I recently came across a forward in one of the family groups. The title read – Parent Induced Wastefulness (PIW). And, as I read through it, I wondered what took people so long to give these insights! We are already far ahead and, neck deep in this shit called – PIW!
An excerpt from this article I read mentioned about how the children aren’t future ready yet, as they are being shielded a tad too much by the parents from whom they work, bullying, peer pressures and other adversities that tag along.
It was not the first time I was reading such articles. And, it won’t be the last time either. However, it makes sense every time I chance upon reading something on these lines. In some ways, it is like a reminder to self that parenting is never going to be hundred percent ideal and yet, to meet the challenge of successful parenting, we often need to fall back on our own instincts to see that we raise good and independent human beings.
Good and Independent human beings….eh?
‘Good’ is always relative.
“How good??” is a question that extracts different answers from each.
But ‘Independent’ is not relative. There are certain things that you either depend on, or you don’t! And, that is exactly where my article pitches in to give an insight on how as parents, we are failing our children instead of, allowing them to fly on their own not only, independently but also responsibly.
It is here, I would like to share a conversation I gathered a few years back.
A: “I think the boy needs to stand on his feet. It is high time he understands that a job stability matters more because, money feeds the stomach and not, passion.”
(The boy being discussed here is a son of a deceased friend)
B: “yeah I agree. But then, doesn’t the same logic apply to your son too? I mean, he has just finished his graduation. Don’t you think, he needs to do the same and stand on his feet instead of relying on you to finance his higher education? I know of children who work hard, get scholarships on their merit and, become successful too..”
A: “See! I got the money to do it! I will help my son because I can afford to. But this boy we speak of doesn’t have that kind of monetary support. So he should act accordingly. And, I don’t see anything wrong in using my money for my children’s education.”
B: (Smiles sadly) “Oh dear! You don’t get it! How long will you support your children? Both your children are graduates, now staying abroad. They can work their way up from this moment onwards. Besides, don’t you have your own life to lead? You are already sixty! Haven’t you done enough? Time to do something for yourself too!
A: (smiles sadly) Yes, but staying abroad has its shares of struggles. And, my children don’t want to come back to India. Their happiness is more important to me. Besides, I am earning enough money. Why should that be a problem? I will retire when the children settle down.
B: Friend, it is not about money. It is about the flirt called time. It is not about whether we can or, cannot do for our children. It is more about whether they can, or cannot sustain without the comforts they have been provided all their lives. Trust me, they need to know what it feels like working their way up through adversities and hardships. You yourself are a self made man! What is stopping you from imparting the same lesson to your children?
A: That is the issue. They will be lost if I suddenly stop extending this monetary support to them. I need to make enough so that they can sustain in future.
B: Sorry to put this bluntly, but if you project yourself as a money making machine, your children will understand precisely that. There are times when NO may earn a temporary hate but will gain an everlasting respect in future.”
A: “I am prepared to be the ‘money making’ machine for my children. As such, I never really spent much time with them too. And, I have saved enough for my children and, I will make sure that they will never face such a day when they are deprived of the comforts they are so used to.”
B (knowing that A has understood but NOT willing to acknowledge the point) nods and, seals the discussion with a sad smile..
A’s children are studying abroad because the kids wanted to study abroad. The children haven’t aced any subject that they have taken to but, are doing what they can to stay where they are. Besides, A supports his children financially knowing that both his children haven’t bloomed enough to understand that self sustenance is no cake walk. And, who would know it better than A who rose from rags to riches through sheer hard work, honesty, determination and grit.
This for me, is a classic case of PARENT INDUCED WASTEFULNESS where the parents – A and his spouse have consciously chosen to blind fold themselves to unsee anything and everything that shall shatter their illusions of flawless parenting!
This is just one of the many incidents I have chanced upon.
Gone are the days when travelling by cheaper means to save money would actually make a positive impact on your savings.
Gone are the days when finding a particular tailor shop in a crowded place to get the dresses stitched, only because the tailor charged 20 rupees less saved you some considerable amount in your home budget.
Gone are the days when flying was reserved only for emergencies. At other times, trains and buses came in handy to help us reach from place A to place B.
Because, these days we all are comfort oriented beings. We need comforts and luxuries more than ever. Say, there is no electricity, we resort to an inverter and, if the inverter conks off, move to a generator! Let’s say we depend on machines more than we depend on our fellow human beings.
Strangely, we are imparting the same mindset to our children too. Sadly.
In case of ‘richer than rich’, the phenomenon of ‘take things for granted’ is on a different level of bunkum! Children do NOT prefer to study because they believe that money can buy them everything including, jobs, home and, a future. The will to start and finish a project is diluted the moment, parents feel that the children deserve every ounce of comfort. Now, there is NOTHING wrong with the parents’ wishing that for their children. What goes wrong from then onwards is, children assuming and then believing that, they deserve everything good in life without having to work towards them.
That is exactly where these fledglings misunderstand the benevolence of their parents and, incorrectly expect the world of big cats to treat them like royalty without pouncing on them. It is like a mouse that was deluded into believing that it is mightier than the elephant without having faced one ever! And, all problems begin henceforth!
I have a son who will turn seven soon. And, as much as I have been tempted to buy things for him only because I could afford, I am glad I never did (My husband and my parents have been a strong guidance for me in the parenting journey often reminding me that a child needs more of the parent’s time than the things he or she can buy with the money.)
Recently, I saw a huge minion soft toy in a mall we had visited a couple of months back and, my son loves minions, especially Kevin! I was tempted to buy it. All I had to do was not think much, swipe my card and, pack it for the son. The Minion cost 4000 bucks.
Over priced? YES.
The husband and I smiled at each other. We left the store without Kevin! Later, we realized that his fascination with minions was short lived and, he wasn’t really going to love it the same way all his life. That day was not about saving 4000 bucks. It was more about saving that 4000 bucks for something more useful.
Today, by God’s grace we may be in a position to spend. But, for some reason, our upbringing holds us back each time we are consumed by our desire to splurge. It is not about satiating the desire to shop. It is about knowing what retail therapy achieves in the long run other than just deducting from your bank balance and, adding unsolicited pounds to your waist line.
As parents, we indeed have a lot to introspect while we raise our children.
Our children should not be just independent. They should be responsible as well. So, are we responsible parents first?
Our children need to be a part of the house cleaning activities on weekends. But then, do we do it ourselves for them to follow? How else will they know about respecting every job?
Our children must travel by all means of transport to see all types of people. This prevents them from getting rude shocks in future. But then, are we prepared to step out of luxuries and, travel by means of transport we don’t find classy?
Our children must learn to solve their problems with their peers/friends at some basic level. Getting involved in their fights not only weakens us but them too. But, are we allowing ourselves to cultivate that confidence in them that they are capable of handling issues among peers?
Our children need to know the value of money, every penny earned. When they waste food in restaurants or at home, we tend to throw away the left over in the dumpster. Are we conscious enough to point out that wasting food and water is a crime? Well, are we conscious of the fact, ourselves?
I think the important lesson we need to impart to our children is – “Know to live below your means.” Only then will they learn to appreciate the good things in life without wrongly assuming that they simply deserved them as they descended from royalty!
Dear children, the world is harsh. The world is rude. The world believes in bullying. The world likes to intimidate everything genuine and good. But then, the same world shall also nudge you in the right direction by first making you take all the wrong turns and sometimes, even pushing you deep into potholes! And every time, you come back on the right path, bruised and broken, remember to thank the Universe for making you stronger, wiser and calmer than yesterday. Don’t waste your energy fighting the world. Instead, invest your energy in making yourself better than yesterday.
And remember, your parents’ fortune is NOT yours. It is THEIRS only. They will support you no matter what. But remember, they ARE NOT OBLIGED TO do the same, forever! Because, no one lives forever! That is the harsh truth about life!
You make your own fortune. So that, some day when you sit on the rocking chair with a pipe to smoke, you know you have lived your life on your terms without owing more than 80 percent of your success to anyone (because success unlike failure belongs to everyone who has helped you in your journey) and, even if you stumbled more than your peers, your success shall be absolutely yours to enjoy, only yours! Because, every brick of life that you built as an adult has only your name written on it.
And, that is all that matters.
Narayani Karthik is an army wife who is a software engineer by profession. After a three year stint in the IT industry, she dabbled in content writing for a while before she embarked on the most beautiful journey of her life – Motherhood. After having been a Stay-At-Home-Mom for about three years, she took to teaching pre-primary children. This experience helped her gain an insight into toddlers’ behavior and psychology. Besides being a book lover, she loves to cook for her man in olive-green (Yes, she is a Proud Army Wife!) and loves to spend a lot of time with her hyper active son – Arjun. And then, in some free time that she manages from her busier than busy schedule, she loves to blog at Swimming In An Ocean Of Thoughts…