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There is a Japanese proverb that “A father’s goodness is higher than the mountain, a mother’s goodness deeper than the sea.” Nobody in this world can estimate how much they impact our personalities and build our character.
There are many instances in life which occur for a reason and they get embedded in your heart and mind so strongly that they hold the capacity to completely change you as a person. Mothers have always been worshiped for being the source of power, love and strength for her children. But somewhere we forget those situations where our fathers moulded their personalities in such a way that the repercussions turned positive from being negative.
I am sharing two such memories which have become a part of my personality and I cherish them whenever I share them with my friends who are now parents or with to-be parents to use them as a lesson as best parenting tips.
Situation # 1 – Response Vs Reaction
I was in class 1 & was under so much peer pressure because I was the only child in the class who used to get chappatis in her lunch box but others used to get fancy foods like bread, noodles etc. One morning when Mom packed my lunch box and happily gave it to me, I took out the chapattis from the lunch box and threw in the dustbin. This was out of sheer frustration and I now wonder how insensitive behaviour that was. I kept weeping and adamantly demanded Bread-Jam to be packed for my box.
I still remember her face. She was almost in tears but nothing moved me emotionally and my rock solid demand to have my lunch as per my wish. With my unbending attitude, I got a glimpse of my Dad who gestured at my Mom to not react. Since we were getting late to catch my school bus, he quickly packed Bread-Jam in my box, picked me and my bag up in his arms and rushed to the bus stand. Though I was relieved to have my demand fulfilled, but inside I was dreading some aftermath from my Dad. We walked a 100 steps and I could almost feel a scolding coming my way.
On the way, he caressed me & told that I misbehaved and showed disrespect to the food and to my Mom’s affection which equivalent to committing a sin. He also very gently told me that I shouldn’t have behaved the way I did because it not only was rude on my side but also hurt my Mom so deeply that she cried. He then got me on the bus and waived goodbye to me with a smile.
I was extremely dull the entire day. It would have been alright if he would have scolded me or slapped me. But the treatment given to me for my fierce act was so subtle yet grave that it changed my disposition. I wasn’t sure that time what changed me inside but now I comprehend that a response rather than a reaction made a huge difference.
A reaction, a slap, a scolding, a punishment would have definitely made be apologetic for my behaviour but I am sure the treatment he gave me had a deep impact on my psyche. It helped me differentiate between right and wrong behaviour and how our actions hold the power to impact our loved ones.
Situation # 2 – Acceptance
I was in class 6 and I remember I had an unfocused mind during that year which led to nothing but a recession in my scores. By the time I reached my final exams, I became aware of what I had been doing all through the year. I started feeling guilty of my attitude and my focus towards my studies.
We were around 40 students in our class and I was not expecting good scores that year. Having been a good student throughout, I started feeling restless on how my parents would react to my scores.
The D-day came and I accompanied my parents to receive my report card. Teachers used to rank all students as per their marks and call out their names with their ranks. I was waiting for my name to be announced and the wait seemed never ending. Finally, my name was called out for the 30th position and I was handed over the report card with 30 written on it.
I was taken over by shame since I had always figured among the top ten in the class until then. I looked at my father standing outside the classroom, waiting for me. How could I face him? I wanted to die of shame! More than fear it was repentance. I knew my Dad would would get a shock looking at my report card and I would then get my share of thrashing from my parents.
I meandered through the corridors and could see my Dad’s curious eyes. The moment he saw me from a distance, he waived at me with a smile.
I reached him and he offered me his handshake. I held his hand and gave him the report card. I wanted to apologise to him for all the disgrace I brought to the family and his expectations. He took a glance at the report card, sighed a little and took out a 5-Star chocolate from his pocket. He handed it over to me with a smile and congratulated me for clearing the 6th standard.
This was a very touching moment for me as he didn’t even ask me that what went wrong. The pain on my face was sufficient for him to understand what I was going through. He knew he wanted to make the situation light for me so that I do not get disillusioned.
After a day or so, my Dad spoke to me about the results, counselled me and gave advise on doing my best so that I don’t have to repent in future. He made me think where I want to see myself in my next standard and what best I have to do to achieve that goal.
Rightly said “When a child can be brought to tears, not from fear of punishment, but from repentance he needs no chastisement. When the tears begin to flow from the grief of their conduct, you can be sure that there is an angel nestling in their heart.”
Thanks to all those parents who keep their reactions in control in such sensitive situations. Without realizing, they change us into better people.
A version of this was first published here.
The image is a still from the movie Kuch Kuch Hota Hai
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