“You are going to need to practice a whole hell of a lot if you want to play the drums in a way that doesn’t hurt people’s ears.”
My reply pleased neither my son nor his dad. My friend felt I was being somewhat cruel. Well, i’m not advocating cruelty here, I am simply helping my son step out of the Disney fantasy we all grew up with and were made to believe in as kids that we can be anything we want to be. I’m not sure who started this, but I’ve heard the message all my life that a wish is as good as it needs to be. Wish to be an astronaut and it will happen. Want to be a billionaire hard enough and the dollars must — must — eventually roll in. Well, it is all bullshit, isn’t it? I know people had good intentions and wanted to be encouraging, but this led to children getting ribbons for just showing up, and trophies for “participating,” even if they sucked at whatever game it was. I don’t think that’s such a good thing to do to a kid. I’m not advocating cruelty, but merely truth. I am not saying varied experiences should be withheld. But to enroll a child in a professional arts class because he doodled a particularly interesting shape in preschool is blasphemous. We are the sculptors of much of our own destiny, taking the raw clay of us and scraping away things that don’t belong, and shaping the rest into the true realized self. It takes a lifetime. It’s frustrating for the young, but this is something that just takes time. A lifetime.
“Our job in this lifetime is not to shape ourselves into some ideal we imagine we ought to be, but to find out who we already are and become it.”
A friend messaged yesterday that her daughter would soon be joining advanced music classes and she has been told that she is already lagging by six months – something about cognitive enhancement. Another friend of my sonny I know has his feet in as many different boats as possible in the name of ‘channelizing energies.’ All this unnerves me. I sometimes stand back and question myself. Am I an adequate parent? Over the years, fair share of parenting has been done – my son went for yoga classes, a cricket academy, numerous reading sessions and drum lessons. But is there a defined parenting path? Have I ensured optimal levels of cognitive functioning? Have I charted his trajectories? No. I do not have my own trajectory in order. So I absolutely cannot determine his life direction for him. I cannot and I should not. Is it fair to screw blinkers on to him, wind him up, and set him on a narrow fenced path?
I completely agree with the fact that as parents, children are our responsibility. But being responsible doesn’t mean taking every decision for them, it doesn’t mean making choices for them, and it definitely does not mean conjuring dreams on their behalf. Being responsible means helping them arrive at decisions, letting them know we will stand by their choices and, respect their dreams. Being responsible definitely means accepting their mistakes, and helping them derive their own lessons from them. If as a parent, I am able to teach him how to deal with successes and failures, and how to be persistent while following his dreams – I’d label myself as responsible. The successes and dreams will be his to make, not mine to decide.
“The artist and the mother are vehicles, not originators. They don’t create the new life, they only bear it. This is why birth is such a humbling experience. The new mom weeps in awe at the little miracle in her arms. She knows it came out of her but not from her, through her but not of her.”
This is Arunima, a mother who is growing up along with her son, knowing, learning, making mistakes, rectifying them, searching the path….to happiness!