Dibakar Dutta is a young and prolific writer on Quora. He is one of my favourites as of today and I love most of his works. And, thus I got very feverish when he asked me a question there on Quora. The question was, “Would you raise your children like your parents raised you?” I thought over it for a few minutes and began to churn out words with my thoughts entwined into them. Here is what I came up with.
I would improvize.
My parents were great at touching most of the imperatives that build a child into a responsible and self-sufficient being. I will likely use the core principles and tenets which they raised me on, which I believe turned out to be great for me. However, there are certain aspects where I would improvize over their methodologies. I am underling six such imperatives which I believe are going to make me a proud Daddy of my super kids!
Maybe it was the societal norms that fettered Maa and Papa from talking to me about sex, menstruation, puberty, periods and more. But, I would never refrain from talking to my children about any of those. I know how I ended up learning those things the hard way from equally greenhorn friends and the vicious resources from the internet.
What I learned the hard way will be purveyed to my dearest kids in the most overt manner in my capacity probably as soon as they hit 8 or 9 years of age. That is a commitment that comes from my own hardships, confusions and endless conjectures that internet had to proffer.
I would also never emphasize on them to study much and earn the grades. I know that when my parents grew, those were the things that really mattered. So, my parent’s thoughts were framed accordingly and that’s why they wanted me to score over the ninety percentage mark every time.
But, times have changed and I have been a witness to those. And being that witness I have learned that it is not the study and grades which speak for one’s abilities anymore. Rather, it’s the skills that matter. So, I would focus on just one thing to brace my kids up for the practical world out there- Making them skillful and master of at least one of the skills.
Be it coding, painting, singing, dancing, writing, sports, robotics or even doodling- I would place their interests above the studies and grading systems all the time. My kids will be poised to become the best in what domain they choose as their daddy will ensure the required environment and resources! Skills first. Grades later.
I would always teach my kids by example. As stated in the point above- I would make them sweat to earn a wide skillset and master of at least one particular skill. I won’t do that by simply getting them enrolled into classes, specialized tutors and making them practice a lot.
Rather, I would also show that this process of learning should never stop. While my kiddo will be 10 and practicing sketching, I will be 40 honing my skills as a martial artist. I will show him/her that even at the age of 40, I am still learning and sweating to be better every day.
And, this way I would try to be the example that they would wish to live up to. I would try to be the parent who will be a forever learning partner to my kids. My parents always told me to be better. For my kids, I’ll improvize by learning things in tandem with them.
Oh! I would push them to fall, get bruised, bleed and learn from the strongest teacher of all, The Scathing Life. I won’t stand by their side all the time to shield them from getting into troubles. Rather, I would stand behind them and let them deal with the problems first. My daughter had a break up at the age of fifteen? I will be the happiest Daddy in the world.
This would help her evolve into a mentally stronger and viscerally more resilient person. Did she get into an ugly brawl with someone and doesn’t wants to go to school the next day as she would have to face them? I would coax her into going to the school and make her face others with heads high and brimming confidence. She will be carved into the boldest and most confident person.
As far as building the emotional self is concerned, I would encourage him or her to make lots of mistakes at the ages of 10-25. This would make them capable and bold enough to face any problems that life may throw at them in the future. This way, they would grow into mature and capable kids. My only aim will be that they should be better than me in facing the challenges and travails of life! I will then be the proud Daddy grooving his moustaches.
I would be their partner in crime! I would never bar them from doing things that are not good for them. Rather, I would make them try all of those things under my supervision (Which they won’t be aware of) to make them realize why it’s advised to not do certain things.
For instance, I’ll be the parent who will himself buy his kids their first drinks. I would let them commit the mistake once and let them form their own experiences. I will allow their rationale to evolve with legitimate real life experiences, reasons and observations to make them understand why certain things are bad for them.
I know that when I was told to not do something, there always gestated a small ignition which would want me to try that thing. So, I simply would extinguish that tiny ignition for once and forever rather than letting it stay in there until one day, it turns into an unbridled fire!
And, the most important part. I would never make the mistake of pushing my kids into following any particular religion or Gods. I would allow them to grow free of any such ideas or thoughts. I would purvey them an environment to explore the world on their own and let the wise head on their shoulders make take big decision- Do they wish to follow any particular religion or bow down to any supreme almighty or not!
I would want them to human and true. Nothing more than that. And, if they wish to give those traits the backing of any particular religion they would be free to do so. But, it would be them and only them deciding that after they are mature enough to take such decisions. I would never let myself or my beloved to take that decision for my progenies. That’s a stronghold I am going to stick to.
Those are the six pillars that I wish to grow my kids around. It’s easy to say, “I am my child’s best friend.” But, in my purview adhering to those aforementioned imperatives would help me ensure that I will be way more than just a best friend my kids would need. I’ll be their first love. That’s the big goal I am going to strive for.