Parents play important role to make their children a way of being
No two families ever have exactly the same situations to deal with or resources to call upon. But no matter what the circumstances of people’s lives, we believe that all families and individuals, by virtue of being human, have deep inner resources that can be called upon and cultivated-resources that can help enormously in making important choices as we struggle to bring balance into our lives and into our families.
At every level of economic and social well being or lack of it, and no matter what enormous difficulties they are faced with, there are people who find ways to put their children first. My own view is unabashedly that children deserve to be put first. Like a relay race with a long over-lap in which the baton is passed, for at least first sixteen to eighteen years our job as parents is to position our children to run their solo laps effectively. To do that, we need to give our all during our run alongside them. There are many ways to do this. No matter what our circumstances, if the will and the motivation are there, we can learn to draw on those resources of strength and wisdom, creativity and caring, that reside within us. Each moment provides us with new occasions to do this.
What we need is mindful parenting. It takes energy and commitment, as does any spiritual practice or conscious discipline. We may find ourselves wondering from time to time whether we are capable of taking on such a task that is really the work of a lifetime, asking ourselves, ‘How can I do this besides everything else I am already doing’. We may find it reassuring and inspiring to discover that, to a large degree, important elements of both the systematic discipline and the good parenting methods are inborn in us. These arise naturally out of the experiences and challenges we already face everyday as parents.
For instance, as parents we are already constantly called upon to pay attention and we are highly disciplined. We have to get up on time every morning to wake up the children, feed them, and get them ready for school, while getting ourselves ready for work and getting there if we work outside the home.
We are disciplined and attentive in arranging our children’s complex schedules, and our own, and in planning and then doing everything that needs to be done-all the shopping, cooking, cleaning, and the countless respective tasks of daily life in a family.
We are also highly accomplished. We deal everyday with constant crises, jiggle competing demands on our time and energy, and utilize the incredible sixth sense that parents develop early on which allows us to continually be aware of where our children are in every moment of potential danger.
We are also skilled at having conversations while doing other things, and dealing with constant interruptions while trying to keep a train of thought. People may sometimes feel hurt or put off when it seems as if we are not giving them full attention. But as parents, we develop an ability to give our attention to many things as once – we can speak to other people at the same time that we are watching our child or buttoning a jacket or grabbing her before she gets into the danger zone. Such skills and such discipline go with the territory of parenting. The more we use and develop them, as we have as parents, the better we get at them. They become a way of being.
Dr Shayama Chona, is the former Principal of Delhi Public School, R K Puram, New Delhi; Founder President of Tamana (NGO for physically & mentally handicapped children); Founder of Anubhav Shiksha Kendra (a school for the under-privileged); she has been a member of 96 Advisory Boards and Committees; she has been nominated to Managing Committees of 46 schools and other educational institutions; she has been named in the Limca Book of Records 2007. She has been awarded the State Award for Services in Education 1993, National Award for Services as a Teacher of Outstanding Merit 1994, National Award for Outstanding Performance for Welfare of People with Disabilities 1997, Padma Shri 1999, Padma Bhushan 2008, and 49 other awards. She lives at C10/8, Vasant Vihar, New Delhi-110057. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com