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When our children's choices, challenges and competition are all so different from ours, why do we insist comparing ourselves to them?
When our children’s choices, challenges and competition are all so different from ours, why do we insist comparing ourselves to them?
A Satyanararyan puja to which I was invited, had the familiar motley crowd of visitors of all age groups. As we were chatting with our hosts, an elderly lady who had just entered, was asked about the whereabouts of the rest of her household.
Surprisingly enough, instead of a polite rejoinder, she embarked on a tirade in which the lack of planning on the part of her daughter-in-law and ‘obsession’ with her own job was lamented. Furthermore, she also talked about her grandson’s ‘lack of discipline, odd sleeping habits and addiction to electronic gadgets’. She ended this monologue to a stunned audience with the homily, “During our time, we had no mixer, fridge or ready-to-eat foods. But, we managed so well! Our children were better behaved, ate better and were better organised.”
I debated whether to answer for her absent relatives and ultimately, could stand it no more.
I said, “Sorry to interrupt, whatever you say about yourself is surely true. But I wonder if you held down a job, helped your children with schoolwork, ferried them to various coaching classes or were expected to have dishes from other nations in your culinary repertoire.”
“As for your grandchildren, at their age did you have to contend with the rat race and competition that these children do? “ I continued.
The incident that I just related happened recently. “How unfair!” is perhaps your first reaction when you read it.
The ‘In My Day We Did Things Differently’ refrain is enough to amuse, irritate, annoy, exasperate, bore, anger, infuriate or hurt the person exposed to it.
Let us now extrapolate this slightly differently.
Your 10 year old is playing football when she/he should be studying or your teenager is sprawled in front of your television, when they should be tidying up their room. How many of us can prevent ourselves from saying at least occasionally to our offspring, “When I was your age, I … ”?
Generation gap has many forms. The most common one is feeling superior to the earlier generation or the next one. Every parent does the best for their child and hopes that the child responds with exemplary behavior, good academic performance and obedience.
Each generation has some model of good behavior that they had to adhere to as children, perhaps reluctantly. When they become parents, subconsciously they feel their own child needs to ape certain habits which they followed.
But should we actually equate our childhood priorities with theirs?
A telling example is that of a man who tells his son that as a child he had walked for twenty minutes to save twenty rupees. The son however responds by saying that he would rather spend twenty rupees in order to save twenty minutes!
The irony is that both are right! If saving money was a priority for the father, then saving time is vital for the son.
Are we guilty of being unrealistic in our expectations of the next generation? We are facing a different set of challenges as parents vis-a-vis our jobs, travel, housework, expenses, etc. as compared to our parents’ generation. We rear our children differently as well.
Similarly, the next generation of children is also facing different challenges and also deals with life differently. They have stiffer competition (which troubles them), more options (which baffle them), a more extensive school curriculum (which occupies them) and demanding parents (who irritate them).
Comparisons are unfair and tend to create resentment. It is as futile as comparing an apple with an orange. Both are great to eat but, are basically different in taste and appearance.
In many ways, the present generation of parents is caught in the unique position of straddling two different eras in time and trying to balance both. While trying to do justice to both, we frequently do not know which is better, but admire certain elements and dislike certain elements of each.
However, convenience and utility dictates many of our choices.
Do we wait for the bus like our parents did or quickly hop into a cab?
Do we make meals from scratch, like our moms did everyday or take some shortcuts?
Do our outings take us to the park like our parents or do we make a beeline for the multiplex?
Does our wardrobe shopping occur only on special occasions like our parents did or do we replenish our clothes at every single opportunity?
So the next time we feel the urge to tell our children, “I woke up at five A.M, why don’t you!” Or “I studied for four hours a day, and look at you!” Or “Tidy up your room! I was a darn sight neater than you.” – Let us take a deep breath and leave out the “I did.”
Pic credit: Mike (Used under a CC license)
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'Dr Saloni will take care of everything,' my MIL said. My cowardly husband refused to go against his mother’s wishes. I was left to fend for myself!
Some time ago, I went to a marriage ceremony with my parents. It was a very high-profile marriage – not the ones we usually were invited to – but in this case it was Ramesh uncle’s son’s marriage. Ramesh uncle was my father’s first cousin. He began his career as a humble elevator operator at the TIC business group. With his sheer hard work, grit, and the knack of sensing the right opportunities, within eighteen years he became the president of the company. My father and he were the best of friends during their school time.
Half an hour before the stipulated time, we left our house, hired an auto and reached the venue. All four of us were in our best outfits. Getting out of the auto and looking at each other, we were highly convinced that we were going to fit in just right. As we crossed the dazzling and beautiful portico, we felt very insignificant compared to the big lawn and building lying ahead.
Mother was wearing all the jewellery she had got, including the big old-fashioned necklace, earrings and shiny bangles. Father was wearing a velvet coat, brother had put on a light orange shirt with a black check coat, I myself was wearing a red salwar kurta with a net dupatta. I had put on a necklace with red beads which at the time of wearing looked very pretty to me. Now looking at the other guests, I felt all four of us must be looking like clowns who had come for a fancy-dress competition. I felt my brother and parents were also feeling self-conscious and uneasy now.
Live-in relationships are legal in the eyes of the law. Read on to know more on the rights of women in live-in relationships.
Live-in relationships may sound exciting. But sometimes they become complicated, especially for women and the children born from a live-in relationship. It’s important to be aware of rights of women in live-in relationships.
Live-in relationships are where a woman and man live under one roof with mutual consent, like husband and wife, but without getting married. This has become very common in metropolitan cities these days, where two independent people simply do not want to get married. This relationship can be terminated without the consent of the other party.
Live-in relation may not be recognized completely at the social level, but Indian law does consider this relationship to be legal.
Even in educated, more aware circles, there is a lack of gender equality, which could make kids raised by feminist, 'woke' parents a misfit in society. But does it need to be so?
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It was a Monday morning and everyone had left for school and office. It was just me and my daughter who was home for her study holidays. I was browsing through the day’s articles and newsfeed and came across a mention of the Pollachi incident.
Every time I came across it, it enraged me and a chill ran down my spine. How can we ever be sure our daughters will be safe? How do we ensure our sons are brought up right? Isn’t there a huge onus on us to bring up boys and girls who will be sensitive, respectful, empathetic, thinking and feeling individuals who treat each other as equals? Today’s kids are tomorrow’s society. How do we want the future to be? Definitely not like the one we come across and read every single day.
Parents yelling at their children for not being the best at absolutely everything is extremely toxic for both of them. Here's why it is totally okay to NOT be the best!
Parents yelling at their children for not being the best at absolutely everything is extremely toxic for both of them. Here’s why it is totally okay to NOT be the best!
I was not guilty of eavesdropping on a conversation carried out by a complete stranger shopping next to me at the supermarket. But the raised voice with which she answered a call would have inevitably gripped anyone’s attention.
Seeming visibly disturbed, she ranted to the person on the other side, “Had you worked harder, you would have secured the first place, not second. You were way better than your classmate!”