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For one reason or the other we never had a birthday bash for our only son till now. We always preferred spending the day to do something different, interesting things with the family or spent time in an orphanage with the children there. Now, my son's 9 Th birthday is nearing. We have been attending many birthday parties till now and when he was 7 years old he asked me , "Did you celebrate my first birthday in a grandeur way ?"and my answer was a quiet no. I just said him we were really not in a position to celebrate in a grand way at that time due to some circumstances and I explained the family situations to him. He listened intently and just kept quiet.
My son always said that he wanted to become a robotic engineer. He is saying this from his age of 3. We never took him seriously or lightly as I thought it could be a childhood whim. He started watching Robotics programs in discovery channels and you tube videos. When he was around 6 we sent him to two different one day workshops and they said he is really good in what he does. So we are planning to send him to a 15 days robotics program this summer. His birthday is also in this summer. So this year I had to offer him a choice. I said, “My dear son, this year I would like to give you a choice. You would like to go to a 15 days robotics class or do you need a birthday bash as we are in real budget and we can't afford both". I was really ready for whatever his option was as we felt he can take the robotics classes next year too. My son's answer was immediate and clear, “Mom, I would like to take the robotics class”. I suggested he may take it next year too. I thought he was answering me according to his love for robots. He said, “No, Mom it is not only for robots. My birthday bash would last for an hour or two, but if I learn Robotics that knowledge would be with me for a life time, so I would prefer robotic classes”. I was stunned. In fact I was proud of him. I and My husband have the habit of planning the family budget at the beginning of the month. We discuss and prioritize things according to our needs. Our priorities are usually what my son needs, then our home needs, last comes our personal needs including my husbands. My son has been observing this from a young age. I didn't expect him to learn the Prioritizing things in such an early age and I was really proud of him. I have mentioned this attitude of children in my Parenting book too. Children don't learn things we tell them to do, they learn from things we actually do.
In fact I would like to quote another example for the same. I, have a distant relative of mine who is of similar age to me. She would always compare me with her and tries to prove that she is better than me in many ways. For example, as I am working, she says, a stay at home mom only can take good care of her children, whenever she visits me she checks my wardrobe and says her dresses are prettier and expensive than mine. Even though this irritates me sometimes, I Just to try to ignore this quality of hers as otherwise she is a very good friend. I felt her need to show me that she is superior to me in some way.
The other day, she and her 4 year old daughter visited me. I, my son, she with her daughter all of us went for a stroll to the nearby park. Since the road was narrow we all couldn't walk together and we divided to two parties. First, I walked with my son and then she followed with her daughter, After a minute, her daughter said she wanted to hold my hands, so my son came with my friend and I was walking with her daughter, again after a minute she said she wants to hold her mother's hand as she didn't like my son holding her mother's hand. My son was silently watching everything. Since she was a little girl and he loves her a lot and treats her as his own sister, he just kept mum. After 2 minutes she came to her mother and said, "Mom, Let us go the Park, First, leaving them here”. My friend was embarrassed. She said we can't do that. The little girl said, “I can't be second in anything. I want to reach the park first. I can't accept being second." My son who was listening, everything simply said," sister, this is not a race, this is just a stroll to the park. Even though it is a race, you should participate for the joy of running and not for wining. Losing and winning is just a part of the Game". I kept quiet for the whole conversation. I can't stop my son as both of us knew he was right. I can't support him as I know, when the mother herself doesn't understand this, what will the child understand.
I am sure my friend would not have advised her daughter to be always first even while walking in road for a stroll but this attitude of the child is picked up from the people she had observed while growing.
So, please parents, whatever be the ethics and values you are following is passed on to the next generation willingly or unwillingly, Knowingly or unknowingly, so please whatever it is be careful in what you are practicing. Spend time and observe your attitudes which is passed to your children. Be critical about yourselves and your upbringing as self-critic and finding ways to improve are better than someone else giving our children a hard time after they grow up.