Should your child be successful or happy?

Bijay J Anand | June 21, 2017

The spirituality of raising our children to be happy, successful AND blissful human beings.

This is a story about a couple that loves their daughters very much. Like most parents do. And like most parents they dream of a beautiful future for their daughters, a secure future, great education, a well settled life, etc.

What I want to share with you in this blog is just how wrongly they are going about it.

So the elder daughter, all of 12 years of age, has severe eczema. From her neck down, almost every part of her body has skin that is rotting away from its flesh. To the point of disfigurement which is most likely to be life long.

The other tragedy of the parents futuristic vision of success for their daughters is that both the girls are not allowed to ‘waste their time’ playing after school. What they are supposed to do ‘for their beautiful future’ is study.

Apart from totally taking away the innocence and joy out of their childhood, one of the pathetic offshoots of the ‘all-work-and-no-play’ is that both the girls are now grossly overweight and unhealthy.

To encapsulate, here are these over-zealous parents, both highly educated from well-heeled backgrounds, literally crushing the souls and lives of two beautiful innocent children due to their misplaced priorities and gross misunderstanding about what life is really all about.

The opposite end of the spectrum is a dodo like myself. I forbid my daughter to study any more than she wants to or has to on account of her homework. Whereas I see other parents on sports day exhorting their wards to excel and succeed, my own words to my daughter are simple, lucid and clear, “Have fun and enjoy”.

My daughter has been told repeatedly that she can fail in her class to repeat it without a care in the world. Not because I can afford it and certainly not because I want her to grow up illiterate, unsuccessful and unhappy, but because this is my vision on how children should really be brought up.

You see, every soul has a path that they must follow. For some it may be to spread cheer and joy through their art, poetry or dance, for others it may be through their brilliance and excellence in mathematics, chemistry or engineering. Some are deigned to become world leaders while other souls prefer a life of contemplative bliss and solitude, away from noise, pollution and ambition.

I have a friend whose daughter was in love with an older man who in turn lived in a remote forest in the South of India. For many years my friend had stopped speaking with her beloved daughter on account of her daughter’s ‘mistake’ at having thrown away the opportunity to procure her American visa and making a ‘successful’ life for herself.

We decided to settle the matter by me accompanying my friend to visit her daughter at her home. A flight to Coimbatore and a four hour drive later, (the last hour on such a remote road that we did not even see a single vehicle along the way) we reached a humble house, surrounded by forest all round next to a pond filled with natural water trickling down as a stream from the mountains, infused with minerals that would heal and rejuvenate.

My friend’s daughter and her boyfriend would wake up in the morning at 4.30, do yoga for a solid 3 hours, then go for a run in the mountains and spend the rest of the day tending to their farm and animals with evenings spent in their naturally provided ‘swimming pool’.

A two-day analysis later, I sat my friend down and asked her to see the incredulity of her anguish and frustration due to her daughters ‘unfortunate stupidity’ as she liked to call it. And this is what I said, “This is the life that ascetics, rishis and mystics yearn for. It is meant for a select few who are old souls and are on the path to true salvation and enlightenment. You wish for your daughter to become entrapped in the Matrix and Maya called life where nothing is real. All dreams, ambitions, achievements and successes are at the cost of immense sacrifices and suffering. And you wish for her THIS success because you want her to be happy?? She is already thriving in the ultimate space of joy and happiness! Do you really think anything in the whole world could be better than this? If it were then those living in palaces, owning their own jets and fleets of Rolls Royces and Ferraris would be the happiest souls on this planet!! Which we all know is not true at all! We all know that money cannot buy you happiness and yet we all run behind it much the same way as street dogs run behind cars. Please understand the essence of what I am saying. Let us both bless your beautiful angel and allow her to attain her own moksha”.

We returned home the next day. Me, revitalized and rejuvenated on account of the few precious days of nature, organic food and silence and my friend at peace and happiness on account of her deep realization of the real beauty and ‘success’ of her daughter’s choice and way of life.

I have written this for all parents who believe that exhorting their children to be rich, famous and successful is their duty and that they should do everything in their power to ensure their child’s future is secure within the socially accepted and laid down parameters of success and fortune. While following this karmic duty let us follow the principles of natural flow and rhythm of life and understand that every soul has a path.

As responsible parents, please allow your wards to find their own path. Do not strangle their natural instinct and desires just to satiate your misplaced priorities. Most certainly, do not attempt to live out your unfulfilled ambitions and desires through your child’s life. Just leave them alone so that they can blossom and flower in their own time and space.

By doing so we will allow for a truly joyous and blissful life for our loved ones. Because for all of us, nothing is more precious than our children, their growth, their success and their happiness.

Love to all, light to all, peace to all.
Sat Nam

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