It is always believed that parents play a crucial role in the life of their children. It’s how they mould them that defines the perspective of their child towards life and what they become.
My parents have been one of the biggest sources of inspiration for me. Every single day spent with them had some hidden learning, which I realised when I grew older. These learnings have always stayed with me and their guidance has played an important role in where I stand today.
Now, I am a father of two daughters. Like any other parent, I have been there with them whenever they need my support and guidance. However, more than that, it’s my daughters who have knowingly or unknowingly taught me so many things, in a way influenced me, mentored me and have become my strength in whatever I do.
Interesting experiences and learnings from my daughters
As a parent, you would always like to shield your kids and protect them in the best possible manner. You are there to hold their bicycle and support them while they are learning to ride and watching out for them when they are playing. But there are times when they watch out for you as well.
I remember the time when my younger daughter was seven years old. I was trying to lose weight then and hence I used to go for a walk to a park nearby and had also bought a cycling machine. My younger daughter used to accompany me to the park, make me chase her by running here and there and also challenged me to cycle harder. Soon after, I weighed myself and realised that I had lost around 10 kilos. The most happy and excited person then was my daughter.
I asked her why my losing weight excited her and it was then that she told me that she was deliberately challenging me to run faster and chase her and was not making me run for the sake of her fun. It made me realise how my daughter was pushing me to raise the bar and move up my boundaries to achieve my goal. It also taught me an important lesson, that when you do something while enjoying it fully, it doesn’t seem like a task, it just feels like fun and keeps you excited and motivated.
On the other hand, my elder daughter taught me how to be compassionate, confident, strive for the best and above all, be empathetic. One day I returned from work feeling down and alone, she realised that I was upset and asked how I am. I told her I am fine. She corrected me and told me that my ideal reply should be ‘I am awesome’.
I found it weird and asked her that if I am not feeling awesome, why should I be saying so? She then told me that, don’t let the circumstances and people around determine how you are, every individual is awesome and special. That profound learning from my daughter changed my perspective towards life and my approach to people. It showed me how with a positive outlook you get a fresh perspective to the situation you are in.
Such learnings also come in handy especially in the times of Covid-19 lockdown, where you can either choose to look at things negatively or learn from the situation you are in and move on in a positive direction.
Sometimes I also see her working towards precision in her assignments. To me, they seem perfect, but for her there are many loopholes to be filled. And the reason behind her approach is that it makes her feel uncomfortable if she doesn’t do a very good job. She always works towards being perfect and doing what can be done to the best of her capability.
Talking about perfection and appropriate behaviour, I remember one interesting instance when I gave an interview to a news channel. During my conversation with the interviewer, I mentioned “saving money for daughter’s marriage and son’s education”. Immediately after that, I got a call from my younger daughter saying that she is disappointed in me for using that sentence and affirming a stereotype. I apologised and made a note in my mind to correct this mistake next time.
I got the opportunity to correct myself and I can’t help but recall the smile on the interviewer’s face when I mentioned “saving for son’s wedding and daughter’s education”. I again got a call from my daughter, hoping that she was happy that I corrected myself. Well, she was still not satisfied and told me that I could have simply said kid’s marriage and education, without getting into the societal bias.
It made me realise how we are a sum total of our experiences, biases and paradigm through which we look at the world around us. Although the times change, we tend to cling to those stereotypes and still consider ourselves to be modern and forward looking. This experience taught me that we need to shake off our stereotypes and only then can we embrace what we truly believe as reality and change our outlook towards our life.
Right from correcting me for my social behaviour, making me look presentable, to driving me towards my goal, my daughters have always been there to watch my back.
I feel that purpose also plays a very important role in anything and everything you do. It is how we define our purpose which will eventually determine the reality of our life. I realised this when I asked my daughters what they would like to do in their career. While my elder daughter chose to become a doctor to save lives and make a difference in the society, my younger daughter became a computer engineer so that she can earn good money and contribute to her sister’s purpose of doing good to the society. It shows how important it is for us to define our purpose in life, without which we are lost and don’t know our place in the society.
Right from correcting me for my social behaviour, making me look presentable, to driving me towards my goal, my daughters have always been there to watch my back. They are my pillars of strength and time and again they have stood by me in their own way from being very small kids to what they are today. In all this time, I never felt that I have been able to groom them more than they have been able to groom myself in life.
Not many of us realise or perceive our children as someone who can influence us and teach us. If you allow them the freedom to voice their opinion, their perception may make us realise what may have not occurred to us. We tend to correlate knowledge, learning, wisdom and mentorship with age. We feel that the older a person is, the more knowledgeable and wise s/he is.
We are biased towards how kids are portrayed, that is always naïve and young. I believe that age does matter, but it’s your thoughts, your beliefs and your approach that counts no matter how old you are. I feel one must always have a child-like enthusiasm at every stage in life and in everything we do. This child-like enthusiasm can only be inspired by your children with their fresh thoughts and outlook they bring to your life.