PARENTING: Best Buddies

Published December 13, 2008

In our conversations my father would narrate several interesting anecdotes that remain with me, which now I narrate to my sons. Those short stories and anecdotes, I realise, go a long way in shaping an individual`s personality.

When I was two years old, my father befriended me. Not too long after that my mother passed away. Under such circumstances one can imagine how a child would miss the undivided attention of the mother.

However, my father was a compassionate human being, who raised me with all the good values that can be imparted to a child. The sincerity and commitment of his efforts filled the vacuum I might have suffered without my mother. As a child, I often accompanied my father to his office. I used to sit on the sofa in his room and observe him the whole day through. I would evaluate the way he dealt with different people and the way he conducted himself with his colleagues. I picked up a lot on social skills from my father`s demeanour and recall even today how politely and humbly he dealt with the staff assisting him.

Apart from the passive learning, every now and then he would leave me with an unfinished thought to dwell upon. He encouraged me to express myself by leaving me with a story or an essay to write while he would go away for his meetings.

Upon his return he would sit down with me and take a look at my work. Never in all those years did I find him giving me scarce attention vis-à-vis my little achievements in penning down my raw thoughts.

Consequently we started to talk to each other frequently. He had a natural flair for communication. He would

instantly connect with my siblings on various issues.

As time progressed, the empty nest syndrome left only two people at home —my father and myself. That was the time when our bonding further consolidated. My father and I would converse on various issues. As a prolific reader, he could speak at length on any subject. He would often say to me, considering my lack of appreciation for Urdu literature and poetry, `it is good to have read Milton and Shakespeare, but you would remain an incomplete man if you don`t read Ghalib and Iqbal!`

In our conversations he would narrate several interesting anecdotes that remain with me, which now I narrate to my sons. Those short stories and anecdotes, I realise, go a long way in shaping an individual`s personality. For example, to instill dignity of labour in us he told us that Abraham Lincoln, having lost 17 elections, finally made it to the White House.

One fine morning a friend of Lincoln came to the White House. The friend, who was ushered into the living room, was shocked to see Abraham Lincoln squatting on the floor with a piece of cloth in his hands, vigorously shining his shoes. The friend exclaimed in disbelief, “Mr President, do you polish your own shoes?” Abraham Lincoln retorted, “Why? Whose shoes do you polish?”

Confidence in children has largely to do with how their parents have brought them up. It is this confidence that instills a sense of reassurance to deal with the bitter realities of life. There couldn`t possibly be a more superior act on behalf of parents than befriending their children, for by doing so they make their children withstand life`s challenges.

The element of respect must never be confused with the element of fear, as they are mutually exclusive. A parent shall certainly cultivate respect in the child but never do so on the crutches of fear and apprehension. The thread connecting parents and children must always reflect positivity for sustainable personality development. Relationships based on the fear factor result in unsuccessful children in terms of personal and material well-being.

Parents must remember that in today`s day and age, imparting superior values to children is top priority.

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