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All parents know the misery of reading through the parenting 101 books! I am assuming for all of us, hope it is a safe assumption. Those books that say, 'What to Expect...', 'Successful Parenting', 'Positive Parenting' etc etc... Yet in-spite of the stress that they cause, we read them religiously. We follow them too, as far and as long as we can.
We can very easily debate that, this is the era of ‘Super Parenting’... We are super conscious about how we raise our kids... 'We have it all articulated', not just the mother nor just the father, it is both. We are doing a great job of it. Just read the parenting blogs on this site it will substantiate this belief. We may differ in our views, but we have an explanation. We will not pass the buck on our parents, by saying, "I do it because my parents did it." That makes us a very sensitive generation of parents! That having been said, we continue to be people with faults!
What would be the one string that binds all parenting books? It is loud… I can hear everyone’s shout in a chorus- 'to-be-a-good-parent-be-a-good-person', a tad late for us to find out! I can imagine head turning, heart shifting and body tensing up, to these suggestions, every time any parent reads through pages and pages of the same line of thought! It is too humbling and too self-deprecating to watch our kids pick up our little idiosyncrasies. It is almost like being under the watch of the Orwellian 'Big Brother'. No matter where we hide our little diary of misdeeds, our little urchins find them and condemn us to a life time of torture, through the act of being an exact image of us. And then in some very critical moments they launch these missiles on us too. Ohhh... that is when we wonder why did we take on this daunting task of becoming a parent?
Those hushed up gossips are devastating... No matter whether we are the targets of it or we are the ones gossiping. It jabs at us. Did you see her son's behaviour? What will he learn if the Parents are like that? Her child steals, I wonder what she teaches to her kids! The child is so destructive... What are the parents doing all the time... fighting with each other! If parents don't set the right example this is what will happen! It goes on...
It almost always comes back to the parents. We are suffering the onslaught of it day in and day out. If we could, I know every one of us would become Mother Teresa, Vivekananda and Gandhi at least in the presence of our children... But wait a minute... Mother Teresa and Vivekananda did not have children, Gandhi? He failed miserably as a parent, becoming the father of the nation took its toll on him, to the extent that his eldest son could never fully deal with his own insecurities all lifelong. He died the same year as his father. So then, we have a shortage of ideal personalities, who were ideal parents too.
At the risk of contradicting myself I must admit that, if we sharpen lenses a little more, we will find some unique personalities who also made a difference as parents. Marie Curie for instance, a two time Nobel laureate, her elder daughter was also a Nobel laureate. But I can guarantee that, when she was raising her children, there may have been lacunae in her parenting style too. She couldn't have been perfect, dividing her love between radium and her two children.
Becoming a grandparent is the ultimate victory in the journey of parenting. That is when a grandparent looks straight at her kid and mentally says, "Serves you right! I am lovin' it! Remember all those years...? Now you will know where the shoe bites! As for me, I will take the ring side seat and watch. And be in cohort with your kid too!!" They came full circle when we had our first kid and they looked up to their own parents (our grandparents) and said... "Here I am now, full circle and the baton is passed... let’s celebrate!" Because, the final parenting stroke comes not from our parents but from our own children... that is when we wake up and say... no more kidding!
The Parenting 101 books will tell you now. If all these years no one was able to put it in your hard head to not smoke? Now there is a reason for you to stop smoking! If no one could convince you to wake up in time! Now you have the reason, if you can catch any sleep that is. If none could convince you not to use the F*** and S*** words, now you have the reason. If no one could convince you not to sleep late, complain, leave food on plate... not to read while eating, to take bath every day, to not shout, not fight, not ignore when others are talking, eat the greens, don't fart... Now this little angel from heaven will teach you how to live. The representatives of our parents with louder and shriller vocal cord and also more severe consequences for you! They are the ultimate task masters in the life of every parent!
I know it is going to be a long arduous journey, I know it is going to be thankless for a long long time, I know, no matter how efficient you think you are, someone will always be telling you to get better... But have patience, at-least till your children have their own! LOL
Ps. Chuck the 101 book aside, I know they are so thick and heavy, flinging them could cause muscle pull, just put them down gently, grab a pizza and some soda, slouch on the sofa, switch on the TV and relax while your kid is in school, once she is back she will be doing all that and you will be disciplining her!!!
Dear Readers, This is just on a jocular vein. Does not reflect upon my own personal preferences or my parenting beliefs. I.e. I don't eat pizza! :)
Meaning of 101? It means "introductory something". The allusion is to a college course with the course code 101, which in the American system and probably others indicates an introductory course, often with no prerequisites.