By Shivi Verma
A talk with her parents revealed to Shivi Verma the secret of raising well-balanced children
Once upon a time my mother was often criticised by her peers for her lack of house-keeping skills. The truth, however, was that she had too much on her plate and was doing her best to keep everything together. She had a six-day-week job, two active children, household duties, social obligations and a constantly-on-tour husband to look after. But her critics chose to overlook her achievements and focus on one department where she couldn’t do full justice because of her constraints.
Similarly, my father was criticised for being too affectionate and indulgent towards his daughters, often ignoring the need to instil discipline and exercise control. "The girls will get spoilt," used to be a common refrain among my close relatives. They were constantly compared with couples whose homes shone like a diamond shop and whose children were the epitome of perfection; well dressed, well-behaved, and top scorers in school.
Such comparisons made me doubt my intelligence, ability, and true worth, and I had a hard time overcoming these thought patterns.
But now, years later, I cannot but be amazed when the same people ask my parents the secret to raising good children. Apparently, their own kids failed them and did not turn out as they were expected to. Many show little concern for their parent's hard earned money, health, or their basic need for respect, and often do things which are frowned upon by the society.
Modest as my folks are, they make light of these curiosities and divert the topic of the conversation. But this time I couldn’t stop myself and asked them what they did which was different from others. Our values were being praised and I didn’t remember them giving us sermons on being good women.
And both said something which increased my respect for them.
My mother said, “All my life, knowing my priorities was everything. After a hectic day at work, it was more important for me to spend time with children and know their hearts and mind instead of worrying that the clothes needed to be folded or the cushions straightened. My time was at premium and I couldn’t be bothered about what people thought about my house-keeping, if that meant expending my remaining energies on sprucing up the house to leave a good impression. I did clean my house but never obsessed over it. For me, your health, happiness, and knowing what you were upto was more important."
Said my father, “I wanted to love you both so much so that you never had to look for love outside. Rather, I could never stop myself from expressing my love for the fear of spoiling you. I did what came naturally to me. And I never gave you sermons on developing a good moral character because I deeply believed that if I led a scrupulous life, my children too would be honest and truthful. I never led an immoral life, chasing or harassing girls, cheating on your mother, believing that if my conduct was upright my children too would turn out similarly. And I am proud that my conviction was proven right."
This was a profound revelation for me, and I could vouch for the efficacy of this claim. My parents' show of deep love and faith in us did in fact make us want to uphold their trust and not let them down. The confidence, which practising their principles gave them, was enough to enter our subconscious. Like all children we observed what they did, instead of what they said, which left a lasting impression on our minds.
Editor of Life Positive, Shivi Verma is a devotee
who found all her answers in loving God
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