To the woman …you will grow to be

Time will trundle… so it does and yet that’s the only constant. My little girl, you will grow into a woman some day.thSIWJ125X

I am addressing this letter to the years you are yet to tread through, to the time when you will stand and watch your childhood swiftly slipping away,  to every moment that will add a lasting colour or fade away the tinge of unbridled joy of nonage, to every loss and win that will carve the shapes of your thoughts, to the ups and downs that will decide the bends of your beliefs and to the drops of rain, to the smell of earth wafting from the ground and to every sight and sound that will shape the woman you will grow to be.

This is to your big self, my fragile limbed and big eyed- 6 year old!,  yes you — who is now called princess and doll, who walks in her frilled frocks with her teddy clutched in her fist.

Let me tell you that the world is not a fair place and life is not a fairy tale… princess and doll are hollow names. You have stepped out believing that the world is just a reflection of your own inner beauty and fragility. It is and it is not.

You have grown up seeing me. I am not such a good example. I am a bundle of my own mistakes and consequence of my own decisions. There is no all-proof way of living a life. There is no rule book.  Every woman’s story is unique and so will be yours.  

Know that there is no substitute to honesty. It pays. It causes pain and discomfort for a short while but it steers things in right direction. Mistakes are important to one’s growth and understanding. If you fall and feel defeated don’t let it reduce you or your spirit. You may even feel cheated at times. Use every adversity to your benefit and wear your scars with pride. Let your successes make you humble and never linger on your laurels for too long.

Remember that there are two days in your life: one in your favor and one against you**. Face them with dignity and grace. (**Reference from Nehjul Balagah)

Trust is a rare gift so choose wisely the people around you. Forgiveness unburdens the heart and does more good to the one who forgives but never forget what hurt you. Don’t dwell in confusions. If you don’t find answers for anything or when things stop making sense , take a step back and wait for destiny to give you hints to choose. There are signs, read them well and trust your intuitions, that’s God’s voice.

Equality is your right and not somebody’s favor. Earn everything. Fear may hold you back sometimes but remember that fear has no body, it has no voice. The pounding in your heart is not audible to others lest you leave it loose, so snuff it right there and rise with courage and self belief. Confidence is a woman’s best friend.

Discover your gift … where your superpower and magic lies…In flair for words or stroke of brush or the power of thoughts or the strength of voice or the art hidden in pores of fingers or wonders of  inquisitive mind. Find out that gift and nourish it well for bringing positive changes in your life and the lives around you. Find meaning and value in your life.

Happiness is in giving. Feed the stray cat or put grains and water for thirsty sparrows. These small acts of kindness and giving have abundance of happiness. Dependency and expectations are roots of setbacks and unhappiness. Don’t hold onto something that does not belong to you. Don’t attach your happiness to things like a house or a car or a relationship. Such things come with a full stop and a following emptiness.

Being a woman is a wonderful gift in itself. You are complete in yourself. Always look ahead but keep on using your side and rear view mirrors.

My dear daughter Shifa, Happy Women’s Day to the woman you will grow to be!

#internationalwomensday2018

 

You Can’t Control the Winds, So Build Stronger Wings

bubble-wrap-boyI recently visited one of my friends. She is a single mother to two young hyperactive boys. Careening over, I saw them running behind each other and sprinting over a doormat without an anti-slip, which stung my intuition that something unwanted would happen. And so it did. The younger one ran over and slipped off banging the back side of his head right at the corner of the door. My friend reacted by coolly saying from the kitchen while steaming coffee: “Be careful the next time”.

I was wondering how I would have reacted in a situation like that. I would have removed all doormats or would have fixed them with anti-slips and would have bought the best of corner guards to avoid such incidents. But then I stopped and thought: should I prepare the child for the ground or the ground for the child? By preparing and providing a risk-free setting am I not inhibiting my child’s instinct to understand her surroundings and courage to deal with the roads and pitfalls ahead?

Today’s parenting style is more of a “Yellow caution tape” form. According to a new cover story by Hanna Rosin for The Atlantic, “The overprotective instincts of modern parents are destroying children’s independence, trapping them in a hyper-controlled bubble that they might never escape.” This behavior is not doing parents much good either; one study indicates that helicopter mothers are more likely to be unhappy.

Let’s question ourselves: Are we letting children make mistakes and take chances or are we trying to shield them, overprotect them and circumscribing their lives with that yellow caution tape?

I came across a wonderful poem called Let me go – An ode to overprotective parents by BillyJoeBobKellyGeorge. I would be doing injustice to the message of this poem if I present only a few lines. So, the full poem I found online is here.

Tied down by blaring yellow caution tape

Boxed, secluded in desolate ignorance

You said, “Life’s a labyrinth of lies and ­corruption”

But who is to say what life is?

Yes, the sins, the sorrows

The uncertain tomorrows

May sound daunting,

Almost haunting

But imagine that box of chocolates

 

Imagine that box of possibilities

Of Life’s little treasures

Of Life’s hard-knock lessons

If only, if only

That box was opened up for me to see

 

Let me Go

To scale the world on my own two feet

Let me Go

To flail my arms and legs into the chasm of reality

Living without risk is like living without reason

Your chains that seize me, in life’s governing, are an act of treason

 

Tied down by blaring yellow caution tape

But I’m ready to cross those yellow lines

Ready to register the traffic lights as green

Whether it is high-paced or steady

I am more than ready

Leaving this nest to create my own space

Life’s a box of chocolates; I want a taste

Facing trials and tribulations head on

Even if it means heading off,

Without you by my side

Parenting is difficult and we’ve all been through those days when we blankly stare at our kids and wonder how are we supposed to make a decent human being out of them. How do we fill their blank minds with just the right amount of everything, when there’s not even a definite recipe for good parenting? And we often compensate for our lack of faith in ourselves by doing more than what’s necessary. Although difficult, it is important to let children fall, bruise their knees, feel jealousy, taste defeat and face rejections. This is the only way they can truly learn life-skills.

Why are we having more and more professionally competent but emotionally unintelligent people? Why do we want life to be a well-defined plan for them instead of a journey of joy and setbacks? Why do we feel threatened by the thought of being left behind amidst the competition? What’s the constructive way to let go that overprotective instinct as parents? I could not find the source but somebody has rightly said, “Prepare the child for the road, not the road for the child.”

I agree that there is a thin line between protective and overprotective parenting. As parents we need that emotional strength to detach ourselves from worrying and distancing ourselves to see how our children cope up with mild distress.

I am sure many of you must have heard of the story of the butterfly who was coming out of the cocoon, when a man took pity on it and made a little insertion to ease its coming out. But this act did more harm than good and the butterfly died before it could bloom in its full glory.

Similarly, children of overprotective parents usually grow into adults with low self-esteem and low confidence. They grow up not trusting their own instincts to brave a challenge.

My favorite overprotective parent will always remain Marlin of Finding Nemo. His overprotective nature provokes Nemo to take the risk of its life. Marlin is adorably irritating in the first half of the movie but life takes a full round for him too and he learns his lessons along with experiencing adventures. All well if it ends well. Marlin gets united with Nemo. Take this quiz* to find out if you are Marlin of Finding Nemo or King Triton of The Little Mermaid.

8957992_orig

Do you:

1       Panic or feel very distressed when your child has a fall and bleeds a little?

2      Anticipate a difficulty and sort it out before your child can face it?

3      Get picky about your child’s friends because of potential ‘bad influence’?

4      Solve problems for your child even when help is not required?

5      Manipulate situations to ensure success for your child?

6      Decide who should be her friends?

7      Snoop around on his privacy – always checking his phone messages or calling up his friends to find out more about him?

8      Text her several times to know about her whereabouts?thCL275ZDV

9      Disapprove of him taking small risks, making mistakes and end up lecturing him most of the time?

10    Talk to her teachers almost every day to see how she is doing?

11     Believe that your child is always right, and blame others for things that go wrong?

12     Take ownership for and not entrust your child with any responsibilities?

13     Believe that your child should never be mischievous, to avoid complaints from others?

14    Advise your teen that those around him are bad and should not be trusted?

15     Ask her to avoid sports and games to prevent injuries?

16    Not let him run small errands because he must cross the road?

17     Keep a sterile home so that she doesn’t pick up infections?

18    Comfort him even when he is not distressed or mildly distressed and not struggling with it?

19    Tell her what to do and how to do, and not allow her to use her own reasoning, ideas, and learn from trial and error or mistakes?

20    Become anxious even when she is comfortable doing something on her own, and insist on helping her?

If a majority of your answers are “yes” Congratulations! You are Marlin of Finding Nemo. Now please reread this post. Back to square one.

Quiz Credit/ References:

*parentcircle.com