In this series titled as "Myths and Matters" I am presenting few "Moments of Truth" that unfolds in our life as wisdom after we suffer due to false understanding of our relationship with our loved ones or life events. When this wisdom dawns on us we have nearly finished our life and hardly left with few years to apply these wisdom to achieve peace of mind. It is prudent to learn from other's mistakes, as we may not have time to commit all of them by ourselves, as our life span is insufficient to do that. In this series I briefly cover one topic at a time about the false understanding as "The Myth" and offer few suggestions under the heading "What Matters". Myth means ‘Widely held false belief or idea’ which we have inherited either from our parents or social interactions and they have no scientific basis or real existence. Unfortunately the outcome is the result of what we believe – Edison believed that there could be a device that will illuminate and found an electric bulb.
We live our life out of these Myths, which acts like the operating system of the computer and we helplessly suffer due to their effects. I remember Bhagwan Shri. Ramakrishna Paramahansa once said, “If you wear a red color glass the whole world will look red”. The problem is seeing through a pair of wrong lens and if we want to see the reality we need to wear a clear lens. A change in our perspective will change the way we experience this World. I am of the view 90% of the sufferings we undergo are due to our own creation and the balance is destiny. It is like what Swami Vivekananda said, “We weave a net around ourselves and later complain that we are struck”. Common man never wants to accept this because we always feel ‘we are right & others are wrong’. Please read the tips under the heading “What matters” for re-educating your mind to attain peace in your life.
Please note the serial number that appears on each topic to keep track of the serial. Although there is no sequence of reading, you will be benefitted if you read these topics in sequence for best results. I shall post one topic every Sunday to keep continuity and sustain your patronage. If you find these topics useful, kindly join this blog as follower to get automatic update through your email when I publish any new post. To follow this blog please click the button “Join this site” situated on the right side of this blog and follow through the instructions.
One of the myths that haunt the modern parents is their strong desire to ‘Provide what they missed to their children’. In this post I wish to deal with this myth, which has many negative consequences in upbringing of our children. I could visualize many parents who read this statement are raising their eyebrows thinking ‘What else is the purpose of our life?’ I request them to read this important myth with open mind to get the insight that will help them to achieve their end in mind which is “The stature of their children when they grow up”. In the name of love, parents extend many privileges to their children that spoil their true development.
Those who have grown in under developed or developing country like India have been deprived of many basic needs during their childhood – good cloths, living conditions, food, amenities, entertainment etc. For many of us even education or college of their choice was a dream. For example in sixties as a teen-ager, I dreamt to join an engineering degree course and ended up in polytechnic as that is all my parents were afford to provide me at that time. As the eleventh child to my parents, I am glad that they could at least provide me a good start as a diploma engineer with which subsequently I could earn my engineering degree and M.S (Research) from IIT. The blessing in disguise was this debacle in teen age helped me to become a ‘self-made’ person. I strongly believe the old adage “Every problem is a seed of equivalent benefit”. We hate the seed but like the outcome from it. One has to have the patience to wait till the seed germinates.
I know many parents have grown up in a family with limited means and ended up with unfulfilled desires. Later they have made enough money in their professional life. Often I noticed them having a tendency to pamper their children by providing too much freedom and end up over feeding them. Let us examine where this behavior stems from? Human beings have a deep desire to fulfill what he or she missed during their childhood – for example engineering degree education in my case or good food of my choice. This obsession remains in the sub-conscious mind and waiting to get fulfilled before we disappear from this planet.
Hindu philosophy calls these tendencies as “Vasana”. The Veda proclaims that the reason for re-birth is to complete these Vasana’s and after death the soul will find its abode to manifest these unfinished desires. This is the philosophy of re-incarnation according to Veda. The concept of “Nirvana” is ending these re-births through the purgation of Vasana’s. Hindus believe that Nirvana is the ultimate aim of human existence. It appears that the plan of the divine is to drive us endlessly in pursuit of exhausting Vasana’s till we merge with the ‘Ultimate’. This explains the reason why we try to relive through our children. Look strange? But true!
When we have children we get another opportunity to re-live our life through them. They are innocent and defenseless for whom we as the parents make all decisions. We want them to wear the dress, eat the food, study the course, and take the profession what we missed! Our mind says that ‘we are doing all this for the benefit of our children’ and brag about saying “I want to provide all that my children wants as I was deprived of it when I was young”. But in reality we are trying to re-live our life once again through our children, which is not known to our conscious mind and like a robot we manifest our sub-conscious desires. Eventually, most of the parents try to make their children as their “Photocopy”. This is foolishness as every human being has come to this planet to fulfill a specific purpose. In reality, we disguise our second life in the form of our children but portray as through we are taking care of all needs of our offsprings. An average parent cannot appreciate these facts and my blog is not intended for those unintelligent people.
In the first instance we need to appreciate the fact that our children belong to a new generation as they have born in a far different ambience than we have born. This includes the technology, social environment, economy and many other factors. They are far more intelligent than us due to the evolution as Darwin identified. It is unfair to dump our outdated stuff upon them, as most them are obsolete except certain values & principles. The following tips would help to overcome this syndrome and letting our children to blossom on their own:
Tip-1: Struggle is manure for growth
Analyzing the statistics of successful people, we find most of them have struggled to come up to the position they held or holding; as Dr. Abdul Kalam who held the highest office in the country came from a poor family. In fact their suffering acted as the manure for their growth. As Sree Sree Ravishankar said, “Struggle is like manure – it will stink but provide the essence for growth”. On the other hand, we have witnessed many children have become astray who were pampered excessively by their parents. I strongly attribute the root cause for this is from the excessive pampering by their parents. Let us examine what is the best paradigm and strategy to overcome this syndrome. If you observe the nature all species after birth struggle to survive – a calf struggle to walk, tiger cubs tries to escape from their predators etc. Their parents provide support only and otherwise they are on their own. Their instinct to survive is the motive for them to grow on their own. This is a natural process and not different for human beings. Einstein once said “Only animals are happy when their little one don’t return home”
Anything needs to get better it needs suffering in the beginning “Gold glitters only when heated & beaten and diamond needs grinding to glitter”. You can appreciate water only when you return from the hot sun.
Tip-2: Wisdom stems from suffering:
Parents often feel that sharing their outdated information with their children is giving wisdom. Many times I myself told my children “On those days when I went to college my dad used to give me only 4 Anas (4 Ana is the old Indian coin equivalent to 25 naya paise). Strangely these coins have lost their value these days and you cannot even see them! These sayings are the empty ‘autobiography’ which is of no use to our children these days. Information is not wisdom; only when the children experience, it becomes wisdom. For example all of us learned that fire hurts only by touching a hot object not by parents cautioning us. It is called ‘existential learning’ which sticks forever. There is no shortcut for existential learning except ‘experiencing’ it. Parents need to accept the child falling down few times while it tries to walk.
Tip-3: Over nurturing is a mental disorder:
Among the 11 mental blocks psychology describes ‘Over Nurturing’ is one among them – it is a sort of a mental disorder due to which the victim is suffocated by too much of parental care. When we put a seed in the ground and watered it, we have to wait for a while for the plant to germinate and become a seedling. If we pour too much water or manure the seed will get destroyed, as there is no shortcut for the plant to grow which has its own gestation period. The hen has to patiently sit over the eggs for 21 days for the chick to come out on its own. The hen does not break the shell but the chick does; it knows when and how to come out. If we accelerate the process by heating the egg using a Bunsen burner, the chick wont come out but the fried egg will be ready to eat!! Let the child explore the World, as it knows what to do like the chick and if you over nurture it will feels suffocated and run away from you.
Tip-4: Goal orientation creates purpose
Setting goals and achieving is the main ingredient for human beings as it creates a sense of purpose for life. The famous psychoanalyst Dr. Victor Frankle who survived the Nazi camp, postulated the ‘Logo Therapy’ – ‘Logo’ means purpose and therapy means ‘treatment’. He cured many depressed people who were about to commit suicide by helping them to find a ‘purpose’ for their existence. Lack of purpose and goal in life is the main reason why many children become drug addicts. We become insane only when we lost our purpose in life. I am of the view ‘purpose & goal’ cannot be supplied to our children by parents and it has to be found by them. After all parents can provide assistance and act as a coach. By providing all comforts and means to our children we are depriving them of this greatest force “Finding purpose & goal” of their life. In the name of providing comfort, don’t destroy this greatest force nature has provided to human beings. Many parents give money, car and freedom to roam anywhere in the name of keeping them happy and finally see them as wreck. This is because they have nothing to accomplish in their life. Every one pampered doesn’t become a Buddha and we are not king Suddhodana (Father of Gautama - Lord Buddha)
Tip-5: Let us not re-live our missed Life
It is important to understand that “What we missed is missed for ever” and trying to recreate through our children is neither going to satisfy our children or us. They have come here for some other purpose. Hence completing our past by reconciling the fact that was what we were destined to get. Let us not find a rebirth through our children. It is difficult but possible if you are conscious of it.
Tipi-6: Give your children what they ‘Need’ & not what they ‘Want’
There is a subtle difference between “Need” and “Wants”, the former is a must like food, education, cloths etc. The ‘Want’ is surplus which often spoils the children such as ‘video games’, ‘junk food’, ‘surplus money’ etc. As parents we need to have clear distinction between need & wants. Just because we have surplus money that does not mean that we can show our affluence by getting anything that the child wants which destroys their goal orientation.
Tip-7: Let your children experience a bit of struggle
Even when we feed the chicks in the poultry the fodder is often hidden below the hay. This is due to the fact that the chicks have to struggle to find their food, which gives them a sense of accomplishment. Similarly we need to allow our children to struggle to find a path for their life, which they feel that they have earned and pursue with passion. Let our children experience a hostel life for a while which makes them self-made and responsible. The home grown pampered children often lacks discipline and gets beaten up once they go for employment where they are disciplined by their bosses. Discipline starts from home.
Tipi-8: Be a mentor & coach
This requires a bit of philosophical approach to recognize that “Our children came through us and don’t belong to us” (please read my first episode on the same topic). It is an audacity for us to feel as parents that we can guide our children, which is stemming from the belief that “we are wiser than them”. I personally feel that my children are ahead of time due to their exposure, which is far better than my formative days where there were no TV, Internet, cell phones etc. Many times I am better off when I am guided by my children than I am guiding them. This needs a high degree of humility and perspective to accept that some one younger than us is wiser. In essence ideally we should be a facilitator to our children than a guide.
Tip-9: The seed has its own intelligence
The mango seed knows that it has to grow as a mango tree without any intervention. This is due to the fact it has the mango tree in the un-manifested form in it. It does not sprout as a seed link when we keep the seed on the table; but when we place it below the fertile land and pour water it grows beautifully. When the seed has the right ambience it grows. Like wise our children will grow if they are provided the right ambience. If the mango seed can have the intelligence why not an evolved human species? Lets us not misrepresent the excessive comfort we provide as an ambience to grow. “Comfort which is not earned destroys motivation to explore”. Deliberately provide a bit of struggle for the little boy or girl to feel the sense of accomplishment.
God bless you a wonderful parenting experience
Many more Myths & Matters to follow