Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Can't Really Name This One.

Reading the post by Smitha today, on parenting in a balanced way, sent my mind on a long thoughtful journey. It started with what her post said about parenting, thinking of it in terms of me as the parent, to me being parented, and how everything eventually turned out. To quote, Smitha says ,
I did not want to be a pushy mother, but at the same time, did not want to ‘not push her enough’, if you know what I mean.
And that is where I agree with her the most, and yet suddenly seemed to have found a different line of thought altogether on that, after contemplating on what I read in that post. Sometimes contemplation, actually helps me find words to my thoughts, to actually articulate my abstract thoughts and concepts more concretely.

Parenting is a difficult task, to put it mildly. It needs balance, focus, alertness, and mostly great strength to stick to my guns, in the toughest times. I am nowhere near being the perfect parent, I am too aware of my flaws and shortcomings to claim that. But somewhere along the line I have also come to realise, there is no fixed definition of the perfect parent either, because each child is different, and comes with different needs, likes and dislikes. What makes someone a perfect parent to their child, might make me a nightmare to mine and vice versa. I believe as long as the basic emotions and principles are in place, one is usually on the right track. Coming back to the point of it all, what defines pushing, too much, too little or just right? What is needed by a child, what is not, and where do we draw the line? Its not easy to decide, and its not for any book(or website) to tell.

As a child I was pushed too much, the GP, not at all. We both turned out averagely OK, but I think, I spent most of my initial years, doing things that did not genuinely interest me, nor did I have a true aptitude for it. Case in point being sports. I was quite a fanatic as a child. I stayed up late nights during the football world cups, went crazy during cricket matches, and pretty much scheduled everything around the tennis Grand Slams. And today, I don't even know all of the Indian cricket team. No one pushed me to love sports, but just living in a household that lived and breathed it, I took it in, I left the house, and suddenly sports interested me, not one little bit. This is not to say, that parenting has no part to play, it is to say, that the likes, dislikes, passions of parents will definitely influence their child, maybe even for life, but somethings just remain till they remain under the direct influence of the parents. Eventually, we all move on, to or with things that really and truly interest us. Or maybe its just me.

Its just recently that a very dear friend of mine, who is a life coach, did my personality analysis, without a charge, while it is infact a part of her professional services, and we discovered, that my personality type happens to be one of the rarest. Which either means I am extra special(I am sticking with that one), or I am a nut case. Well actually neither, it just means I am who I am. I loved bits of the description about the personality type, and it made so so much sense to me. Let me digress, and share this. It said , 'You are not so much party-poopers, as you are pooped by the party'. Can't even begin to describe how true that rings for me. I love people, friends, and all, and yet a huge group of people in a social scenario scares me. I am great with people I connect with, and they just cannot believe that I am not so great with general social interactions, but I just am not. Oh! that analysis, and the description of my personality type, just made me realise I am not such an oddball after all. When I was sitting and discussing this with the lady who did the analysis, she herself one of the not-so-common-types, said, 'It really makes a lot of sense doesn't it, and it makes us realise, we are not aliens, in this race of people, just different.' How true. But coming back to the parenting aspect of it, what would have been good parenting for a person like me? Could what's described in the books work for someone like me?

The point being what to do we encourage, in our children, where do we push, and where do we stop, and where do we just let them be. Its a very tough, very difficult choice, and I think it gets even more difficult when we have more than one child. It would be so so so tough to recognise the separate needs of multiple kids, and treat them according to their own sensibilities. But here again, I contradict my own beliefs.

I believe every individual has their own aptitude, and there is that something special for everyone of us. And it is foolish to generalise that. Because we need all kinds for the world to live and continue. the soldiers are needed as much as the doctors, the musicians are needed as much as the engineers, and it is but foolish if we prefer one over the other, and force the choice, or direct our children in that direction. And when we impose nothing on our children, we let them find their own way, find what is their true calling. I believe the most important ingredients in bringing up a child, are
  • an environment with abundant and unconditional love.
  • teaching through conduct of vales and principles that make a good person.
  • and imparting them with the desire to look beyond the mundane, and expect more than money and material things from this life.
This is not to say, I encourage my child to not study the day before a school math test, because he does not feel like it, and I feel that his true calling lies in poetry and not math. But this is to say, that I hope I do not impose my own likes or dislikes on him, in anyway that will diminish or superimpose his own. But then are also those children who thrive in a world full of rules, discipline and routine, what if my child needs just that and I fail to provide that to him. God! parenting is such a difficult job, there just can never be any clear cut, set rules for it. It is for each of us to find the style that best suits our child and us, and that itself is a difficult task, and then to later stick to that path even harder.

I might be an oddity, but I have no big dreams for the BB, atleast not yet. I have no visions of him being a great scientist/astronaut/ player/author/actor/poet or anything at all. I just hope that he is happy, all his life. And hopefully he will find the path that leads him to his own happiness. I hope I can as a parent equip him with the tools he requires to find that. I am more likely to be the parent who does not push the child at all, rather than the ones who push too much. And that is primarily because, I want my child to find his own way, and also because I was pushed way too much, as child myself, and that makes me feel like I lost so so many precious years, following a dream that was not mine, and could never had made me happy, years that were the best time to concentrate on gaining skills or an education to equip me to follow the path my heart leads me to.

I don't know, if I have made any sense at all in this post, but it was more of a clearing up my own thoughts and trying to articulate, those that I feel but cannot express in words. I believe truly that each individual has that something special in them, and each one will follow their heart, and true calling. And I believe that every parent should, let their child/ren find what makes them tick, and to the best of their ability nurture their child to follow that, no matter how similar or different it is from their own. And that is also because I don't believe any child is born with the natural instinct to kill, hurt or do other evil acts, those are always and but always ones that they learn from the people around them.


r r said...

oh wow, this is going to be fun. thanks for scaring me more hehehe.

Soulmate said...

I guess thats what we need today... Allow the child to follow his dreams and let the parents stand by him to support him and guide him in the right way..
I still remember, how interested I was in Arts(as in Painting/Drawing, Dance, Singing, Playing instruments).. A few days back, I found a dinner set painted almost 17-18 years and I could not believe that I was so good at it... Have not held a brush for a long long time... But now I have started learning guitar... :-))

Deeps said...

You made perfect sense with this post, GM. You're spot on when you say there is no perfect or imperfect way of parenting. You do what works best for your child. Its a lot about your instincts or gut-feeling.

Yes every child is different. What is important is that the child is raised in an environment where he/she is free to build his own dreams and has the faith that the parents WILL guide him/her in pursuing those dreams.

Children feel crippled when their hopes and desires are crushed by the unjust expectations of parents. The sooner the parents understand that the better it would be.

dr.antony said...

It is difficult to generalize on this matter.Children are as diverse as parents.There are something common in children,but then,every child is different too.As a young boy,I remember, I used to read the day before the exam.It did me good.I was the topper in school all along.This doesn't mean every child should be reading the day before the exam,but I have nothing against it.
There is no simple recipe for good parenting.There is not one way about doing anything right,there are no two ways either!

Trish said...

I am so with you here!!ultimately what works for you and your child,is the right way!
Their little minds have so many things worrying them,I don't think its fair to add to that our expectations.

Anonymous said...

Great post Goof !! With kids it can't be my way or the highway !! Why burden them with the baggage we carry,..by the way here's wishing you,GP and the BB a happy 2011.take care