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"Who do you want to be like?" Ask this question to a kid and pat comes the reply - "My Mum / Dad". As a parent, that is a proud moment. Ask the same question to an adult, especially those having kids, a rather common reply in my observation has been - "My Mum / Dad; I hope I could match up at least 50% of what she / he has done for me". Again, a proud moment for the parent.
I can understand that as a human being it is very satisfying to know that someone wants to follow your footsteps. Moreover, many times it is us, who teach our kids to be like the parent. Here, I think, we should all as parents, take a moment to ponder what are we teaching our kids.
Role models are supposed to be accomplished people. People who have done great service to the country, to the society; brought honour to the country; people who through their incessant efforts have achieved something which have made them stand out in the crowd. Are we one among them? I mean, if Sachin Tendulkar's son says I want to be like my Dad, I can still fathom that. However, if my son says he wants to be like me, I definitely would not encourage that.
Would we want our child's perspective to be so narrow that he/she won't be able to see anything beyond us? As parents, I know we all wish our children a successful and prosperous life. For that, we need to inculcate values in them that will inspire them to achieve the extraordinary. Yes, the definition of success and prosperity varies with our upbringing, our background and our potential. But why should we decide those parameters for our children? As parents we should simply provide them with information that will enable them to take those decisions for themselves. We are grown up and are mature enough to apprehend that no one is perfect. So why not teach the same to the kid rather than presenting oneself as an epitome of perfection. Highlight the positives and be candid enough to accept the negatives and tell them not to emulate that - is that so hard?
For that to happen, I feel we should analyse our parents objectively as well. Try to comprehend their positives and negatives and accept them. To accept a negative quality doesn't demean their sacrifices or diminish our love and respect for them. Instead it is a part of growing up on our part. We should not forget that it is not just the children who grow up; it is a lifelong process and not meant to stop.
Should we not give our children the freedom to discover themselves? Let them decide what are their parameters for success and prosperity; let them realise their own potential; let them look beyond the parents in search of role models.