Friday, January 4, 2013

Parenting – now what to do when your kite’s flying high?

Alright, to really appreciate this piece you will HAVE TO first read my previous blog on parenting which I wrote almost six years ago. See here That was when my daughter just turned a teenager. What prompted me to write now are a little retrospection and a lot of introspection when I deal with her as a college going young adult.

I know, I know that sequels are BIG whether it is Hollywood (Spiderman, et-al) or Bollywood (Dabangg, et-al)!!! However, mine is not a sequel but a continuum and a growth of my parenting philosophy with the passage of time.   
I think that my daughter has emerged from the most tender, tumultuous, and confused teen years as an intelligent, outgoing, and adventurous young adult. She worked really hard and very smart to earn a full scholarship for her four years of college education. So, in my kite flying terms, my kite is flying reasonably high in the sky. However, this has not come to fruition without its share of challenges – past, present and continuous!!!

Back to my analogy of flying kites, if you have ever flown a kite you would know that how difficult and risky it is to control it when it is flying way up in the sky. The string which connects you to the kite can be snapped by you pulling it (kheench) rashly, broken by strong winds, or can be cut by another rival kite in the sky. This becomes all the more difficult when you are in an unfamiliar terrain and when the wind is changing direction all the time. Same has been the case about parenting for me in a country, different than the one where I spent most of my life. It is a different time, a different generation, and a different culture. No matter how much I try to acclimatize myself to all this (sharing the experience of getting the first tattoo with my daughter!), there are times when my ideas conflict with that of hers. Trust me, it is not easy when confronted with arguments which defy traditions, but are logical and rational. Try telling a person of a much older generation about equal rights for women and appreciating diversity – in sexual preferences, religion, ethnicity et-al.

What I have a learned and keep on learning every day is that flexibility with strength is the key to success in parenting. So, many times I give-in to my daughter’s logic and many times I stand firm and draw the boundaries which need to be respected. I know, it is a delicate dance and will vary from parent to parent; child to child; place to place; and time to time. Come on, me and my wife of more than 20 years’ does not agree on most of things when it comes to parenting. It is the same with flying kite as it varies for the type of kite, the skies where it is flown, and most importantly the person who is flying it. However, one thing is for sure that rigidity and lack of flexibility WILL only break – whether it is a relationship or the string that attaches you to your kite flying high in the sky.