Tuesday, 13 December 2016
That ONE thing I am going to teach my kids as a parent
There are lots of articles and opinions on that ONE thing that every parent should teach their child as part of good parenting. But is there that one quality which will make our children the best human beings? Is there a magic potion which can turn everything around them nice and bearable? Is there that one gift or that one lesson which you can hand over to your children so your duty towards their upbringing is complete?
As parents, Saurabh and I are constantly evolving to teach V and N newer and better things which equips them for life. There are times we want them to be honest and at other times we want them to be brave. Some times we teach them not to hate anything and at other, we want them to love themselves. But till a few days back, at least I was clueless if there is one personality trait which could make them the best boys ever and which I could engrave in them so they can get by life as people who others love, only love.
I am glad that I have cracked it and I thought I should share because if some other parents agree with me, we can actually achieve our dream of a nicer world for our children.
So I recently got back from a trip to Vaishno Devi. Due to some strange cosmic conspiracy my every trip to the shrine is laden with a lot of stories. Even though we opted for the chopper service (to cut short the trip and have maximum amount of convenience) there were some developments courtesy IRCTC- because like fools we trusted the current Railway Minister's tall Twitter claims and took a direct train to Katra- that left us troubled. On the onward journey we were left without food and in the inward, the train was delayed by six hours and had no water in washrooms, basins and you can only imagine the kind of filth that was accumulating around us. Why just inside? Train journeys give you the best reality check about the apathetic conditions that your countrymen are living in when you peep outside. Their living conditions assure you that India can never ever become a first world country because some of our own people are living in literal shit holes.
I do not want to get into the 'bads' of the trip because at some point of time you have all experienced this. What truly was the highlight of the trip was that one awakening I got which I think has helped me as a mother of two kids- I finally found that one trait which I should pass on to my children.
There are three incidents which cemented my belief in this trait:
1) A fellow passenger on our Delhi-Katra train who went out of his way to ensure we reached Katra on time (as the train was indefinitely late and we got off at Jammu because he was a local and extended help). He not only got us a cab, he stood there, seeing us off and stayed in touch ensuring we had reached fine and if we needed anything on our way back.
2) My Dad assuring the porters we met at the Helipad, who told him how demonetization was affecting their earnings and took their services (paying them extra) even when we didn't really need them.
3) The appalling state of people who live in slums around Railway tracks and the cringing feeling to do something about them as they need the attention of their fellow citizens because governments have definitely failed them.
What is that one thing that binds the above three incidents? It is Kindness. I have resolved to make V and N kind before they become anything else. They can get low scores in their exams, they can fail in sports, they can be fussy eaters and they can totally make some mistakes but I believe that if they are kind, everything will eventually be fine. When they are around, people should feel comfortable. All their actions should touch lives. They should have a kind heart that is sensitive about wrongs around them and urges them to do something about it. People should trust them for their thoughtfulness and know that they ll make everything alright.
How to do it? Lead by example. We need to, as parents, set examples around them so they value how our kindness changed someone's life. We should share with them how someone else's kind gesture made a difference to our lives. We need to tell them that sometimes they will have to think about others before them. We need to assure them that if everyone becomes kind hearted, the troubles of this world will be lesser.
I am on it, you should start too :)