(Author – Soma Vyas)
“Child is the father of the Man”,was the topic of an essay competition in which I had participated during my high school days.That was pre internet era. I remember doing research in library for hours, getting quotes from famous people supporting this belief, news paper cuttings and what not!! Little did I know that the real meaning of this line would be taught to me in the most effective way by my own off springs. Well that was then… me as a high schooler with just the bookish knowledge…this is me now!!A mother of two boys, more worldly-wise, dealing with sometimes an ‘oh’ and sometime with a ‘wow’ moment but what a learning experience it is and I wouldn’t trade it for the world!!
Incident # 1: I have shared this with many of my friends so please bear with me if you are reading it here:)
As a thumb rule of parenting we as a couple try hard not to argue or fight in front of our kids no matter how serious the issue is! Once it happened that we both lost it in that heated moment, totally forgetting that my then 7 yr old was sitting and watching TV just around the corner. As soon as I realized it, I went to him and asked if he paid any attention to our arguments? He replied,” Yes Maa, I heard voices and could feel tears in your eyes. I actually don’t feel good when you two fight.”
” Then why didn’t you come to us and said something,You could have stopped us?” I asked him with a guilty tone.
His reply left me speechless,” I don’t think it was right on my part to interfere and I thought you guys are mature enough to handle it by yourself!!”
Spoken like a CEO of the company to his subordinates! That’s how I joke about this incident in front of family and friends but in the heart of my heart, I felt proud of his maturity and at the same time scared too. Scared that he had so much confidence in his elders, scared that God forbid but what if one day we disappoint him. I guess that’s the dilemma of all good parents. Being the role model for their kids they don’t want to disappoint them at any cost. That day my son taught me one of the most valuable lessons of parenting. When you become a parent you just can’t act like an individual you have to behave like a unit. Your kid is watching what kind of couple you are….indirectly you are shaping him or her as what kind of partners they would be in future.
Incident # 2: Another valuable lesson was taught by my 3 yr old. It was a transitional phase in our life. Two years back we moved from Bangalore to Boston and it was pretty cold at that time so not much outing for the kids. It was a new place, he didn’t start school yet so not many friends to play with, guess all that made him pretty cranky. International moving is not easy, lot to process, lots of flexibility, patience is needed so we all were running low on our patience ratio. A three-year old wouldn’t understand all that and so there were full tantrums, lots of screaming, crying and what not!! After many such incidents I started losing my patience. So to bring some discipline and authority to this chaotic situation I told him that if he continues to do that he has to sit alone in the room upstairs and nobody would come to him unless he stops screaming and listen to us. And this rule went on and on till one day….my elder son got hurt while playing and came home crying. While I was cleaning him up I thought it was a good opportunity to teach compassion to my younger one. I asked him to come and hug his brother as it would make him feel better. His immediate reply was,” No I won’t come.”
I was shocked as I knew that he loved his brother so much!!
I patiently tried to make him understand that it is a good thing if you show love and care to your crying brother, we do the same thing if you are crying and hurt.
His reply left me stunned and heavy in heart , ” No you don’t!! When I cry and scream you sent me upstairs and nobody comes there to love me.”
My eyes welled up with tears and I hugged him tightly saying sorry again and again. While I was trying to teach him discipline I forgot to balance another equally important factor…compassion!!That day my three-year taught me another valuable lesson of parenting,”Children learn what they live”!!
Incident # 3 : Whenever anything emotional touches me I make a mental note of it. To pen it down somewhere so that I don’t forget these valuable lesson. Above two incidents were already there since long, ready to be penned down … Just now another small incident happened; finally forcing me to pen down all these three in one article.
I don’t know if it happens with me or is it with every parent ?? The moment you call it a night … The sugar in their system gets an all time high!! Every night, same story, they will fight just before hitting the bed. Today was no different as it happened again ; as usual my younger one was throwing all the kicks and punches, hurting his brother’s thumb in the process. Finally I separated them and sternly told them to just go to sleep. I could hear my younger one’s sobs(not sure if they were pretend or real) and then heard my elder one trying to talk to him and making him laugh by cracking jokes. To avoid further drama I told him that he is all right and advised him to ignore and just sleep. At this my elder son said, ” Maa I don’t like it.. Going to bed like this, I can’t sleep like that. I have to make sure that he is no more upset.” And then he came and hugged his brother tightly, making sure that they don’t carry that fight for another day!! After that they both giggled for some time before falling asleep in each other’s arms.
They both slept while I kept looking at their faces, the innocence, the childhood bliss.. Egos and resistance were left far behind… where love for each other was more important than anger.
Next morning I hugged my elder one and told him that how proud he made me feel… he told me,”But Maa you only taught me!! Remember when I was small and sometime when I will get angry in the night…you never let me sleep without hugging me and making it right… I am just doing what you taught me!!” My eyes became moist with the knowledge and satisfaction that at least I am doing something right.If children are shown consideration and empathy, they learn to be patient and compassionate.
Thank you so much my kids for teaching me such valuable lessons of life… I just wish that we could follow it as easily as you two… Keep teaching my kids, keep teaching!!