FOR THE SAKE OF FITTING IN
Aayush Patel sighed unhappily as his daughter left to go to her “study group”. He was aware of her activities outside of school, but was at a total loss about what to do. How could he stop his little girl from dressing indecently, having boyfriends, partying, drinking and who knew what else, while still only 16?
Early on, Aayush and his wife had participated in what he felt was a necessary “refinement” of their family. As a young Indian immigrant, he had felt acutely self-conscious of the differences in accent, diet, customs and values from his Western friends. Spurred by the feelings of inferiority, he had made an all-out effort to “fit in” with them. He packed away his Hindu religion and traditional customs lest they ‘spook’ his friends. He avoided speaking in his mother tongue, served alcohol at home, became lax on vegetarianism and allowed his daughter’s indiscriminate exposure to all the trendiest films, shows and songs.
As his daughter entered her teenage years and began to push the limits more and more, Aayush turned a blind eye. Somewhere along the line, the balance tipped and suddenly Aayush knew he had lost control. Both parents realised that they had provided an environment that had encouraged all the behaviours their daughter was demonstrating today. Too late, Aayush understood that a truly refined person is someone who is comfortable in their own skin, confident of their unique identity and in possession of the self-respect that inspires others to accept them for who they truly are.
He had learned his lesson at great cost, and he closed his eyes with deep sadness as the door closed behind his beloved daughter. What had he done?
For parents to ponder and reflect upon:
- Our cultural and religious identity is our precious heritage. Raise children to follow our religious heritage and values.
- Teach children that they will earn another’s respect by being confident of who they are, not by blindly conforming. When someone is sure of who they are, no one can make them feel any less.
- Children who do not stand for something, fall for everything. Give children something to stand for; teach them to preserve their cultural heritage by adopting their native language, tradition and diet. Teach them respectable ways of dressing and presenting themselves in public.
Adapted story from “The Parenting Journal” & many personal experience-shares from friends and family…
How do you truly fit into your children’s lives? Here is a worksheet to be a mindful part of it! Try it and upload your completed worksheets in the comments section so we drive inspiration home!