Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Standing on one's own legs

It is a natural tendency in all of us is to give a head start to our children. The idea being that they should not pass through the difficult time we had to as youngsters. But what we call as a start or help actually pulls them back. I know of parents carrying the school bags of children, doing their home work, and attending to the various things they ought to do by themselves. As a result the child starts looking to mom, dad or sister for assistance and starts leaning on others for something or the other. The urge to be self reliant and independent and to do things by him/her is lost. The mother tries to make his school project better by doing herself. But allow the child to do his own work and see the immense joy and satisfaction he derives in his face when he completes it. The outcome of child’s work may not be as good as mom would have done. But the child would have derived a great sense of accomplishment and built self confidence in his ability and self respect in his independence. The greatest service to the child by a parent would be to train the child to be independent as far as possible and to trust his own powers. If the youngsters are prevented from being self reliant, they would turn out to be weaklings and failures later in life.
How many of the youngsters are independent and ready to face life on their own? Take for instance getting a seat in educational institution or a job. They lean on their money power, on friends and people in high authority or on their own social status. How many are willing to walk alone without crutches? Can you blame them if we allow them to lean on us right from young age? As Emerson put it “He who sits on the cushion of advantage goes to sleep.” I know many youngsters fondly and sincerely hoping for some lucky break without any serious attempt on their part to stand on their own legs. It is only those who divest themselves of all props and learn to work their way up who finally succeed. One cannot learn swimming in shallow waters. It is only in adversity that man’s abilities are truly tested. By jumping into deep waters (of course with guide around) where one has to swim or drown, one learns faster. So in life too when they are compelled to fend by themselves or live by their own wits, they will surely be a success. To quote Orison Swett Marden ”We do impossible things in life simply because we have to.Self reliance has the best substitute for friends, influence, capital,a pedigree, or assistance. It has mastered more obstacles, overcome more difficulties, carried through more enterprises perfected more inventions than any other human quality. The man who can stand alone, who is not afraid of difficulties who does not hesitate before obstacles, the man who believes in his own inherent power to do things-he is the man who will win.”


  1. Now a days children are much more smart and well informed and are able to take important decisions all by themselves and do not like to be guided.Right guiding from their early childhood to make independent judgement of many things happening around them certainly helps them take right decisions in their life throughout.

  2. Ya I think spoon feeders are the worse, they wre unable to take up life as it comes, challenges become a mirage for them, which they are never able to pursue and you are right, it depends on the kind of upbringing we have. I remember the time when I used to get tired and tried to get my dad to pick me up( was just two yrs old). In response he just looked stearn and said" learn to walk on your own, God has given us the power to walk so that we don't depend on others." At that time I used to think hes just being cruel, but now I thank him for the same, its not that he never picked me up, but he was well aware of the fact that I should never make this into a habit:)

  3. hello ...
    when i was doing degree, i used to read a lot of stuff by Osho ..
    in one of his books he speaks about a child who falls down and begins crying like any child of his age will do! and he gets all care n attention ... so good parents, right?
    according to him, such attitude from parents are only spoiling the child, it s being conditioned..

    you got a wonderful point here brought to light!

  4. You are right. Children should be given the opportunity to take responsibility from a young age. Most parents think it's their responsibility to make their child's path as smooth as possible. While doing this, they pile up expectations on the kid.

  5. hope you are doing fine ...
    got back to base yet?

  6. for some reasons Sir i havent been able to leave my mark on your other blog! :-(
    though i was able to read it, couldnt do anything more..

    well, thats been a wonderful thing you did with something as simple and small as an SMS .. maybe it ended up with the right person ...

  7. There needs to be a balance. Parents should give their children the space to develope a sense of responsibilty and confidence. At the same time, they should be near enough, emotionally and otherwise, so that they can help their children when it is genuinely needed. Same with any type of relationship.

  8. The post should be read by all those parents who underestimate their kids' capabilities.. Ayesha... You said it!!