Today I see a huge contrast between me and my friends, I think the credit for it goes to my mother, the lady who raised me differently than most and made me the strong person that I am today.
I am different than most of, in fact from all of my girl friends. I have no fear walking alone at eight in the night, I feel no fear to stand up for some one helpless in front of a crowd. If someone stares at me or tries to make me uncomfortable in a public space, I feel no fear in returning the favor with interest.
My Mother did not give me false hopes that travelling alone after dusk is safe, but she also did not embed any sort of fear in my mind. Unlike my other friends, who do not dare to step out of the house after the sunset, I think she understood that fear will only make me weak. One day, early morning around 6 am I was on my way to the park for my morning walk with a friend when an aged man on his scooty threw some nasty words at us. My friend was so terrified that she did not even dare to tell this to her parents fearing that it will result in a lot of restrictions. I, on the other hand started practicing self defense techniques with my sibling for I did not just want to defend myself but also wanted to be strong enough to teach such people a long lasting lesson.
I get the idea behind asking girls to ignore is only to protect them. But are we? are we protecting them by asking them to keep quiet? Aren’t we feeding it to her sub conscious mind that she has no choice? Harassment, no matter how small it is can be a major trauma to any girl child. When the “me too” movement went viral, it was heart breaking to see that almost every girl had re-posted it. At least every girl I knew did (including myself). Also, if the house has kids of both genders, the boy will grow up believing that it’s normal for the girl to be restricted and in worst case will expect other females to keep quiet too (not generalizing).
We teach our daughters what to wear and how to behave, then were are we going wrong? May be it’s time to teach them how to react when their dignity and self respect is in qquestion.We sing glories of devi who finished off evils like Raktabeeja and Mahishasur , then ask our girls keep quiet. Is it fair?
A little, but sharp pinch penetrates the walls of my heart as I bring the next point. For it is the cage that mostly mothers mason for their own daughters from a very young age without realizing it, programming their brains and ultimately leaving them with no choice to think out-of-the-box. “Dusre Ghar Jake Kya Kregi” (What will you do after marriage) A huge chunk of girls hear this from their mothers from a very young age.
I ask, rather very humbly request the parents reading this to think, “is it morally correct” ? To raise a girl making her believe that she is being groomed to become a perfect house-holder? Yes, knowing how to do your own chores in very important but not because one day she will have to ‘perform’ but because it will make her more independent. Fortunately, I’ve never had the bad fortune to hear such things, my parents taught us to be independent, so that we can manage living alone. Both me and my brother know how to do most chores, mainly because we see our father doing dishes, cleaning washrooms and making chapattis everyday. Moreover there is a ritual in our home that everyone washes their own plates, no one had set this up but it’s been like that, we like to do our own chores. Household duties are also divided between the four of us.
Children will not understand the term “equality” only by reading in books or by merely listening to the elders and teachers preaching it. We learn what we see, we mostly believe that world is a reflection of our own house. Our experience in our own homes set the definition of “normal” for us.
My friends who are being taught the above lines mentioned in italics are now unable to imagine a girl who does not know how to cook. They repeat the same lines “it will be problem after marriage” . They cannot imagine a girl who wants to renounce the world and devote her life to service, according to them that’s very unfulfilling. According to them, A childless woman is not a complete woman. This rather harmful mentality which has now become a powerful-dense tree is the off spring of seed sown deep in the soil of their young minds sadly by their own parents and environment. And this thinking will do more harm than good, both to themselves and to humankind.
My parents did a wonderful job with me, they didn’t make me see the world through their spectacles, they let me create my own vision .
I was an atheist for a good part of my life, my mother never forced me to change it for faith cannot be forced it must be felt. As a result I am now the greatest devotee in the house 😛 and may be the only one in the house who knows the contents of major Upanishads and Shankaracharya ji’s commentary on them. Now my faith is unshakable, I no longer need to believe in god. why do I need to believe in something that I clearly see exists? Had she forced god on me, I’d have spent my life thinking that she is being illogical.
Her great Parenting helped me feel the most wonderful feeling I have ever felt-devotion and great great Love for humanity.
So finally concluding the long post by underlining the fact that parenting can make a lot of difference. I am thankful that my mother never raised me by the stereotypes, she always let me choose and she believed in my choices ! When I was reading “The truth be told” I couldn’t help noticing that Swami ji’s mother too supported him this way 😀
Lastly my apologies for hurting any sentiments for I did not intend to give any parenting advice and a huge respect and love to all parents out there, for they are the god we see with naked eyes 🙂