We love our children naturally. They are the part of our flesh and blood. They resemble us and carry forward our legacy. It is only natural to think about them. It is only instinctive in living beings of some sizable intelligence to care about their young ones. Our protective instincts come into play with regard to our children.
In this world, the concept of the survival of the fittest is evident and as such, in order for our children to survive, we have to let them experience harsh circumstances.
We cannot be with our children forever. The best gift to them would be to make them capable of not only survival but growth. Therefore, it is necessary to expose them to rough waters in order for them to have a safer and brighter future.
Mothers, tell me something, do you remember the day when you first took your toddler to school? I am sure most of you do and I am sure you would felt the anxiety of leaving your loved one, your protected one in the outside world. There must have been tears in your child’s eyes that day. But you did what was right. It was important to let go of your child for a few hours just as it is important to let go of them when they mature. It is for their own good, or else they might never discover themselves and their independence.
I remember a story about a person who watched a fledging butterfly struggling to break open from its cocoon. After watching intently for quite some time, the person thought of helping the butterfly. He broke open the cocoon and waited for her to use her wings and fly, but it didn’t happen. The breaking of the cocoon by the butterfly is a natural process, in which she finds her strength and her body generates the fluids necessary to fly. By trying to help and make things easier for the butterfly, the man rendered the butterfly weak and unable to fend for herself.
As they say, “No pain, No gain.”
Those who have read the book, ‘And Mountains Echoed’ by Khaled Hosseini, would know the story of how an impoverished man sells her daughter to have her adopted by a rich woman. In the book he relates to his children a story about a demon who picks up a man’s child. The man fights hard to get his child back and undergoes great hardships but he gives up only when he understands that the life the demon is giving to his child is much better than what he could ever provide. The story is not simply fiction. The same happens in real life.
I have also read true stories of how in the times of the Irish Potato Famine, Irish farmers willingly and enthusiastically shipped their children to America so that they could have a decent future there as domestic help or laborers rather than die in depravation in front of them. They were willing to let go of their children. They were willing to never to see them again.
They were willing to put their children in a boat for they knew that the water was safer than land.
Love is a strange thing. It enables us to do things which we would have never thought of doing. Love makes us stronger, sometime even more vulnerable, but in the end we do everything in our might and beyond, for the wellbeing of our loved one. It may hurt us deep inside to be stern with our child, to not give in to their every whim and fancy. Sometimes even making them hate us for doing what is right for them because we know that they are yet to discover what is good for them.
It took great many years for me to understand my father. I respected him, loved him as a daughter would but in those years of growing up, I never really understood him. He would make me rise early in the day and stay up late in the night to me study hard. I believed I did decently in school but I never heard a word of appreciation from him. He always asked me to do better next time. I thought he didn’t consider me good enough. I worked harder to prove myself to him. It is now that I understand that when he told me that I could do better, it was not that he thought that I was not good enough but that he thought I was capable of more than I knew. He had complete faith in me and pushed me to do more.
The days when I silently complained that I had to study so hard while my class fellows had an easy life, I forgot to consider that he too was giving up an easy life for me. He too rose early, stayed up and in the night guiding me. It was because of him that I have discovered my strengths. I know that whatever the situation may be, I will never give up. In dire circumstances when I have lost all, I can still start everything from scratch for I know I can work hard. I have faith in myself.
He gifted me the best gift a parent to could give. The gift of education. The gift of self-worth. I now understand this because I am a parent. And because I too would put my children in a boat when I know that water is safer than land.