In marital life bringing up children is one the most important roles that the parents have to perform. I am of the opinion that two individuals may rather remain single if they shun children.Marriage is followed by child birth sooner or later.Parenting is not an easy job.Parenting means that you take the responsibility of bringing a living individual in the world.Parenting does not mean that we bring a child to the world and allow him to grow like a wild growth of bushes,uncared,unattended and unloved. Good parents care for the physical,emotional and social growth of the child.
When we married we were both working. As working parents the challenges are more. The child has to be kept in the care of domestic helpers as was the case with us.We had no elders to care for our children.How ever after struggling for some months we found a maid. She was from a good family background and took up the job solely for economic reasons. She stayed with us for fourteen years.By the time she left children were grown up and wise enough to distinguish between good and bad and right and wrong. We have two children, a boy and a girl. A major factor in bringing up children is how we treat them. Some parents are too strict while there are others who are over indulgent. In our case we were realistic.We took care to nurture in them self confidence and self dependence. However I will not call it independence.I narrate an incident when our son was admitted to St. Columba's School which was quite far away from our house. A taxi which was already ferrying children from home to school and back was hired for sonny. We were concerned how he would cope up carrying a heavy school bag . The taxi used to leave the children at the school gate. The class rooms were quite far from the gate. For a few days my husband went to the school and stood at a crucial place from where he could see sonny boy going into and coming out of the classroom . It was on the second day that he saw sonny coming out and walking towards the taxi.Suddenly the boy hit some stone and fell down.Instinctively my husband moved forward to help the child but he withdrew just to see the reaction of the child. Sonny got up and looked all around and dusted his school dress, took his bag from the ground and walked confidently to the taxi. Such incidents ensured the child would become self reliant. At the same time we inducted discipline in them without mentioning the word.'discipline'. I will quote another instance to prove this. Sonny did not like Laddoo. One day ,as ill luck would have it,there was nothing I could give him for his School tifin, except laddoos. I also told him to finish the laddoos. Later I even forgot about it. After school when the taxi came back leaving all the children home, sonny was not there. Two hours had elapsed and there was no sign of my son. I became panicky. I questioned the taxi driver. He said that he thought that his father would have brought him back.I was scolding him when I just saw sonny boy walking from a distance proceeding towards home. The taxi driver rushed and brought him. I asked sonny what happened, how he missed the taxi etc. He started crying and sobbingly replied that he was eating the laddoos. Right from childhood discipline was ingrained. Our daughter too was taught the nuances of discipline since childhood. She had acquired the habit of sucking her thumb.People used to give unsolicited advice,which I felt would hurt the child's mind.I took a beautiful piece of cloth,decorated with sequins, and beads and stitched a mitten.When I was embroidering it,she was curious to know what I was making. When it was completed,I made her put it in her hands. She was so happy to wear it.In the process she forgot about sucking her thumb. My purpose was served.
When they were in school there was hardly any occasion to direct them to sit and study. In the evenings,we used to sit in the living room reading some book or the news paper. An atmosphere of studying was created.The children too would sit and read their school books. So without coaxing them to sit and study, a natural method was evolved. Due to regularity in studying both of them did very well in school. At the age of adolescence we noticed the change in their behaviour. This is the most delicate stage when the child himself fails to understand what is happening to him. At this stage care should be taken to ensure that parents are soft and considerate towards the children. Aggressive and autocratic attitude should be eschewed.
When sonny reached class ix every one advised us that he should take Science stream.We knew that he was not performing well in Physics and in his interest guided him to opt for Commerce Stream. We did not force him but left the decision to him. It was he who finally decided to opt for Commerce stream. Right from the time when they were small they used to talk about their ambitions. Our daughter wanted to become a Doctor and the son had a wish to be a Chartered Accountant. Since they were very focused,they achieved their goal.
Now our children have children. I have noticed that grand children are being brought up on the same principles.As good governance is least governance, good parenting is least interference.I conclude with the following quotation from Franklin D. Roosevelt. " We may not be able to prepare the future for our children,but we can at least prepare our children for the future."