Learning from the humble ‘DIYA’

Have we qualified to be a parent? Well it is a life skill. Like any other life skill one needs to keep on unlearning and relearning the parenting. Learn the art of understanding and enlighten your child’s life like a Diya.

For us apart from all the celebrations and fun, each festival also brings an opportunity for retrospection, specially with respect to the values espoused by the festival. Festival of lights – Diwali is no different. We undertake this endeavor, asking ourselves, “What is Parenting?”

Painting by Katie m. Berggren

Imagine going for childbirth and the hospital returning you saying, “Your are not qualified”.
Its actually quite funny that we get the responsible occupation of parenting without any qualification or any selection criteria! If we are doing a bad job of it, we aren’t even fired from the job! No accountability for perhaps the most serious profession in the world.

Do we take a step back and assess ourselves and our performance as parents? Have we even defined what is our role as a parent, what are our expectations from ourselves and how will we judge our performance? Have we thought what is parenting? Is it to tell, teach, control, administer and discipline the child? Is it to constantly agree with their demands, let them have fun, only look after their heart’s wish?

Does being a parent means to be an authority figure or to be a love goddess? Perhaps neither.
Does parenting mean doing something to our children so that they become wonderful adults? Is parenting about our children or about ME?
The biggest trap, according to us, is to consider that we have a lump of clay in our hands, which we have to mold. What naturally follow out of this thinking are expectations, aspirations, control and discipline. And we get into the perpetual state of controlling their life. Allow us to propose the concept of Enlightening Parenting – inspired by our humble Diya (The lamp).

Diya lights up our life, it surrounds us with enlightenment. It shows without pointing. It doesn’t try to change us, but illuminates, both the good deeds, as well as the bad. It doesn’t push us, rather goes with us. It doesn’t put any expectations on us, yet lightens our path, no matter which we choose. It is there always (the assurance), but almost never interferes. It is silent, but listens to all our words and feelings.

While one would not like to make such a judgement, but is there something like BEST parenting? One in which we, instead of trying to change the child, look at changing ourselves – be it our own practices, our habits, our attitudes, our focus, our tempers, our strengths, our weaknesses, and our priorities.

Could parenting be about assuming the role of a Diya, of lighting our children’s paths, of being like an assurance and like enlightenment. Can we change ourselves in such a way that we always fill the child’s life with illumination worthy for his or her growth?

Isn’t the only way a child can become self-disciplined is when we stop disciplining him? How can a child change if he hasn’t seen you changing? Instead of being a source of perspiration, why don’t we become a source of inspiration?

Enlightening parenting yearns to provide children the light in which they decide what is expected from themselves, they set up their aspirations, they are self controlled and they are self disciplined, are self motivated and move towards becoming a SELF worthy to become another illuminating lamp in this world.

Ironically most of the time we are engaged with cracker parenting.

How deafening are all these crackers and bombs during diwali? Check out if your child goes through the same fireworks throughout the year? Take a sample day out of your life –
Morning 7am to night 11pm:
“Get up, take bath quickly, finish your breakfast, don’t fight in school, get carefully in the bus, take care of your clothes, do your homework cleanly, don’t play in water, keep your books back, keep TV volume down, are you sure you ate properly, don’t forget to brush your teeth, go to bed NOW”.

For most parents, children are most reluctant to obey – “Do as I say”. For most children, parents are too eager to instruct – Do as I want”. The fireworks continue throughout the year!

The enlightening parenting says – When they are not being pushed to learn, they kind of push themselves to learn!(be it subjects, manners, behavior, values etc.). We can decorate the child’s environment with our own Diya of values, virtues, beliefs and actions and soon they will light their own Diya from your Diya.

So Diwali in some ways could be seen as a message to switch our role to be a Diya and adapt, change and strengthen our flame to inspire, enlighten and spark the lives of our children.