Parenting is tricky and a constant struggle not just with our own upbringing and instincts but also with what is taught and followed by the ever-increasing brigade of know-it-all helicopter parents. There is so much of debate nowadays about what we’re supposed to do that what we like doing sadly takes a backseat.
As parents, we know better. Sometimes we have to handle our kids and their demands with a velvet glove and sometimes we need to maintain a steely resolve and ensure they toe the line for their own benefit. Kids are easily swayed by peer pressure and blindly ape their friends for the need to belong. Is it right for us to encourage them?
A Jr had been participating in his class dance for his school’s Annual Day ever since he was in Jr.KG, a ritual he neither enjoyed nor was particularly excited about. As someone who loves dancing it pains me no end to see that the boy has two left feet and a stiff-like-a-stick body. He doesn’t bother completing steps and is concerned more about what the person next to him is doing. I’m truly grateful to him for not reprimanding a guy who accidentally ran into him last year on stage.
Since he’s in Fourth grade now, I put my foot down and instructed him to take part in a skit this year or just sit in the audience with me. I might’ve acted too stubborn but I knew for a fact that he has no stage fright and could actually be heard and seen much unlike in a group dance where I can’t place him amongst 20 other kids until half the song is over. He was convinced this was a good idea only when his teacher happily welcomed him in the team and added him to the Hindi skit as the main character.
An amusing stage debut, my boy was to play a dowry-seeking father-in-law for the Beti bachao theme of the play. From the very first day of practice he seemed upbeat and didn’t cringe or complain when his friends teased him about his ‘buddha’ role. I would be in splits when he’d tell me that ‘his wife has changed’, ‘his daughter-in-law doesn’t say dialogues properly’ or ‘he is a khadoos father-in-law and will not smile’!
The best part was the mature conversations this play sparked between us. A Jr wanted to know the meaning of dowry and why is it a bad thing. Trying to keep it as basic as possible I told him about dowry, the right of daughters on their parents’ property, importance of a girl’s education for her and her family, why boys should insist on not accepting dowry, need for self-defence for everyone, and much more.
A protective big brother to a little kid sister, he patiently took everything in. Only time will tell how much of it is retained but I believe as a mother I did the right thing by educating my son about the things he should and shouldn’t do.
Dressed in a white dhoti and pink khadi kurta with a thick kajal moustache he looked adorably cute! His superb stage presence and confidence in the play reduced me to tears. I’m allowed that, right? Meanwhile, the mothers who had admonished me for ‘not letting my son follow his heart’ accepted that my decision and motivation for my son was right.
People or books might say otherwise but mothers know what’s best for their kids, isn’t it? What do you think?
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