Friday, April 13, 2007

Parenting – keeping your kite flying high

Being a father of just turned teen daughter and a young man of six I have always been intrigued by the various parenting techniques/theories preached by the “experts”. To add to this distinguished list here is my own – parenting is like flying a kite.

As a kid growing up in New Delhi, India I used to love flying kites, especially during the month of August and more specifically on August 15th, India’s independence day. That is where my expertise in flying kites comes from. To fly a kite you off course need a kite, a reel of thread, good weather and some breeze. But before I move to why parenting is like flying kite, let me introduce you some native terms and its meaning in plain English. “Tunka” – tugging at the thread lightly, “Kheench” – pulling back the thread and finally “Dheel” – letting go the thread.

Alright, now that you have my background and the native terms clear in your mind let us come to the subject matter. You might want to re-read the explanation of the three native terms as I am going to use these and not the plain English in my theory. Every parent wants to see their child become very successful in life and reach for the heights just like one wants to see one’s kite flying high in the sky.

Talking about kite first – to fly the kite one has to tie it with the thread and provide it with nice weather and with some breeze. In the beginning just to put the kite in the air one has to let it go in the air a little, let it catch the breeze and then do the Tunka and give some Dheel. The combination of Tunka and Dheel keeps the kite in the air and some times when the kite goes wayward you have to do Kheench too. This deft combination of Tunka, Dheel and Kheench get the kite stabilized in the sky. Once that happens one has to give more Dheel, i.e. allow more thread to take the kite go higher in the sky. You feel ecstatic to see your kite soaring in the air, though the higher it gets the farther it gets away from you. At the end of the day you know that though your kite is way up in the sky…it is still attached with you through that thin thread.

Same is true for the kids. By birth, adoption or maybe through marital misadventure they are already tied to you. One has to provide them the right environment to learn and grow (ala good weather and breeze) right from the beginning. At early age itself they should be allowed some level of independence (ala Dheel) so that they can be more confident. From time to time we have to check them (ala Tunka) to make sure that they are doing the right things. Sometime if they go wayward we have to pull them up too (ala Kheench). If you provide them the right environment and use the Tunka, Dheel and Kheench like an expert, you would see them grow into fine human being. Once they are old enough and responsible enough you have to let them go and take their own flight. It would be a sheer joy to watch them take on the world and reach the heights of their chosen fields. All you have to do is to keep that thread of love and compassion intact so that you are always connected to them.

Hey I have flown a lot of kites high in the sky as a kid but as a parent I am still at an initial stage. I am sure that if I keep on using my kite flying lessons in parenting, one day I will see my kids reaching the higher grounds than what I could ever reach in my life. That will be the happiest day of my life. All I have to make sure is to keep that thread of love and compassion as strong as ever…as that would be the only thing connecting me to them.

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