Life & Style

Lessons between generations

Life lessons are not always passed down from parent to child. Sometimes, children flip the script

Come Father’s Day and tributes pour in, on social media and off it, mostly about what we love/miss about our fathers or about some of life’s greatest lessons they’ve imparted to us. This time around though, we thought we’d ask some of these special men what it is that they have learnt from their children over the years.

According to Andrew Clarance, a journalist based out of Delhi, “A child actually reveals who you truly are. More than raising a child, the child raises you. It’s a truly revealing experience about oneself. As a father, I’ve learned to be more patient and loving.”

“My greatest gifts from God, are my children, Diya and Chirag. Seeing the world through their eyes, makes it so beautiful and filled with wonder. They have taught me to love unconditionally, forgive freely, and to live as if each day were a new start to life,” says Alfred Inbaraj, a radiologist.

Likewise, James Sundararajan, director of an NGO, states, “My children have taught me how I can love someone unconditionally. I never knew that this was humanly possible until I had kids.”

“Two important life lessons my children have taught me are to be fearless and carefree,” says Naresh Goel, an engineer. “Having met with a minor accident during an adventure camp when I was small, I stopped indulging in any activity where I was prone to injury. While my kids were growing up, I was rather worried when they would show interest in activities, including something as simple and fun as roller skating. It was only when my son turned 18 and we went to New Zealand that summer that I finally tried something out of the box, only because my son kept insisting and cheering me on. We went skydiving together that year, and suddenly, out of nowhere, I learnt to let go and enjoy the experience. Now I even enjoy zip lining and river rafting — activities I would have never tried if it wasn’t for him,” he adds.

For George Mathew, who has grown up children who live abroad, “Learning from my sons how to use my smartphone and laptop have helped me keep in touch with my grandchildren. Also, my daughter taught me how to pay all my bills online and that has made life so much easier for me.”

“‘The times they are a-changin’, sang Bob Dylan, and in this day and age, one of the most important lessons I’ve learnt as a parent is that we have to evolve. What worked 20 years ago will not work now. We cannot discipline our children the way we were disciplined, curb their freedom in the exact way that we felt our freedom was curbed. We also cannot expect our kids to stay home all the time over the weekend or dress the way we used to. It is from my children that I have learnt to ‘chill out’ and adapt,” Roshan Vasanth, a businessman, explains.

Rushil Raj, a corporate trainer with teenage children, says, “It is only from my kids that I could have learnt that they have dreams too, for themselves, and those dreams might be very different from the ones you have for them, nonetheless, as a parent you need to support them, root for them, and hope that the upbringing you’ve given them will help them make the right decisions in life, whether in terms of their career choice or who they decide to marry.”

It has been said that our children can be our greatest teachers if we are humble enough to receive their lessons, and going by what these fathers have had to say, there’s no arguing that while we try to teach our children all about life, our children teach us what life is all about!

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Printable version | Mar 27, 2020 6:37:24 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/life-and-style/lessons-between-generations/article24163591.ece

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