Thursday, December 05, 2013
My Tipping Point...
According to Malcolm Gladwell (staff author for The New Yorker and author of some bestselling books) the “tipping point” is the magic moment when something small gathers steam and gains critical mass - it could be a fashion trend; social behavior or even an epidemic. Essentially something which might have started just like a small idea but owing to its sticky concept to the minds of people and the time at which it was brought out, gained momentum and proved to be a tipping point.
For me personally ‘tipping point’ would be when I would be able convince myself that my child has understood the essence of the unsolicited advices given by me and is able to live that “good life” that I have been dreaming of ever since I first held my bundle of joy. When she will start living and working for her dream - that magic moment would be my tipping point.
Few days back, I was caught in this animated discussion with the children in my family – all ages and sizes (size does not matter was one momentous lesson learnt!). By mistake I asked one of them “well, do you like studies?” Without anticipating I had touched a raw nerve, the Pandora’s Box was opened unknowingly. Apart from all the lessons on life, there came a volley of responses (centering on my temerity in asking this question). But one response that touched a chord was “I slog not because I love studies but because I want a secured future”. This declaration stumped me. In the end I surrendered knowing well that defeat was inevitable with this current lot. However, this particular response has lingered with me since then. It’s been playing on my mind like an ill-placed and timed re-mix number which just refuses to go even when I am in the most precarious situation. Anyway I thought of putting my limited thoughts and dilemmas down today to get it out of my system.
There are all kinds of parents – rich, poor, straight, strict, lenient, friendly, monsters, outgoing, introvert etc. – but parenting for each one of them has the same purpose – to make life of their child happy and successful. No one would agree that parenting is easy for one type while difficult for the other. I am sure rich parents must be finding bringing up kids as difficult as the poor ones. Poor lack means and the rich the techniques to teach values which they themselves have been brought up with. This is more pronounced with the middle class working parents who have come into too much money by submerging themselves in work for making sure that the child has it all. Then how do we teach the children values of respecting money and time when they are not working for anything in their life? ‘Your wish is my command’ – philosophy for most of the upwardly mobile cool parents. Their notion is “after all this is what we are earning for”? Right? I seriously don’t know. I think children need time more than excess money.
There are these paradoxes which I struggle with everyday of my parenting. I fail to understand how by giving all can we teach the children value of differentiating between wants and desires? I fail to understand how by ignoring signs of disrespect, insensitivity and rebellion can we teach them the value of respecting things and people who should be respected (others time, old, under privileged, helps etc.)? I fail to understand how by not giving any responsibilities’ like budget, room, clothes, books etc. today; can we teach them to be responsible individuals and citizens tomorrow? I fail to understand how by letting them have their way all the time (for whatever reason like crying, stamping of foot, shouting back etc. –list is endless for parents looking for excuses to save their skin and time) can we teach the value of understanding that my rights end where others’ begin? Here when I refer to children I don’t mean 4-5 year olds. That’s a different set altogether!!
Coming back to the response plaguing my mind, I feel that it is very important to make the children understand that they are not studying or pursuing their choice of field for us. Their achievements and failures are their own. Their highs and lows in life are their own. Their life is their own. Parents are for support as sounding boards and good listeners. I guess parents are satisfied when children work hard because they know the child’s future will be secured. They will be able to live well and be happy.
I feel that the day this realization hits the children and then they start moving towards their goal in life, it will be our tipping point. It’s not impossible but it’s doable. Not everyone has the skills but the understanding of what is right and what is wrong for my child should do the job for now. Otherwise simply read, observe and learn and then put into practice.
My tipping point will arrive when……..