Very often people wonder why do we have children? Is it to carry on the family’s name or to raise children to take care of us in old age? The reason for having children is both to give and to appreciate. We should not ask for perfection in our children, neither should we expect them to win credits to honour the family nor should we want them as an insurance for old age…
By N.K.A. Ballal, Retd. Sr. Vice-President, ITDC
I admire those parents who are able to forge extremely strong and close bonds with their children when they were young and yet they know when to let go in a timely and appropriate manner when the children have grown up. Taking care of and raising children and then letting go of them are parents’ basic and mandatory duties. A parent- child relationship is not a type of relationship that is permanently with the parents being in control.
It is a special and profound relationship brought about by fate; we must not let the child feel deprived or lacking when they were young and neither should we let them feel stifled when they have grown up. The role of parents is a journey of love and wisdom. Not only in one’s role as parents, but also in life there are many moments that we need to understand when to advance and retreat.
Very often people wonder why do we have children? Is it to carry on the family’s name or to raise children to take care of us in old age?
Finally, I found a very touching answer: the reason for having children is both to give and to appreciate. We should not ask for perfection in our children, neither should we expect them to win credits to honour the family nor should we want them as an insurance for old age.
We should only ask for them to be healthy and to let us have the chance to walk with them through this journey of life in this beautiful world.
A simple narration by a friend of mine, Sarasa from Bengaluru, who runs an old age home.
Coming back to the basic question: Why do people crave for children? A friend of mine jocularly told me that people have children to save their marriages ! When you think about this, it is partially true too. Children are the catalyst on which the conversations and actions of elders revolve for several years and then the second child follows and so the institution of marriage continues without any hiccups.
In India, of course it is: “Putra prema, which still exists in spite of the increased awareness and education. The lopsided sex ratio in several States is the prime example of such a practice which exists even in this 21st century. Equal share in property is only in paper. The son gets the father’s surname and the dynasty continues.
One of the prime reasons given for the bonding between the mother and the child is supposed to be the pain of the child birth. Both my daughters had their deliveries abroad and it was a painless experience. Does it mean that their bonding is anything less than their counterparts in India? Why is that the doctors in India insist on painful deliveries when a painless alternative is available in the form of a spinal injection? I have asked this of several doctors and no credible answer was forthcoming.
Each one of us have our own reasons for having a child. For some it is tradition, for some to carry the name of the family forward, for some they beget children because everybody else does it and for some it is the bliss of becoming a mother and father. But having brought them to this world it is our duty to give them the best of whatever we have. The problem arises when we start having expectations from our children. Every one want their children to be Einstein or Abdul Kalam. Is it possible ? Of course, not. Is it possible to choose our children? IQ or colour? Of course not, it is destined. Ask an expectant mother. They all pray for a healthy child but even then sometimes fate wills otherwise. Still is the love for the child anything less if the child is not healthy? The ideal situation is when we become their friend, philosopher and guide. With the right care and love, make them good human beings, self-disciplined.
I am not a follower of the western concept where the children are left to fend for themselves after 18, but I am not for the typical Indian system too where children are pampered sometimes even after their marriages. A balance has to be found which blends both systems and brings out the best for the children. The whole system of “saas bahu” stories are built on the premise that the mother does not want to “let go” her hold on her son even after his marriage. Typical of business and political families. They pray and even try to bribe the gods with huge offerings to ensure that they beget sons to take care of their businesses and political empires. The patriarch of the family does not let go the control of the business till his death and deliberately they do not give professional education to their sons to ensure they stay put in the family business.
Recently I had been to Vishranthi, the old age home and an orphanage and was appalled to see some 4-month-old healthy babies left in the dustbins. When one is not in a position to take care of their offsprings, why bring them to this world ? No answers?
Ultimately what is that we want? Are we not happy to see our children grow up, be happy and pass on the same values we gave them to their offsprings? We came alone to this world and we have to learn to walk alone. If by chance our children because of our upbringing want to walk with us hand-in-hand, in the sunset years, we should feel blessed. “Let go.”