There is a small park within a 5 minute walk from my home. It has a walking track and I go there regularly for my morning and evening walk. Whereas, there are only walkers in the morning in the park, there are a lot of children and their parents too in the evening. There are also some stone benches in which many people sit and chat (Gossip?). This evening I overheard an old couple complaining about their son not taking proper care about them in their old age. It was something like that but I could not hear the words completely and properly as I was in a brisk walk. But the complaint triggered a deep thought in my mind.
What is the relationship between parents and children under Indian context? What at all is a relationship? Is relationship something that fulfills our desires? Or, is a relationship for mutual benefit? What does that mean? So far as you fulfil my desire you are a friend, a relative or whatever it means, a sort of relationship. The moment you fail to fulfil my desire you cease to be in relationship with me, is that not so? May not be so abrupt, but broadly speaking, it amounts to that, right? (Jiddu Krishnamurti explains it better)That is the broad outline we all have for a relationship. (You are free and welcome to deny this, but it is a fact which you will see if only you have enough courage to dive deep into your own mind!)
Now, coming to the relationship between parents and children, for a great majority of people of all religions and cultures, across the world the prime concern in a marriages is to produce and rear children. In Indian context, this act of raising children is considered a noble cause. Every parent feels proud if his/her ward is good in studies. If the children are not so good, well there are many methods, some devious and some are even morally questionable, to make one's child acquire a professional degree. If this is the case among job oriented people, the business class sees to it that their male children pick up complicated business tricks so as to become a shrewd businessman when grown up. And there are other options to make your child grow up well into earning abilities. Nobody wants his child to become an irresponsible vagabond in adult life. And I am talking about lower middle and middle middle class families in India.
So far so good. But having an attitude of making sacrifices to bring up your child and expecting adequate returns for your sacrifices later, is something I personally disapprove of parenting. Whatever little or great you do to bring up your child properly within your means, can never be a sacrifice, because in addition to the natural instinct which we see even in animals, your sense of pride that makes you do the utmost good for your child. If you are bringing up your child with an eye on your old age securities, well I am left with no other choice than to term it as a form of business! Even if you are secure in your old age needing nothing but love from your grown up children, but if you still think that it is because of your sacrifices that has made your children what they are today, I don't consider it as sacrifice at all.
Thus goes the thoughts of this old man!