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The joys of parents are secret, and so are their grieves and fears.
-Francis Bacon

Countless pieces of advice have been penned on how parents can nurture their children in an ambience of love and acceptance. Counselling sessions, workshops and the like on parenting skills have become a fad. Many parents have been chastised for the allegedly dismal way in which they have reared their children. Though in the theatre of life, sacrifice has been the essence of their enacted roles, parent groups continue to silently bear the fact that they are hardly given any recognition for their efforts, especially from their own children. Parents have committed their fair share of follies but what has stood out unequivocally is their unconditional love for their off springs.

Have children carried out their fair share of do’s and don’ts that have so far been perceived to be reserved only for parents? Do values need to be in inculcated in children on how they can make their homes more loving and comforting abodes for their parents? If yes, for all the children out there, a few suggestions have been highlighted below through which they can make their parents feel wanted, recognized, understood and most importantly loved.

Suggestion No.1
May be just a little more!

Parents are often type cast into the ‘ruthless instructor’ mould. Therefore, their instructions are looked upon as constructions that exist to be demolished. Frequently, the misconception exists that parents don’t have faith in their children to attempt life experiences on their own. However, parents (believe it or not!) have had their fair share of life experiences. They have seen numerous pitfalls and undergone innumerable disappointments. While the desire of many children is for increased freedom, the issue for parents is more importantly and rightly about protecting their children from unwanted disillusionments and regrets. When the time is ripe, parents will allow their children to leave the safety of their nests and soar into the vast horizon. In an era of speed, trusting parents’ ‘delayed’ decisions often seem to be a taxing activity but speed even today kills. The story of the hare and the tortoise still holds true –slow and steady wins the race.

Suggestion No.2
Hear them out!

Guidelines on effective parenting skills have emphasized the need for parents to lend a patient ear to their children’s woes, disappointments and joys. But the roles if reversed provide a vital question, “How many children hear their parents out?” Parents have to constantly meet the needs and pressures of their jobs and at the same time cater to the demands of their children. Frequently, a caring listener to their demanding life experiences is all that they yearn for from their off springs. And as Muriel Spark once said, “Parents learn a lot from their children about coping with life”. When you listen to them, you not only display your support but also instill in them the confidence that no hurdle is insurmountable.

Suggestion No.3
The three golden words!

In the hustle and bustle of this complex and ever changing world, many words go unsaid and yet, human desire for love and acceptance is still desired as in the days of yore. Parents are no exception to this rule! They are advised by one and all to verbalize their love for their children but do children do the same? It is important that children do not only evolve into a receiving generation but also a giving generation. Giving, here, does not indicate merely material appurtenances but more importantly, showering parents with affection and by expressing the three golden words, “I LOVE YOU”. It makes a world of difference in their lives. It peps them up with renewed vigor and vitality. Have children reserved these three heart-warming words exclusively for their fleeting friends and rock and roll stars?

Today, many parents are making efforts to reach out to their children but love and sharing are nourished by reciprocity. If children extend a hand of friendship to their parents, they will in turn be more than willing to comprehend their needs. Like everyone, children, too, have a responsibility, a responsibility to take a little of their time out to appreciate the wisdom of their parents. After all, parents were children too!

Published in The Hindu dated May 18th, 2004