Have you ever thought of how much parenting is about setting expectations? Parents expect from children in the name of sacrifices they have done and children expect from their parents as their right. Does it ever seem to you that it has become a race towards who gets the best of whom?
Even before our toddlers begin grade school we already want them to grow up to be Engineers or Doctors or whatnot. Wanting them to choose a profession of your liking, marry a person of your choice, believing in your own unverifiable beliefs, is that what love is? Using children to fulfil one’s own unfulfilled desires is folly.
This kind of desire on the part of parents is simply a binding attachment and an agenda, not love. What we are doing is that we are trying to possess and dominate our children. Some expect kids to be ‘obedient’ like they are trained pets, some expect them to be ‘faithful’ like a servant and some expect them to be ‘slaves’ of traditions.
Is it any wonder that children develop bitterness or feel estranged from parents as they enter adulthood?
The best parenting is that which frees the parent as well as the child from anxiety and guilt. It doesn’t bind and it allows children to become independent, strong and resilient individuals- intellectually, financially and as far as possible emotionally. Attend to children like you attend to a rose plant: keep them safe from weeds and pests, nourish them, give them sunlight and they will bloom on their own. Don’t manipulate to get the colour and fragrance and texture of your choice.
Encourage them to ask questions and let them explore more and more viewpoints as they grow. Let them know the difference between beliefs, facts and unknowns. Do not hesitate to say you don’t know or we don’t know when you really don’t know. Let them not be conditioned like the chained elephant which in spite of having the strength would not dare to leave captivity. Someone once said that ‘one who is conceived in a cage, yearns for it.’ Let us teach them objectivity and how to reason.
As parents we control very little of what becomes of our lives and our children’s; whatever success we may see, can be attributed to many more factors that we know and do not know of. So, do not get anxious about the future of your little ones.
To love is to accommodate without fault-finding. Love truly begins when we step outside of attachment and allow children the freedom to walk, explore and learn about the world around us. This freedom will eventually bloom into responsibility and responsibility into independence. Let us leave them values, universal values to serve as their inner compass, not our rule book and chains. Let’s prepare them for the world and not prepare a world for them.
Let’s give them wings, which we may never have grown and not pass on our crutches. Let them spread their wings and find their skies. That is the true joy and fulfilment of parenting.