The joy of parenting lies within its seeming perennial burden: indeed, it is no small job to partake in. It’s been said that from womb to tomb, a child will always be a child in the eyes of his/her parents; perhaps this becomes problematic than we expect. No doubt, parents will always want the best for their children, but what if their plans were just time-worn or outdated? Time, as slow as it may seem, often outruns our expectations for the future. This article takes a closer look at the well known dynamics affecting the role of parents. Are they still in the past, yet trying to enforce the future?
“A Bouncing Baby Boy” vs “It’s a Girl”
Right from birth, or even before birth, a sort of distinction between the male and female species has been made. It so happens that there’s a sort of “quiet” celebration when a girl child is forthcoming, and vice versa for the male child. Somehow, parents seem to have an outline of the entire future for their children: what schools they’ll go to, the vocation they’ll do, etc. If only the babies could decipher their parents’ thoughts. Perhaps that’s why some of them cry with so much rage – just joking! It all happens within a single statement from the doctor.
Right-Handed Or Wrong-Handed
Even from our local languages, the left hand is often given a derogatory name. It becomes little wonder that many parents tend not to accept the fact that a child is oriented to being a leftist. Of course, there is nothing wrong (medically speaking) with being left-handed – it’s a matter of which side of the brain (cerebral hemisphere) controlling motor activities. But what do we see in reality? Variable weights are tied to left hands of children, and repeated verbal reproach for the use of the left hand. Somehow, the child begins to feel he/she is, in a way, abnormal. But it’s a bitter pill for parents to swallow. Even my parents who are educated still occasionally view my left-handed cousin as clumsy and weird: “You can’t even eat with your right hand?”
“Do Your Mates Have Two Heads?”
As school begins, it is the expectation of every parent that their children come out tops in class. But is this possible? NO. Never! (Except each child has his/her own private school.) It’s good to encourage children to do better at school, but we must realize that it is not a battlefield where the winner takes all. Each child is unique in his/her own way, but instead of assessing children based on their abilities and cognition, we do so on the basis of what position they came in school. Is the child who came last in class worse off? Very unlikely. Perhaps parents make them think so. There was a time I slipped from 1st to 4th position. “You must stop watching TV”, my father said, “It’s making you lazy.” Was he right? Maybe…perhaps he saw something.
“Doctor”, “Engineer”, “Lawyer”, Or Nothing Else
What if the first son of the family has an interest in photography? Does he stand in the line of favour from his parents? Not likely. In a bid that their children be successful, most parents feel children must partake in the societal “elite” jobs. Consideration of the child’s passion and interest becomes a secondary thing. We often hear of disputes between parents and children concerning their course of choice. Filling of the Matriculation Examination form becomes a debate. It’s a shame that the option of “lesser” courses comes as a last-minute decision. Perhaps my mother wants to be addressed as “Mama Doctor”. Can I blame her?
Would I Do Better?
From all that’s been written so far, one may think I’m trying to hype the mentality of the younger generation (the so called Generation Next). But no! Generation Next is likely to be outdated in the coming twenty to thirty years. Why? Already, many young people believe there’s not much to be changed in the future. Believe me, 3-D TVs and 4G internet facilities would become outdated; so also would be our present mentality. Our prospective children may face different circumstances and challenges, and it’s up to the Generation Next to remain “updated” or stand the chance of being obsolete; but more importantly, are we going to be an impediment to our children? It starts with the realization that we are never too smart to bend to the wind of change.
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