Do You Give Your Child?

A love for books,
or maybe a taste for music,
Or would it be a brain for numbers,
A passion for sports it could be,
Or maybe even cinema.

Painting, dancing, birds and animals, or even spirituality. There are so so so many things to choose from. So what is it that you give your child? I am sure most in the blog-world would love to instill in their children a love and passion for reading, but then I am sure there are just as many out there who want their children to have a good ear for music, or whatever else they hold dear to them. And when I see parents around me taking so much loving effort to instill in their child, a passion, a hobby, or a love, I wonder what to do with mine?

Each one seems so passionate about what they foster into their offspring, that I get inspired by each and every one of them, and finally end up being a Jack of all trades master of none with the BB. And in this process, I have learned that I cannot do it all. I cannot get him to sing, dance, read, hop, jump, play, paint and more all in one go. Or atleast not with equal gusto. So what then do I do? Isn't he too young for me to pick a single skill a passion to instill. Isn't this the time he learns, sees, explores and picks out what he loves the most, I think. At the end of the day, I don't want to push him either way, I want him to go ahead, and be what he wants to be, and do what he wants to do. (Only hope I have enough money in the bank to transfer in his name, incase he wants to just be a street-side artist!) And yet I need to show him the choices he has.

I know he is introduced to everything in his day-care centre, and I know of parents who play mental-maths quizzes with their kids all day long. I know I have been the person who thought getting a management degree would be the pinnacle of her life. And I thank God that, it did not happen, because it would have been such a sheer and colossal waste of money, on an undiplomatic, non-corporate work worthy person like me. I know now, that the last kind of job I am suitable for is corporate management. But, then, I did not know any better. I knew about studies, school, college, professional degrees and that was it. I don't want the BB's vision to be narrowed in anyway like that. I want him to be free to look around and decide what he wants in his life.

A little too young for me to think so much you say, but believe me it is not. Because somewhere in life, the seeds of the kind of person we are, are sown in childhood. And I definitely don't want to bungle up here. No I am no perfect parent, I am as flawed, and imperfect as can be. But then I have my priorities too, and one of the main ones being, to give my child the freedom to choose his own life. Not to say I will not guide him, or instill in him humane values, but he has to choose the purpose of his life himself. I don't want it set upon him in anyway at all. While I want him to like books, music, the outdoors and some other things, I am worried that I should not force any of them on him. Now maintaining the right balance would be one tough job isn't it? Because what I truly want to give my child, is freedom, to carve out a path of his choice in life. Where he can follow his dreams and passions as he likes.

Till just a little while ago, I was so worried, about what he would learn from the world around him. When he was little, I could control the environment he lives in, the people he sees, but that was not to be the way all his life. I used to worry then, about him learning 'bad things' from the world outside.(To be clear I was not an all good influence, but then as I said, it was a controlled environment.) So once the BB started playschool, and his day-care sessions, he started coming home with a mixed bag of learnings. Some I liked, some not so much. And my initial reaction to it, like it is to most things that upset me, was panic. I was aghast, when I learnt that he was pushing other children. Oh! no, I thought. This is just because of the other kids, how else would he ever have learnt to push others like that. Yes, I am a fool that way. But this also helped me learn one of the bigger lessons of parenting. What is the test of a parent, whose child has no external influences to test him. The BB, maybe yet too young, for such huge philosophical statements, but the lesson has come to me in time, before he grows older, and I am in a constant state of panic. The important thing is for a child to go out, see, observe, learn and most importantly have the sense to select what he learns. It is upto me to teach him the guiding values and principles, which help him pick and choose. And that is no easy task I reckon!

After a really long time, I was browsing the newspapers online, and I came across this article, which really shocked surprised me. It talks of a man who is a master of astro-genetics, who used his knowledge to have children of a preferred sex twice(male of course) and to have a genius child the third time round(male again ofcourse!). The genius son is now all of 22, and stepping into IIT, Powai as a professor. I know a lot of parents out there who want their kids to be a genius, or a musical maestro or some other thing like that. There are plenty of tennis dads out there. But, what I do know for sure is, that as a parent, I would want my child to be just normal, and most importantly happy. I would never ever want to tweak the circumstances, to create something 'better', unless physical ailments are the cause of concern. The children we do have are the best that we can, and we love them for who they are. This kind of manipulation, takes the concept of 'conditional love' from parents to new heights. Scary, and scary indeed.


Anonymous said...

Goof very valid point you've got here !! there is a plethora of choices out there..if only people were to just their children be, let them choose what they wish to learn and pick up instead of impose on them their own suppressed desires and dreams

The Soul of Alec Smart said...

I know! I read that article too.. and it's just so bizarre.. for the lack of a better word. Recently, a cousin of mine who's a mom to 2 little boys told me - "It's fascinating to see what the kids get from me. Or from [her husband]. In how they walk, talk, sleep.. everything. But even more wonderful is what they get to this world, all by themselves." So when I read this, I feel it's so sad when two people can "plan every detail" like they're making a robot, not a baby.. I know it's a science, but THIS is an unnecessary application of it, IMHO.

Reflections said...

Very very nice post GM.....so many times I keep thinking the same u've written above.
For instance when I was young I so badly wanted to learn to play the piano but cdnt for various reasons Now I want Nikita to learn but she just isnt interested....I was so hurt to tell u the truth;-(.
Then my husband pointed out tht she is more interested in art & craft and we must let her be. It made sense really tho I still am miffed with her;-P. I'm now hounding Naina;-D.

U put across thoughts many of us think and cover all angles:-).