Wednesday, August 27, 2014

What do I want From My children...and for my children…?

Somebody asked me this question and I wondered …a whole set of insights and interrogations tumbled into my mind and heart…the musings have brought in lot of thoughts and still I am far from concluding….
First things first! If I have to quote Gibran...your children come through you and not for you ….I read it as a young teenager and ever since I held my babies in my hand and helped them grow...I have kept this adage in my heart. Really, do I even have a right to expect anything for or from my children? Are they responsible for my happiness or growth or sense of wellbeing? The answers I got are what I need to pen down… Rather type down. So if ever I were to leave this path of letting them be...I can bring myself back on track .What I expect from my children also was very revealing to me and quite startling...a little unconventional and little out of the ordinary…

Let me get down to what and how I think I want to be Able to see, relate and function with my kids… very cliché I WANT THEM TO BE HAPPY.
What is new, anyone would ask, every- one wants that .There is not a single parent on this earth who would not claim this one. Even then look closely. Every parent gets very closely interlinked with their growing up and their own possible economic, social and psychological struggle. As adulthood is the time when pressures are on financially and socially to adhere to a certain standards ...certain choices and activities parents undertake because they are mandatory, expected …at times can be deemed as sacrifice by them. At many junctures in life they may have to give up on certain aspirations of their own…not pursue a certain career path or relocation idea. These then on occasions are passed on to the kids to fulfil. Children because they love their parents may oblige simply to fall in line, express their unconditional love or simply to seek approval. This may be at the expense of then what they really want. Result lack of inner glow and now what I define as true happiness. I want my children to do something only and only because it inspires them interests them…it ignites them .I do not ever wish that they may be the recipient of any of my unfulfilled wants and grouses with life. I want this in everything they do. Even if they join a certain activity, if they choose a career path, if they choose a life partner …it should be their heart felt decision. If it makes them sing with joy...laugh with abundance and smile cheekily with acceptance it should be all theirs.
One would ask “Would you never wish that they be a certain way?” Oh yes! I do but I would rather share my expectations and leave it at that .Yes I am a human being and I do have expectations but I am training to tame them and not let them turn into obsession. I have seen mothers run from one class to another just so they can claim the credit of their ward’s glory …it kind of fulfils them…I want to have my own avenues to fulfil me. With my kids, all I want is, simply be proud of their laurels and a tissue paper for catching their tears of failures. I want to be there as a confidant simply examining both and preparing further. The key word that I wish to emphasize is LOCUS OF CONTROL. I would truly sigh in peace if my kids have a locus of control, a sense of “I am in charge of what happens to me”.

Many situations came in life for which I was not prepared …for no one had ever prepared...maybe no one can prepare you. No one can really help you deal with cruel inhuman people or situations. Life is, at times, not fair or it does not go as per our plans. That is time a person’s inner power needs to take charge and say ok- this-happened-now-I-will-deal-with-this. Go ahead and devise intelligent ways of thinking and coping with it. Always the focus should be on creating something positive out of a given circumstance and add to it loads and loads of sense of humour.

That is another expectation from my dear Miracles. I have been to nasty hospitals where staff was at best inhuman, unkind and ill- mannered.  I have been to Police station, sorry! Have been dragged to one for no rhyme or reason and humiliated…….and I have been to a situation of helplessness and utter despair. Yet, when I look back at these events and recount them to either to my kids or someone close all it generates is a quirky take on human behaviour and gaffe…It has helped me tremendously to be able to take it all in my stride for I have this uncanny sense of humour for a companion .It cannot be given has to be inculcated by always observing keenly humans and the situations around. We are constantly living in the midst of a hilarious existence and it comes truly handy…to observe it and use it to weave anecdotes of your past- significant account of your past and present…I would love even today to put out my tongue at a kid whizzing by on a nearby bike without even knowing who he or she is and get a smile or frown…It helps me love life and smile .So yes I want that my kids learn to appreciate this truly circus of an existence…enjoy smiling ...spread smile wherever they go ..and not allow anything much to keep them down for long .Whatever, life doles out, they catch it with a Responsible shake of head (locus of control) and sassy smile at the twists and turns of life (sense of humour) Laughing at times gets back a sense of We- can- handle- it- grip so to speak….worst of quarrels with my hubby well went off due to one of us calling on this seedy side of us or one of us would have borne the LATE SO-N-SO-title for sure ...yes!!! We are foe to be reckoned with when we yell murder ...gross!!! but one of us pealing into laughter at the absurdity of it all and laughing at it through the rest of the times have kept us intact all these two decades…and counting…

On musing further a truly funny thought crossed my silly mind and that is I WANT MY KIDS TO BE ECONOMICALLY INDEPENDENT sooner than later…Honestly when I look back at our ancient society kids matured early mentally and gender specific they were ready to adopt their duties...girls learned household and culture management…boys ready to pool in with whatever it is that father did.
I am in no ways advocating child marriage or exploitation here…only the readiness created in that ancient society in them as to when they shall partake of their responsibilities and begin fending for themselves .Girls knew their way around the house and boys the outside zone…I wish to make my kids ready in every possible way to fend for themselves .It is an unspoken fear of mine “what if I am not there someday?” Silly but ask any parent and they will own up to entertaining this fear deep in the recesses of their hearts .I am only honest enough to word it. …So I want that my boys should cook, clean and have a knowhow of what to buy and how to buy of everything...from grocery to grains to stationery to you name it...I would love it if my boys would just as easily balance a cheque book of their personal account as much as they begin depositing money they themselves have earned .However in today’s time it looks not too likely .I have seen societal expectations allowing kids to be students till the middle of their lives...acquiring degrees and certificates. Later overcharging their customers for the money they invested...ok little judgemental am I!!!! Apologise for this, if I hurt sentiments.

Career too is something I feel is not static .In our times we studied for a degree and that was that our career was made were a banker, teacher, officer...nine to five slave….However today we live in fluid times... careers change ...people change…opportunities change …availability changes…so sky is the limit for kids living in this time. Who is to say if the kid chose to study engineering today would not be excited to paint landscapes few years down the line…? Who is to say that an M.B.A. may not give up the corporate path and walk the lane to spirituality or go on to become a renowned writer? Who is to predict anything ?There are examples galore to quote the above instances…All that counts is Being happy and to get that thing called Satisfaction out of life …contentment.

So, as a mother I share fully my traits with my kids. I share my humorous sad stories with them and affirm I laugh in spite of them. I cook with them in the kitchen different cuisines and demonstrate you can learn just about anything. I share my passion for everything with them …right from Spirituality learning new languages….to sharing my craziness on a tele–serial and its characters….to show them that sometimes I just feel tired and plonk on the bed lazy as a hippopotamus on leave…to being super active on exam schedules in tuition class ( kids exams for us) ….to being philosophical on issues which moms never discuss with their sons ...I do…From rape to racism…everything….to teaching them to rise to every occasion that demands flexibility…what applied today may have to change tomorrow and we have to be ready for it….

Whatever they do in life they will find me an excited friend onto a journey who has only pointers to a way. A readiness to walk with them as long as they want me to with them…and when the detour comes if it does…I have plenty yet to share...laugh and live…

Musings shall continue…do stay tuned, with me if you like and give your valuable may differ from mine but we all will learn from sharing…

© Sonnal Pardiwala

Unrequited love-How necessary is it?

                     Unrequited love-How necessary is it?

      As a culture , we Indians are an emotional lot. We have grown up on a steady dope of films depicting tons of characters this emotional drama. We have surely felt the pain of the ones whose love has not been returned .It is a sure fire cash in for today ‘s tele-shows to get eye balls and sure as hell drags the tears out.
As a person I am just amused at the absurdity and immaturity of it all. As a Mother I am worried..very very worried. My children are growing and soon they shall walk the lanes of finding their significant other .Soon they will harbour in their hearts feelings for that someone special. I feel responsible ,very ,very responsible as to how do I get to talk to my children on these facts. Sexual education will come a little later. Just now we talk about tender feelings and reciprocation of it.
As a tuition teacher ,I deal with adolescent kids who are too going through this phase.As a person who has been exposed to a whole gamut of relationships ,it is easy for me to see the smiles and the delicate exchanges first through the eyes and then …well…
What dampens my heart is to see a student pining away for someone who does not..will not..cannot return these feelings .They get so distracted then. They lose interest in their studies, in their work  per se. I guess even with adults the scene is more or less the same .For many of the so called adults are also stuck in the time frame of adolescence and have not yet grown up and out of the dramatics they nurture in their minds.
What then are the immediate effects?
First , loss of interest. Next ,intense sadness. Next maybe if the person is very sensitive ,lack of appetite and sleep.
What is of interest which seriously would require intervention is, Psychological and internal impact. There are various ways this can manifest.
Bitterness…intense and biting which may lead to unnecessary scenes and name calling…to subtle gossip and reputation tainting…depends again on the dynamics of the relationship and the clout of the person in question .Wider the network of people involved, broader the influence, deeper goes the darker side of this human nature. It can harm relationships…force people to take sides and create permanent gaps in otherwise friendly networks.
If the person in question is the silent sort, the hurt internalises. Somewhere the person finds himself or herself to blame. Feel one is unworthy not of the object of love but also of any kind of love .This can get so dangerous. Internalising the pain and probably carrying the low self-esteem to every other relationship that you may enter. What a waste, if it at times carries this defeated person to end one‘s life!!!!!
Where does the other party fit in? What can the other person do if he or she is just unable to reciprocate? After all we are here talking about an ethereal, zone called feelings. That is one thing maybe we can control but cannot generate voluntarily for any person.  You may like or not like a person. Love or not love a person. It is not a factory made product that can be cut to size or produced as per order. If the person is a friend imagine the guilt…resentment, awkwardness it may generate. Pity would be such an ugly word but another by-product for a poor thing in love but not loved.
Would it be not better if as parents we raise these topics and train kids to feel and respond!!! Ahhh !!! Respond a certain way and not react….??
If I have an Assertive right to feel for a person can I not give the same and sane option to another person to reserve the same Assertive right to not feel for me?
If a person could not love you would it rebound on you as an unworthy person of love forever or simply an equation not going our way for only and only that situation?
Why dramatize because tele serials and films do? Why think in letting go we are doing a huge sacrifice? That is what our culture endorses...we probably love tears and sniffles specially that are hidden ….
Why not give our gen next this point of view that they can take a mature stand and learn to recognise such instances as exceptions and not rules.
Each one of us has a unique space that we share in this world with others. Each one of us has something valuable we bring in this universe. Let us celebrate that instead of thinking as one slight on our ego?
If our gen next were to train…train in relationships would we not have less heart aches. Teach them to simply acknowledge a relationship that is not going their way .Talk to them that it has no long term bearing on what they are or who they are. Tell them that their mature shrug and let go attitude will make space for another special one to walk in. If they have less baggage they would soon bask in the new love. If they carry the bitterness of love spurned for sure they will begin playing unworthy me now you work double to convince me of my worthiness. The poor new one who has walked in to offer love now instead of loving has to indulge in damage control….
If we were to infuse our kids with their own worthiness…why should another loving or not loving define them? Their relationships would flow smoothly and they would be dignified in every encounter with any levels of relationships they enter. Relationships purpose to to enrich and enhance our existence but we make it a playground for games and the very people we love we push them into being our saviours.
Let us truly talk to our gen next about these important things that make up the tapestry of our life will be awkward at first our folks never did. But it will be worth a happy generation with less heartaches and more smiles as much for us as their near and dear ones…
Let us start early .We need to educate ourselves to educate our young beings…..pollution and global warming and poverty and injustice of the world maybe I cannot do much about. I can surely add to my kid’s happiness and I have begun the process …if only more would join me!!!!!!!
                                                                                 By SONNAL PARDIWALA