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Our country is as diverse in art, culture, the works and food habits as it is diverse in economic disparities and social beliefs. It is, unfortunately, believed in many pockets of our still- patriarchal society that the parent’s responsibility towards a girl child ends with her being married off. While it can still be justified and sadly so, in the economically weaker sections of society with one mouth less to feed, I am baffled at parents who are educated, urban and adequately well heeled who are victims to these thoughts.
It is heartbreaking thus, to come across superabundant news and stories of precious young lives being lost in toxic relationships, quite a few, of their own choosing. Surprisingly, a majority of these youngsters seem to be well educated and independent, having a strong mind of their own. It is befuddling as to why they don’t walk out of such relationships despite being financially independent and seemingly less vulnerable. Why don’t they turn to their support system, especially their parents, in their hour of dire need. As the parent of a young adult and having walked on the surface of this earth for more than five decades now, I wonder, if we, as parents, are failing somewhere, being out -of- step with the times or are found miserably wanting in instilling confidence in our wards of our unconditional support.
Is the selfless love and support expected of parents being outweighed by social mores amid a delusion of social progress? Such barriers prove to be formidable stumbling blocks for young adults to reach out to their parents when they find themselves confronted by a precarious turn of events. Devastating, it must be for any parent to lose a child unexpectedly and suddenly to an untoward eventuality.
Many a time, the doubts that our children may have, are completely baseless, unfounded and a mere figment of their imagination towards how effusively we parents may react. However, there are many instances where parents have reacted with maturity of their years and have been accepting of a situation, perceived as unconventional in general. Children should therefore place more trust in the older generation by giving them a chance to understand the youth’s point of view and their take on pertinent personal and social issues.
I recall a time from my own youth when I was bogged down by self-doubt, being unable to cope with the pressures of a rigorous training, the success of which would lead to great pride and put me in good stead in life. Dejected, I called up my parents, expressing my fears of possible failure hence failing them in their expectations of my abilities too. Pat came my father’s reassuring words which I vividly remember to this day. They went- “So what!! You will still remain our darling daughter”. That put me completely at ease and I went ahead with the remaining training unburdened- to the extent of enjoying the experience!
In my opinion, thus, when shrouded in self-doubt or low self-esteem, small words of reassurance and love go a long way in retrieving what might be perceived as a dead-end situation equally by children and parents.
I recently came across a beautiful poster which read: “Behind every young child who believes in himself is a parent who believed first”. This inspiring quote by Matthew Jacobson pays an ode to parents very aptly. However, to me, there lies a fine line between “believing” and “expecting”. The parents often find this belief in their child blurring into expectations and these expectations, in turn, leaving not much room for the practicality and probability of failures. Being unsuccessful in examinations, work place pursuits or even in relationships are small occurrences or blemishes – in the large canvas of life – that fade away with time. It is with this understanding that we as parents must reclaim confidence of our wards; by not measuring every aspect of their life in terms of success or failure.
At the same time, one wishes that today’s youth showed more confidence in the adaptability of their elders. And elders, for their own good , must not burn bridges The unfortunate parents running pillar to post to get justice for their departed children who met with misfortune and gruesome ends, is a testimony to their unconditional love and support but alas a tad too late.
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