Kahlil Gibran said about parenting in The Prophet:
Your children are not your children.
They are the sons and daughters of Life’s longing for itself.
They come through you but not from you,
And though they are with you yet they belong not to you.
You may give them your love but not your thoughts,
For they have their own thoughts.
You may house their bodies but not their souls,
For their souls dwell in the house of tomorrow,
which you cannot visit, not even in your dreams.
You may strive to be like them, but seek not to make them like you.
For life goes not backward not tarries with yesterday.
Parenting is said to be the most difficult job on earth. Unfortunately there are no training schools that teach you. From the moment a child is born, the parents start thinking about its child’s future. There are parents who are exceedingly ambitious and have extraordinary expectations. I know parents who would not let their children, especially boys to go out of the city for higher education. They know that once exposed to the wider world, they would probably not like to join their family’s business in the small city they live in. Although done in the name of the child’s best interests, it is actually more about losing emotional control over the sons. Their concern is a secure old age and I find this attitude very selfish. In other instances children have worked hard to get a certain educational degree because their parents wanted them to and after that pursued their preferred unconventional careers. I appreciate that the children care about their parents’ insecurities and concerns but if even if they did choose not to, their parents should understand that the child has a right to his live his or her life the way he or she wants to. Parents should share their good and bad experiences of life and guide them but emotional or any other form of blackmail is not justified.
This is my firm belief and I have tried to follow this as a parent and in any other relationship, where my opinion mattered. However, there are situations in which I don’t know if one can be objective and accept things as they are are happily. It is all right to give your unbiased, just and fair opinions when you are talking about people you don’t know, but it is quite different when you are even remotely attached to the person concerned. I had a first hand experience of this feeling recently. The son of an acquaintance, an engineer from a reputed college, after working for a couple of years in a good company has decided to become a Sadhu. The parents are shocked and helpless. They can’t be blamed for reacting in this way. My first reaction when I heard of it was, thank God it is not my child. The boy is not an extremist or a threat to the society. He is an intelligent and social boy, quite capable of taking care of himself. Theoretically, his parents should let him make his own decisions since he is of the age to decide what is best for himself. However this seems far easier said than done and I am not sure how even the most objective and enlightened parents can react sanely to such a situation.