Where did we go wrong?

You know my biggest fear? That one day, I would look at the man my son had become, and wonder what went wrong with my parenting. That, he would be far from the sensitive, loving, generous and honest boy I am raising. That my values, my teachings won’t mean anything. That I was an unsuccessful parent.

But, would I be? Even if all of you (maybe) aren’t parents, all of us have parents. All of us were kids once upon a time. Did we always follow what our parents asked us to? Are we exactly the people our parents wanted us to be? Do we all believe in what our parents do? No. Then where did we learn all these other things, new ways of thinking, behaving and reacting? There are so many factors involved in making a person that they are. Apart from their immediate family, it’s the social culture around them, the schools, teachers, friends, popular media and so on and so forth.

If you are an Asian, especially from an Indian family you know well, how involved almost to the level of being intrusive, our parents are. All our life. You might be 50, but still lectured and judged by your parents. Still questioned where you going, when you coming, why are you late, why you wasting money, why you wearing that….

It’s frustrating. Why can’t they just accept that we don’t need this anymore?!! Don’t we?

I moved out of my parents house when I was 17. Even if I lived with my uncle for the next 3 years pursuing my education, it wasn’t the same. There weren’t that many questions and mostly, they would let me be. After all, you can’t really scold, yell and scream at someone else’s kid. Post that, whether it was for education, work or later when I got married, I never stayed with my parents for more than a few weeks at a time.

When I was 30 and my son was a year old, I asked them to move right above my place. My dad had recently gone through a by-pass surgery and I wanted him to be closer to me and also, I needed their help with my son, so I could get back to work. My parents are extremely judgmental people and have really difficult standards which clearly most people aren’t able to meet. At the same time they are the most accepting. Doesn’t make sense right? I don’t know how they are like this. They will judge you to heaven and back but still accept everything that you are.

You want your friends to ask you how you are doing, but not your parents to worry about you?

Parents think they will finally get a break when the baby starts walking, eating by itself, talking, going to school, getting a job and all the other milestones we measure our lives by. But, there never is a break. How do you stop caring for and loving something which means the world to you? But at the same time, how do you handle a completely different adult who seems to be nothing like the kid you knew?

I have recognized and acknowledged wholly and completely, the importance of what my parents taught, want, expect and say only in the last few years. Not just because my kid is growing up and I see the struggle up, close and personal but also I saw and do see some amazing humans hurt and confused because of their own children. These parents’ worst nightmare has come true. They are wondering where did they go wrong? What was lacking in their parenting?

I don’t think there was. Well, in most situations they are far from the blame. How does one kid turn out into a decent, responsible, adult and the other into this horror? I looked at the pattern and wondered if it was the younger kid? Are the second or last borns always such irresponsible idiots? Perhaps, they are spoilt by the excessive love, attention and in most cases abundance of all that they need. The first borns usually bear the brunt of being the responsible older kid, forced to turn into an adult way before they ideally would on their own. But, the younger ones are living the life, not facing any responsibility till much later. They usually have 3 parents to clean up their mess.

But, after a little more thinking I came to the conclusion that it just can’t be all. I know a lot of last borns who are absolutely stellar people. Beautiful human beings, holding dream jobs, being loving children, friends and partners.

Is it the set of friends we make? You will agree with me when I say that friends play a humongous role through our lives in shaping us. From Kindergarten, through our teens and into our workplace, these people influence some of our major decisions in life. Irrespective, I believed friends play a substantial role in the way we live our lives only, maybe till our mid 20s. After that, we have the sense and maturity to make our own calls. But, not only did I watch people ruining their relationships and lives, mesmerized by a set of (so called) friends, I did that too. Why so called? Because these people are far from the real definition of friends. I saw people we believed to be beautiful inside and out, turn into monsters. Unfeeling, selfish monsters. Did these friends turn them into that (If that’s the case, these are people with really weak constitutions)? Or did these friends release the disaster they always were?

I feel the second scenario is true, then nobody is to blame. Irrespective of what our parents teach, of what our friends try to influence, we all our own individuals. Individuals who are unique in one way or another. In the way we think, feel, process or react.

So, if we choose to dwell and live in the negative that the life has, it’s on us.

If we choose to disrespect the people who love us and care for us, it’s on us.

If we choose to live in the destructive momentary happiness we get, it’s on us.

If we choose to ignore the opportunities given to us, it’s on us.

If we choose to be a shell of a human being we could have been, it’s on us.

And when this day comes, friends will walk away. They might pat you on the back, tell you they are there for you, but will walk away to their own lives. The only people left devastated and heartbroken in the destruction you bring about, will be your family. Family you called names, dissed, yelled at, lamented that they don’t care, that they don’t get you. These few people will be there, to bring you up and start all over again. They will willingly forget that they were supposed to be free! You are an adult, it was time they stopped worrying about you. But, they will still pick you up and teach you to walk again.

So, when your mom is upset because you came late again, listen to her. When your dad is pissed cause you aren’t paying attention at work, listen to him. When your brother or sister give you an advice regarding, work, friends or relationships listen to them. They say this because they love you. Because they can’t help but care. They might not know how to say it exactly. They probably aren’t saying it in the way you believe it should be. But, they are saying it because they don’t want you to fall.

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