“Visualise this scene in the hospital canteen. A 19-year-old boy, barely able to walk was holding his father for support. Before reaching his chair, he pissed in his pants. It took another 20 minutes for them to go to the room, change and come back to the canteen for lunch. The boy had severe tremors in the hands. He tried holding a spoon and eating on his own but in vain. His father fed him. This boy was in the first year of Engineering. Excessive pressure from parents affected his immune/nervous system and he was diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis. Two other friends of mine who were affected by the same disease lost their lives a few months ago.
We give birth to children because we follow a process, you see. School, college, work, marriage, kids, we can’t break this protocol. We have children because everybody’s asking. Are we really prepared to have children in our lives? If yes, then we must understand it is our responsibility to take good care of them till they are independent.
During my talks, I mostly ask this question to students, “What do you want to become?”. Answers range from becoming Doctor, Engineer, IAS officer, etc,. Not one parent has taught them to become a good human being. Hence we are witnessing the results of this upbringing in every walk of life.
Instead of giving advice, Guru and I are treading a different path:
This is our Son, Gagan in the photo. He is 11 years old. He had learnt basics of photography and videography. First half of the summer vacation, he went to my friend, Anand Daga’s office to learn Video Editing. He did edit few of Swarga’s videos after gaining experience there. Second half of the vacation; he interned as a helper (mechanic) at Kumar Auto Garage. He has now learnt to change tyres and various other menial jobs at the garage. He can prepare bread toast, dosa, roti and few basic dishes.
We have always encouraged him to play outside and never forced him to study. He’s exposed to singing, playing guitar, karate and various other activities out of his own willingness. We are supporting him to learn the survival skills so that if he is not interested in professional courses, he can choose his passion. We are providing him resources, inculcating values and enforcing discipline. If he feels he will be happy being a mechanic, we are okay with that too.
It’s his life after all, as parents we only have the responsibility of his upbringing, not his future. Let him take responsibility of his mistakes and failures. We are teaching him to deal with challenges, to find solutions for problems by helping him think logically and being reasonable at the same time. We really don’t know how much these CAT/ GMAT exams will help him become a good human being.
Some people think we are pushing him into too many things at a very young age. By the way, what is the right age to learn these things? 18 years? He will already be an adult at 18 and won’t be open to learning new things. Everyone who knows Gagan is amazed by his enthusiasm, energy, and intelligence. That’s what one should look forward from children, isn’t it? Our expectations from his life are health, happiness and wisdom. Needless to say, everything else will follow if basics are right.
Story By – Swarnalatha J