Our society always recommended that a family is complete only when a couple has a child.
When I was a bachelor I thought that one should get married but why to add to the responsibilities by having children. To some it sounded as an unnatural life style. Initially I could not comprehend their point of view. I argued that India is a country of teeming millions. One could easily adopt a child if need be. Why to bother about having one’s own children?
Only when I got a son that I could understand the importance of having our own child.
In fact in my own case my pessimistic outlook changed into a positive outlook by becoming a parent.
A child brings in tremendous amount of happiness in a couple’s life. I am reminded of a Hindi poem called “Mera naya bachpan” by poetess, Subhadra Kumari Chauhan. I learnt this poem in my school days. The poetess first talks about herself, sitting in a pensive mood, worried about the problems of life. At that very moment her daughter who was just two years old brings a piece of mud, which she had partially eaten and she had come to feed to her mother. The incident in those moments of happiness brings in a new wave of life in her. She said that through her daughter’s playfulness she once again had the happiness of living her own sweet childhood.
I would like to share part of my own learning experience from my parents. I enjoyed the outings with our cousins and their parents. My parents did the part preparations for such parties. My Dad got the raw material and the special ingredients and my Mom cooked and packed food. All the families brought something special to eat. We all gathered in some lush green areas, which also had children games such as see saw, slide, merry go round and hanging bars. We played for hours and then assembled for our meals. It used to be a great fun playing and mixing with our relatives. We also played several group games, such as “Hindi songs for Antakshari” and “Kho kho”.
Man is a gregarious animal; he lives in a group where he interacts with others like him. These days a lot of interaction among people takes place due to children. When like many Indians who immigrate to other countries, they look for a few common interests to mix with the natives of the country. Here again the children mix with the local children more freely. Quite often through children the whole families start mixing to celebrate various festivals and occasions such as birthday parties and school events. Similarly when the foreigners come to our country for the jobs or business a lot of mixing in families occurs primarily initiated due to the children.
I had another revelation with the passage of time. After all our life span is limited. There are a lot incomplete tasks, which sometimes get completed by the new generation. One can create better opportunities for the children than what were available to him. The life becomes much more meaningful, rich in quality when one can pass on some part of him in terms of characteristics, consciousness, enrichment and heritage by descent. It in effect is the continuity of life which is a very profound thought, which all together brings in a paradigm shift to the whole meaning of life.
The children learn a great part from their parents too. They understand the importance of values, history, culture, arts, languages, dialects, society, relations, recipes, anecdotes, folklores, remedies and all. Thus a part of self, in some form gets passed on through generations.
A child brings in a lot of responsibility for the parents. It gives a lot of meaning to their existence. They work harder and their contribution to the society also grows. Children give parents the enthusiasm to complete ordinary chores with great relish. I have observed so often that parents put in that extra hard work in their mundane jobs with a feeling of satisfaction, because they believe that ultimately it would help their children. Children help parents to be good neighbors, good citizens and good people. Those people’s attitude might had got hardened after living through the hardships of life, but when they have children of their own they want to be good role models for them. They often imbibe better qualities in themselves such as kindness, forgiveness and mirth. They set higher goals for themselves and make their lives more purposeful.
Therefore I believe the children are the centre of the universe. They make our life purposeful and enjoyable.