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Dhritarashtra was visually-impaired, but his blindness extended to the way he refused to consider his sons’ crimes – loving our kids blindly can be disastrous!
When the Mahabharata is mentioned, we think of the epitome of truth Yudhishthir, the strong Bheem, the great warrior Arjun and of course Krishna….
But how often do we think of Dhritarashtra? Even if we do, it’s not without a tinge of scorn. What we forget is that not only should we learn from good examples but bad examples also teach us. In fact, they should be more effective as lessons, for the consequences of their actions are there for all of us to see.
From good examples, we learn how to be. From bad examples, we learn how NOT to be.
Dhritarashtra was not only blind to the world but he also turned a blind eye to his son’s actions, literally and otherwise. His blind love for Duryodhan only emboldened him to go from bad to worse. What started off as a rivalry between cousins eventually ended up in a war that never did good to anyone. Dhritarashtra may have been justified in wishing for the throne for his son but the means he chose can never be defended.
Why do I bring this up today? This discussion is relevant because many of us are guilty of being blind to our children’s faults. A one-off event may be ignored, but making a habit of this will exact its price in the days to come.
It starts from innocuous acts that we tend to wave away, which is OK, but when this spiral turns downwards, often it is too late. Children test us, and the limits that we set for them, all the time. For every step we take backward, they try to push us back two more. This does not mean that we have to turn every situation into a negotiation. But where to draw a line still needs to be in the hands of the parents.
Giving in to everything a child asks for, is just one aspect. What’s worse is when parents hide their children’s mistakes. Parents often justify this by equating their love for the child.
This is not love. If you have the child’s best interests in mind you would never indulge them. And if the child has gone ahead and done something wrong, instead of justifying or hiding it from the world, spend the energy in counselling the child. And most important, let them face the consequences. It may be painful to watch your child go through the punishment but we can be assured that this is one lesson they are not forgetting in a hurry.
And the earlier we do this, the better it is. The extent of trouble they would rake up at a younger age is any day preferable to the mess they might land into as a grown up. The courage to own up and face the music is a character building exercise. Hiding it from everyone snatches this precious opportunity from them. A basic building block goes missing in the foundation of the child’s character if we allow to let the slights past.
What’s scarier is that by brushing all the rubbish under the carpet, unknowingly, parents may be creating a Frankenstein’s monster who ends up harming themselves and gets others into trouble. This may sound exaggerated, but think of how many spoilt brats have ruined their lives and endangered others just because their parents refused to see the writing on the wall in the name of love.
Look into the history of young offenders and often the common denominator is how their initial law breaking was ignored or covered up. Underage children are gifted expensive bikes and cars and the kids with their raging hormones go full throttle. They start off with jumping signals, ignoring speed limits and often graduate to drunken driving. The parents are usually aware because they are the ones paying for their tickets and vehicle repairs.
Parents often think of these acts as a passage of rite that the child will outgrow. It may happen but what if it doesn’t? Do we HAVE to wait till the situation becomes another headline and a statistic? How often have we come across sexual offenders who have a history of minor crimes? Had the parents taken a timely cognisance of their kids, so much of mess could have been avoided. In the name of love let us not damage the gift that has been given to us in the form of our children. Closing our eyes, justifying their wrong doings will only hasten their downfall. And no parent would wish for that.
Let us learn from Dhritarashtra how NOT to love. Do we really need another Mahabharat to teach us these simple lessons?
Image source: YouTube
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I am a doctor with an MD in Clinical Microbiology, working at KEM Hospital, Mumbai.
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