We all want our kids to grow in life…become Doctors, Engineers (yes, even now), Scientists, IAS Officers (i would have loved to, had there been less corruption). And we try to achieve that by asking our kids to study day in, day out. Guess what? The stress to perform gets overwhelming for some and they even go into depression. Most of them who survive, end up just being Engineers, like me. I say ‘just’ because Engineering feels like bare minimum to me these days. I heard once, ‘beta engineering to kar hi lena, naak mat katana.’ However, i also did a full-time MBA from a reputed institute in India, so now my Parents say i have decent qualifications.
I had a pretty good time growing up. When i was in school, my Father was a Professor in college and he was head of organizing committee for annual outings for his students. He would take the entire family along during those trips (and paid for us all). I remember being to Kullu, Manali and Manikaran on one such trip. Those trips served twin purposes for me and my sister – learning about the world while getting entertained. Below is a picture in Manali from that college tour way back in the 90’s.
My Dad’s thinking was to give us an equal opportunity to enjoy ourselves…that would ensure our all-round development. I was never pressurized to perform in studies and neither was my sister. My Parents were practical and knew i didn’t have the capabilities to become a Doctor, so we never ever talked about it (i always wanted to marry a doctor though). Since he taught Chemistry, Engineering was a natural career for me and that’s what i followed myself.
Apart from Studies, i used to play Cricket a lot. I had a craze at one time to become a prominent Cricketer (who doesn’t have in India anyway?) and I would play for hours together every weekend. Again, no objections from my parents…maybe they knew i would leave it all one day and play Carrom with them finally. Or, maybe, they knew growing out of things is a part of growing up. They always gave us room to learn from experience. I didn’t have a tough time leaving Cricket since i had started enjoying studies by then. I even prepared for IITs, but we all knew I was not that kind of material!
When we all played carrom, our parents would teach me and my sister as to how life should be lived. They believed – fun and lessons in life should go together. Since we enjoyed our time, those teachings directly went in our heads. And that is how the values they taught are deep rooted in us. Slowly, i started spending more time with family and their daily activities and learnt some invaluable lessons. Brand Chocos from Kellogg’s has classified such moments between parent and child as ‘Khushi Ke Pal.’
In my case, had my parents used tough methods on me, i would have not even passed basic qualifications. Their love and care and open mindset for what i wanted made sure i was heard and they convey their wisdom in a way i understand. In the process they grew themselves and learned from my highs and lows, which came in handy with my younger sister. Sometimes, we take advantage of the liberties we have, but i was given their piece of mind whenever they thought i was slipping away…again, in a way that enforced positive behavior in me.
Fast forward to my MBA days, i met my wife online and we got into discussions. In a few weeks, we started liking each other and told our parents. Since she was also from my hometown, i asked my mother to meet her. My mom knew by then i would not take a wrong decision; but my parents also had a checklist of sorts for their prospective daughter-in-law. She listened to me and asked, kitni sundar hai?, padhi likhi hai kya? It was such a pleasant discussion and i was all blushing…it strengthened our bond further. She agreed to meet her and that day is captured in the pic below. Rest is all history as our ‘Khushi Ke Pal’ took another leap!
Thinking about it all now, my parents were teaching me some wise lessons through a concept formally called buddy parenting. No brute force, teaching kids by befriending them so they take it positively and are motivated to accept your point of view. It is a win-win situation as both parents and kids learn in the process and grow together, so no one is left behind.
I would love to see such bonding flourish in the age we are in, where kids already know a lot. Such relationships allow kids to enjoy their childhood while being unfettered and fearless. This philosophy is articulated as ‘Khuljaye Bachpan’ by Kellogg’s. You can share such memories too and read more about them here: https://www.facebook.com/mychocos