Children can be our biggest teachers, even sometimes our saviours. Their unconditional love, innocence and dependency not just cause us to reach out for the best in us, but can teach us our biggest lessons, says Radha R Biswas
|Mamlu Chatterjee with her daughter Kiki|
In Silas Marner, the 19th century classic by George Eliot, a curmudgeonly, miserly man, Silas Marner, who has withdrawn from society and fled his community after being wrongfully persecuted for a crime he did not commit, finds love and redemption when he chances upon an abandoned baby girl and decides to raise her. The child’s love pulls a defeated adult out of self-imposed exile, and makes him a better person, who eventually finds both justice and happiness. The child gives birth to a reborn man, his better self.
From the moment they are born, for many of us, our children become the most important relationship in our lives. And from that first moment that we begin to expect, we also start to expect the joys and wonders of parenting. Mothers testify to how the birth of their children, especially the firstborn, gave them the greatest moment of joy, a moment of pure euphoria, in their lives. Many fathers also say that children change their lives for the better. Some adults say how they actually finally grew up the day they became parents.
Parenting is not necessarily always a guaranteed source of happiness and joy and raising a child can be stressful. So what is it that becoming a parent does? Can a child make you a better person, can children trigger off a transformation in a parent?
When I posed this question to friends and family, I found that most acknowledged a transformative power that children exert – in small and big ways. “Patience” is a key lesson of parenthood, a fact which every parent will testify to—from toddler tantrums to teenage mutiny, whether we are learning the lesson well or not! There are others too. Children, most agree, keep you honest, or as honest as possible – about the world, about reality, about yourself, because they can see through you most of the time, and it is just plain embarrassing to be caught out by your child!
But there are other lessons too. From honesty, to shedding deeply ingrained habits; from empathy to slowing down and taking note of life; from healing from life’s wounds to rediscovering the self, children are sometimes our best teachers and guides. And in
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