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At every stage of growing up as a parent, I realise a number of things that I would want my children to follow or to not follow. Agreed, that how they turn as individuals would be a result of what I have ingrained in them and what they have experienced, learnt and chosen for themselves. But there are a few lessons, some of which I have grown up with and some acquired by myself , that I want to equip them with -
Do your own evaluation.
You may stand first with minimal efforts on your lucky day or you may stand nowhere inspite of sleepless nights of hard work. It would not be fair on my part to say to you that ranks do not matter at all. Of course they do, but not always. The sum of the actual knowledge, people management, peer learning, the ability to identify when and where would hard work and smart work take turns to help you, what and where to learn from and what and where to not learn from, finding out which skills would help you further if you hone them and which ones would give you just pleasure, when to ask for more and when to be content with what is on hand would go a long way in helping your personal, family and professional life. And because all this is totally from self learning, only you can evaluate yourself on these.
You will marry not because you have to but because you want to.
Marriage is a journey that you take up willingly in partnership with mutual trust, commitment and love. It is not a destination that you are obligated to reach and stay anyhow and somehow. Of course, I would be the happiest person to see you experience the same blessing of a blissful marriage that I have. But I would be equally happy if you decide to take up some alternative path that you think is meant for you. If ever I favour the former arrangement more, it would be only because I have lived it and not because I do not respect your beliefs.
Physical appearances are not to be discussed.
Fair or dark; plump or petite; somber or jazzy. Keep your observations to yourself because discussing about it makes no sense. I don't mean to say that don't admire beauty. But don't overrate it. That will never give you a true idea about the person and his or her personality. Moreover, you never know when would you knowingly or unknowingly become the one you had commented on. There is definitely something better you could have done with those few moments of time and that energy.
I am not your responsibility.
You were in no way involved in the decision taken to bring you into my life. I am responsible for you, at least till the time you become capable of doing it for yourself; but you will never be responsible for me. That said, I will always look forward to the times when you show up unexpectedly from your hostel to surprise me or choose to stay by my side when I am unwell. But I expect all these gestures to be totally out of our mutual love and affection without a bit of obligation and imposition.
You must decide whether to be an owner, dictator or a passive onlooker.
Never mind what others say. You would always know what is the most suitable choice for you. It can be identified by the peace you feel when you think about it. Yes, there will be times when you do not want to decide and let things take their course. There will also be times when you would decide against your decision either for a loved one or for a greater cause. It is fine. Use all your wisdom to decide whether to be an owner, dictator or a passive onlooker.
Being independant always helps.
Imagine your relief when you don't have to eat what you don't like when you are staying in a foreign land alone. Won't it be better if you know how to iron that crumpled dress you so want to wear to the party? There is no feeling like being unaccountable for using self earned money! Learning to cook or doing laundry does not make a man any less manly; neither does having a cash cow for a career make a woman any less womanly. There may not always be a friend around when you have a heartbreak. So what better way to cheer yourself up than going for a movie alone! Making yourself personally, financially and emotionally independant will only make life easier for you and your loved ones.
You are not defined by your family name, community or the language you speak.
Your abilities and boundaries are not subject to your ancestors heroic deeds. Your skills are not influenced by your community's common genes. Nobody is going to ask you about what language you speak at home at your university convocation. Nonetheless, you should take pride in your heritage and learn from the people around you. Using those to boast your individual greatness will lead you nowhere.
As a parent, I wish I could protect and guide my children forever. However, physical presence may not always be necessary for doing this. It is such life lessons that I have learnt willingly or by chance that would always stay with them as a part of 'me' after me.