Lessons from the Kerala girl who ended up her life in the depths of Meenachal River

“There was a time when even a pebble hurts you, your father used to feel heartbroken…” I told my daughter who had turned 11 recently. She was curiously watching me, perhaps uncomfortable about the ‘change’ in my approach towards her.

“But, do you know that years later, I feel happy when something hurts you?” As she looked at me puzzled, I added. “I feel happy because it will prepare you for facing adversities in life and to raise beyond all those, even when I am not with you!” As she retired to bed with her eyes heavy and fell asleep in a while, I sat close to her caressing her hair. Who knows the heart of a father? Within the silence of his self, there is an ocean of love that knows not its own depth!

The news of a girl who committed suicide today after she was caught for cheating in the examination might have brought tears into the eyes of a number of people in Kerala and elsewhere. We could also find most of them pointing their finger towards the school management where the girl appeared for the examination. However, rarely we see people looking into the core of the incident that would unveil the tip of a huge iceberg that exists in the Indian community.

Many of the Indians have a story of an unpleasant childhood which is often associated with poverty or adversities in their lives. While these adversities have prepared them for the very best in their lives in the future and have played a major role in the success of their lives, often many of them have a notion that their children shouldn’t go through such circumstances in their lives. As a result, most of the parents tend to fulfil even the ‘silliest’ desires of the kids.

There is also a tendency in an Indian community where most of the parents are overprotective who often doesn’t let their children do even the smallest things that they can do. Perhaps a fear that if that would pose any difficulty for the tender ones when they do so, children often tend to remain depending upon the parents until they are literally thrown unto the hassles of life. This not only brings stress to the children but lead to a state of emotional trauma.

During the olden days, when there existed joint families, often one’s own choices were not important. We must assume that a vital quality to appreciate the tastes of others, coping up with the likes and dislikes of people around us and even the so-called sacrifices for the sake of others were considered inevitable. As joint families paved the way for nuclear families, we often see parents compete each other to fulfil all the needs of their children which often feed their ego and affect adversely in their future.

Bringing up children responsibly and to teach them the responsibility is the most important part of parenthood. Let them explore the world, let them do things by themselves, let them actively participate in the process of decision making. From the very childhood, ask them opinions on various areas, let it be about choosing the right chocolate or finding the best dress for them – it is important to evoke the faculty of critical thinking and reasoning which has to be nourished right from their childhood.

Like how we bring pain to our muscles to our body while performing fitness exercise, we need to evoke pain in the mind too that would, in turn, strengthen their mind. Only this would help our children fight against the odds in their lives and excel in their lives. As the poet rightly said, ‘pain is the breaking of the shell that encloses your understanding’. Let our children raise beyond their adversities in their lives! All that we have to do is to support the very process of growth as a wise, responsible and successful individual.

While joining the grief of the parents and relatives of the girl who chose a wrong decision in her life, let me remind you all the poem by Khalil Gibran which is rather a doctrine for bringing up an attitude for parenting:

Your children are not your children.
They are the sons and daughters of Life’s longing for itself.
They come through you but not from you,
And though they are with you yet they belong not to you.

You may give them your love but not your thoughts,
For they have their own thoughts.
You may house their bodies but not their souls,
For their souls dwell in the house of tomorrow,
which you cannot visit, not even in your dreams.
You may strive to be like them,
but seek not to make them like you.
For life goes not backward nor tarries with yesterday.

You are the bows from which your children
as living arrows are sent forth.
The archer sees the mark upon the path of the infinite,
and He bends you with His might
that His arrows may go swift and far.
Let your bending in the archer’s hand be for gladness;
For even as He loves the arrow that flies,
so He loves also the bow that is stable.
(Kahlil Gibran, The Prophet)

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