Torture Chambers?Nah, life seems to compensate……
Life was always thought to be the handiwork of divinity. When Providence snapped his finger, there sprouted this magical phenomenon which still presents lonely roads and inaccessible destinations in its path. There was a time when all life was crude and raw. Even the so-called superiority of mankind was much jeopardised, when humans hunted for their hunger and slept for their tiredness, much like any other living being. Even while excogitating over life and how serene it was, the other side of the coin always thought of this phase as underdeveloped or even non-developed. We are believed to have risen from that stage into the brobdingnagian era of technologies and sought-after riches, still developing in the process.
But, a question remains to be asked and answered. Development; is that what we are doing? With regard to material pleasures, yes it wouldn’t hyperbolise anything to boast far and wide that we are on a steep slope up. But, beyond what man conjured out of his new gained knowledge, there is something which we were sent with-Life itself.
Even while dropping all the pebbles into the pit of prehistory, there is one pebble which might be adrift, even now. The prehistoric human’s inherent freedom, to do what he/she wanted to do. If they wanted to do something, they never hesitated for a second thought. They never asked anyone and they were never answerable to anyone. Of course, in today’s “developed” society, such an attitude is considered unhealthy, but there is much to ponder upon in this simple pebble.
The freedom to act as per desire, is something which people see beyond the zenith nowadays. The existence of a locus of control seems to be inevitable in anything and everything. To an extent, it is plausible in the official sector, considering the kind of society we have knit up over the years. But does that envelop the shadow of control hovering over our personal life? The reasons stated may not be enough.
The word “personal” means “particular to an individual”. If an entity is named likewise, it has to be given out completely to the individual holding the strings. But, man’s inborn greediness comes into shape as other forms, when people compete to disarm him/her of the strings and to grab hold of them. Reasons may be plenty, but a vindication; none. It strikes the emotional chord deep, when one finds this happening in one’s own family.
Indian families are known far and wide for the close relations family members keep between them, irrespective of age. When the western culture is widely criticized for being carefree and displaying the absence of relational intricacy, we the easterners forget to go deep into our societal system. The west may have its own share of troubles, but we aren’t free of those either. It wouldn’t be fair to generalize, but in a very large number of cases, this family union is a direct result of inter-family supremacy and the resultant inferiority. In such cases, what we see is the parent and/or the parent’s siblings controlling the child throughout his/her life. This child who learns from the elders goes on to do the same to his/her child and the cycle goes on. It is said that it takes time for market leaders to come to the east, from the west. The same is much applicable in this scenario too, wherein in the west, people learn to take care of themselves, while in the east, this realization of “to be taken care of” sets in only when one has a child(again, not a complete generalization).
This control over the child has to be properly understood. An argument would shoot out that during the childhood, the child is left out to play and have the time of his/her life as per the child’s wish and hence, the shadow of control never existed. But, the point is that playing is not the only endeavour of life, where the child needs freedom. More than that; actually much more, the child needs it in building up his/her life. The stark contrast between prehistoric humans and the modern age “apes with THE brain”, is evident in a nutshell here. The earlier generations( even now, in some parts ofIndia) had huge families to speak of, with at least a dozen children for a particular couple. “Family Planning” was out of the question, even while many families turned out to be poor. The poverty couldn’t give the children, a childhood ambience to be proud of, but the children had a fruitful childhood where they could do what they wanted to. This can be attributed to the inability of the parents to extend their control to all the children, given the large number. But, the next generation displayed the difference. Number of children went down and parents started giving more attention to the children. They don’t mean anything bad when they do it, but freedom starts taking abrasive blows.
The future of a child is of utmost importance. He/she has dreams about it, and they deserve to be fulfilled. They are to find their piece of artillery to fight the war, in the way they want. In short, they are to “follow their heart”. But, do they? A query yet to be answered properly. Generalization is again out of the landscape, as there are many parents who “feel” the minds of their children. But, a pessimist’s view is true here. There are lot many who don’t.
The reasons are many. The most common one is the parents’ attraction to a particular job sector. The limelight might be the paycheck or personal gains, such as protecting their business and managing it in future. Which parent would not want their child to be on top of the world? Which parent wouldn’t want their children to be their support and help them out in their business? But, one thing which the parents forget is the happiness of their child. The entity termed ‘job satisfaction’ is not nominal in significance. It is something of prime relevance, without which anyone’s life would equal a hell hole. If you proudly boast, “I made my son a lawyer”, you are losing out largely on ethics, although you will feel like a king. When parents follow their heart, it is the child’s heart which gets crushed. If you can say without any obstacle, “My son chose to be a lawyer”, that might be the proudest moment any parent can get. There might be arguments again, about adjustment. “If he/she cannot adjust in an incompatible situation, how is he/she going to handle life? Life is full of unfavourable conditions.” If you are using such a sentence to justify the claim, it won’t even near justification. Life doesn’t provide favourability always, but it is not justifiable to force your child to accept the unfavourable, without even trying the favourable, just under this so-called “training for life” activity. If such a big decision is taken up for an experiment, or rather a paradigm shift for the child, he/she wouldn’t know even a tinge of satisfaction in future.
Another reason is the frustration. If you wanted to be someone in life and you couldn’t because of any reason, the common tendency is to drive the child in that track. “I will fulfil my dream through him” is a very common declaration. But, the thing is that every individual is special. What you may find as your future may not be so for another, even if it is your child. Genes don’t transfer interests. Your child is yours, but he/she is an entirely different person. A.R Rahman couldn’t have been an economist, or Dr. Manmohan Singh, a dancer. They found out what they wanted to do and they did it. If Rahman’s parents had forced him to be an economist, we wouldn’t have a musical maestro like him with us. The parents’ intentions are pure, but many of them fail to think beyond it.
Yet another reason is the very familiar argument, “Not that. There is no scope in that”. The parents cannot be entirely blamed in this one, as the country’s basic infrastructure and support matters a lot, when it comes to some choices. But, it isn’t the country’s fault alone. Think for a moment, why isn’t there enough scope? It’s not because of a lack of talent, considering the humongous number of people inhabiting the world. It’s not the infrastructure alone, because there are few people who have made their mark. It is simply because very less were allowed to follow their heart into the field. If a child is deeply interested in something, it is almost certain that he/she is going to reach heights in that. That person is going to set the example and widen the so-called scope for the field. An engineer forced into his profession, might have made a wonderful singer, if fortune had blessed through his parents. It is that level of risk which the parents take, which enables the same confidence in the child. It will make him/her go forward in achieving what he/she aims.
There are also some talks about how the particular field is not safe and it is very easy to go astray in that. It is a trust issue. Parents cannot be blamed as they care for their child.( As an under-statement, we often see a family status issue, sprouting up here, more than the concern for the child’s well-being, but those aren’t generalizable). But, if you give out such a statement to your child, it will sow the seeds in his/her mind that the parents themselves lack the trust in him/her. This is a huge downfall for the child and now, the child is even more prone to go wayward. If the child knows what he/she is doing and has made up a strong decision, nothing can pull him/her back from that. Besides, if the parents have given a child the right childhood, as they boast of, instilling in him/her the rights and the wrongs, doubting whether the child will go astray would imply that the parents don’t trust their own capability to raise a child.
While all this stands, there are cases where the child moves in the field directed by the parents and fairs quite well there. There is a small portion of this section, where the parent and the child think alike. The luckiest lot ever. But, in most cases, it is due to the child’s absence of exposure to his/her options. The child grows up in a sort of quarantine zone where he/she learns to accept the limited number of options put forward by the parents. The child may fair well, but that isn’t the real deal. It is almost like tuning a very efficient robot, the way you want it, and then sitting back and relaxing at the way the robot does its set duties. Human emotions aren’t involved there. You deprive the child of his/her heart, without them knowing, and you yourself seldom intrigue upon the fact.
WHAT A CHILD NEEDS IS A GUIDE, NOT A BOSS. This is something which anyone who nurtures a child should understand. The child needs someone to show him/her the tracks. It is then his/her freedom to choose the right track. A half-open door would want you to squeeze through, but a fully open door, gives you all the space you need. What parents are to do is, be the guide for the child. Show him/her what is right and wrong. Experience is the best medicine(from experience). If these are told to the child peacefully, in the way it is meant to be told, the child cannot but get oriented in that way(almost like growing up the child in the environment of limited options, but this is a good cause). This will lead the child to correctly judge right and wrong in future. Another very important responsibility of the parent should be to expose the child into his options for a future. Rather than enslaving him/her to a few options, be the guide who gives the child a tour, to what the future holds. Take the child to concerts, dance shows and movies. Explain to him/her how a court works and show him/her how doctors work in a hospital. Expose him/her to the works of famous writers and take him/her to social service activities. Even if you don’t enjoy it, enjoy with your child, if he/she seems to enjoy it. That is the ultimate solution to securing your child’s future.
I maybe a nobody in drawing such conclusions, but these are results of detailed observation of people, their nature and their lives. Again I stress on the fact that there are perfect parents and these are in no way, generalizations. Also, the definition of an imperfect parent, does not question your love for the child in any way. It is just a measure of the level to which you understand your child. “I give her everything I can” is not something to boast of, in reality. There is no need to give her everything you can. I’m sure she won’t ask for everything also, if you are the kind of parent who knows her well. Just give her what she wants, and that will be more than enough for a lifetime of joy. I conclude, rewinding to a previous statement : “WHAT A CHILD NEEDS IS A GUIDE, NOT A BOSS”.