Story by: Salman Ahmad Siddiqui
It was a bright Sunday. I was on morning walk when I saw Khoob Chand, the gardener, engaged with a tiny rose plant with a single bud. I asked him“Khoob Chandji ! I have noticed that you are very much particular about this plant and take special care. But there are so many other plants in the garden which need your attention too”. He replied “Sahebji, I am a gardener; I have planted all these flowers. I know each of them. Every one of them has different requirements. I sit a few minutes with them, adjust their branches, put some fertilizer, channelize their water flow and allow them grow “. Look, how each of them is blooming. This could have been not achieved, had I not been channelizing their need at right time and in the right way”.
The first kid of a parent is always special, so was my daughter. As time went on, my daughter grew up under special care and protection. For each petty need, I was always there to support and help her. I never allowed any hardship to come in her way and she always looked for help and support whenever needed. My love and affection have made her dependent on me. She always felt confident when I am around her. However, I observed that my overprotectiveness had dented her confidence and she faltered in becoming a self-dependent child.
Now she is well matured, well-educated with MBA in Finance degree and working with an MNC company. She has developed immense self-confidence over time. But the instinct of inherent hesitation is still visible many a time.
And then came Khoob Chand, giving me lessons of being a good gardener. Father is a facilitator for his kids. He is not the doer, but an enabler. He needs to channelize the resources to enable his child to do his task himself.
I realized then, being more protective in love and care, sometimes I have done more damage to my beloved one. I have done a great injustice to my daughter by not channelizing the resource. I failed to develop her as a strong, self-confident, self-dependent child, fit for today’s world. I am failed in my task as a father.
The first thing which I chose for my 2nd daughter and son is, changed my behavior — —
— I started speaking more often to them, not like a father but as a friend. I stopped them treating like kids. I avoided lecturing and engaged with them discussing things like grown-ups. Sometimes our discussion went very deep where we Google-checked facts to prove the points.
— I started giving full attention while in discussion with them. I stopped using my cellphone. My laptop was kept aside, favorite TV shows were ignored and I ensured to bring confidence in them. This established a cohesive bonding among us. The knowledge that their points are heard and not overlooked by me was most important for us.
— I never interrupted when they tried to explain something and listen. If I am in disagreement, I made my points in the last. I logically proved how coherent my views are and ensure that they agreed to it.
— Even I tried to involve them in discussing crucial family matters to give a feel of importance. No doubt the final decision which came out of the discussion was always beneficial for us.
— I stopped them dropping and picking from school at a very early stage. I bought bicycles for both of them and ask them to self-manage their route. Up to VII Std, they managed by cycle until I gave them scooty after VIII Std.
— I stopped giving safety lectures when they were about to ride the vehicle. We discussed the importance of road safety and self-protection discussed among other things. Giving examples of recent accidents proved quite beneficial. Thanks to God, there are no traffic rule violations or miner accident so far.
— I stopped imposing my decisions on their carrier choices. I, however, started discussing its merits and demerits before deciding which is to go for.
— My son was very fond of computers and electronic gadgets. Seeing his interest in technology, I did not baN computers and mobiles but I set him to multitask, preyed on his interest and put him in APTECH Institute for IT computing course. This developed agility and quick decision-making skills within him. As a result, he was much ahead of his classmates. He was a full flagged IT professional before he passed out his XII Std. This played a pivotal role in building his carrier as a professional AI — IT Engineer. He completed his Master’s Degree from TUM Germany in AI and is now persuading his research in AI.
— There was no discrimination between my son and daughter. They had the liberty to choose their field of interest. I always helped them in achieving their goals by channelizing resources. My second daughter is an MBA in HR. Working with a multinational company and an aspirant of Civil Services.
In the bargain, my ambition to break the middle-class tag diminished. The dream to establish a upper-class elite with a lavish lifestyle faded away. I started spending more on the latest gadgets. PCs, Laptops, smartphones, TABs those days when people of my class thought it is a luxury were my favorite. I was always in crisis management of funds. But no matter, my kids have started seeing the world from a different angle.
Today when I look back towards my entire 62 years of life, sometimes feel sorry. I have not build any heritage bungalow, collected no luxury cars nor piled up no hefty bank balance.
But I am satisfied today like Khoob Chand. He channelized the garden resources required to achieve these blooming flowers. I sowed the seeds of knowledge and wisdom within my kids. This would generate wealth million times more than what I would have left as an asset for them. I am certain, they will lead a life better than me.
While choosing better carrier over an accumulated wealth, I preferred to choose the former for my kids. Was I wrong?