I was sitting besides my birdie in our room. I pulled back a portion of my hair and tied it with a pin. She smiled at me. Stood up, pulled the pin. The next minute she ushered me to put it in her hair. I smiled with joy. My child was already aping me. Another milestone. I gladly followed her directions.
At night, I replayed the whole incident. Sometimes, you keep replaying the happy moments in your head. You never want them to finish. But by the time it did, I got fidgety.
Today she copied my simple act. Tomorrow my actions.
Even later my opinions, philosophies and judgement. I have a repertoire built over years. Of course every action of mine is not right. I have my own flaws. Would I want her to follow all of them?
I’ve imbibed a lot from my family, society, culture and people who were part of my life. But there are bits which I follow but don’t believe in. I would certainly want my daughter to form her opinions. I would want to guide her with the right facts on the way.
And thus came the thought of this blog post. What were the things I would NOT want her to follow?
1. Those 5 days when you are Impure.
I am glad that more women are now talking against menstrual taboo. I didn’t mind when the shopkeeper carefully wrapped the sanitary pads in a black poly bag. I never asked why I was not supposed to enter a puja ghar. This was so much ingrained into our cultures that it seemed obvious. I never asked my mother why do we do that? I was docile, just followed. Till I became a mother, myself. Do I have enough logic to ask my girl to follow the same ritual? But more than that do I want her to follow? NO.
I cannot ask her to follow something in the name of tradition. I don’t want her to stand outside a temple just because she is bleeding. I want her to believe that it is normal and healthy for a female to bleed every month. And she can do anything and everything during those days.
And of course, I have stopped following it myself, now.
2. Barbies are a girl’s best friend.
Once you enter a kids toy shop, you invariably find cute and pretty dolls for the growing up girls and racing bikes and cars for the boys. Have you thought why the pretty barbies? Or a kitchen set or house hold utensils’ set? These toys demonstrate the sad social prejudice prevailing in our society. A lot of parents in the US have decided to keep their girls away from the Barbie Effect. Yes, this is a valid concern . But more than that, I don’t want my girl to get the notion that we are the weaker sex. We should aim at being delicate and pretty. I choose not to introduce her to this prejudice. Yes, she is allowed to pick one if she wants to. But I wont be the one to nudge here.
3. Study hard now and play later.
This is so close to my heart. Before becoming a mother, I always joked that I won’t insist my child to study hard! I’d let her do what she loves to. It used to cause my mother a good amount of worry. Our parents have changed their fortunes with the help of education. Thanks to them, we didn’t struggle for our basic needs. And the hard work we have done so far would let our kids enjoy an even better life. In our society, our professional designations don’t really talk of who we are. There is always this tussle between our profession and passion. Our passions take a back seat in the pursuit of earning a living.
The time is near when people will recognize you by what “extra” you bring onto the table. I believe that every child has a genius hiding inside. Some come out in open. Others keep waiting to be explored. As Parents, it is our responsibility to find what our child really loves. Tap his/her skills and guide them in the right direction. I would want to give my girl the confidence to build a career out of her passion.
That’s about me and my girl folks. What would you like to not teach your child? Share your views in the comments below.
Previously Published at Parentous.com.
Image Credits : http://becuo.com/jesus-walking-silhouette