What is a Parent’s Greatest Legacy?
My colleague Aditya Jhunjhunwala shared this on his Facebook page revealing parent’s greatest legacy –
My son, Dhyann is obsessed with Lego. He just completed a set of 2200 pieces gifted to him by my mother. He is just six, but the age recommendation on the box was age 16+. He was nervous. He told me several times “Papa, I told you we should not have bought this set. It’s too tough for me.” He kept asking for my help. But whenever I attempted helping him, I would find him resisting me. I backed off.
I realised that he doesn’t ‘need’ me to do anything. What he really needs is just my presence and little bits of my undistracted attention. In fact, me telling him what to do actually works negatively. It demotivates him.
I don’t want anyone to help me by solving my problems. It makes me doubt myself. I just need my loved ones to listen to me, make an effort to understand me, not judge me, just be around me when I need, and sometimes challenge me. That increases my self-belief like nothing else.
He finally completed the project. It was 99% his own effort. It is a two-storied building, with a men’s saloon, a pool parlour, a detectives office and a bakery. There are intricate details in the exteriors and interiors of the structure.
It was time for dinner. We called him to the table. He brought his masterpiece and kept it on the shelf in front of the table. I asked him why. He just replied, “I like to stare at my creation.”
I do too. I like browsing my own blog. I like flipping through my own drawings. I like being surrounded by all the books I have read. I like ‘staring’ at my own creations. They are my ‘body of work’. I love seeing the photographs of all the yummy dishes I have cooked. My creations are the proof of bits of my life that I have invested in these works. They make me feel good. They make me believe I am worth it. They make me want to create more. I am going to keep building my ‘body of work’.
– Aditya Jhunjhunwala
When I read what Aditya had written, these thoughts flashed through my mind. We see our children as our body of work, isn’t it? And why not? Many of us, live for our children. We do our best for our children. We sacrifice, the maximum for our children. We invest more money on them than on any other relationship. Yes indeed, our kids are our body of work.
Is that why, when they do not live as per expectations, we feel let down, we feel betrayed, we feel hurt? Are our emotions then, a product of self-disappointment?
When a painting is critiqued, the painter feels judged.
When a movie is criticised, the director feels personally targeted.
When our country India is spoken harshly about, we Indians, feel hurt.
When the low marks of the students are ridiculed, the teacher feels she has failed in her duty.
Similarly, when a painting is appreciated, the painter feels self-worth.
When a movie is appreciated, the director feels personally rewarded.
When our country is spoken highly about, we Indians feel proud of being an Indian.
When a student scores high, the teacher feels she did her job well and congratulates herself.
Every now and then, we find ourselves, coasting in the memories of our ‘body of work’. We too wish to stare at our ‘body of work’ ( like Dhyann ) and FEEL ‘pride’, isn’t it?
That is a parent’s greatest legacy!
Our life will always have many aspects where we create a parent’s greatest legacy or ‘Body of work’. Friends we have, skills we have developed, hurdles we have overcome, temptations we have resisted, ethics we have built our life on, the contributions we have made, people whose lives we have touched, milestones we have crossed, the joys we have had, the special moments we created, the dreams we have nurtured, are all a part of parent’s greatest legacy.
For someone like me, irrespective of all of them, the most important ‘body of work’ remains, ‘our children’. Giving birth to such beautiful children is a parent’s greatest legacy!
A parent’s greatest legacy gives us social respectability, financial stability, and corporate opportunities, it is our children who ‘prove to us’, have we got my priorities right? It is our children who show a mirror to us that tells us if we could balance our life properly. It is in our children, we leave a legacy behind.
A friend whom I admire greatly – Kumar Gera, once shared with me his philosophy of a great leader. He said,
“The test of a great leader is to find a person who does a much better job than what he himself did.” I guess the same is true in Parenting too.
Our test is to create and nurture a person who is much better than us. When we do that, a Sachin is created, a Dhoni is created, an Amitabh is created, a Shivaji is created, an Indira Nooyi is created, a Mother Teresa is created.
Through parenting, I wish to create a ‘body of work’ that has as much respect as the Mona Lisa has at the Louvre Museum, Paris.
Through parenting, I wish to create a ‘‘body of work’ that has as much impact as Google has in making lives meaningfully convenient (think Google Maps and Gmail and YouTube).
My achievements should not be my best body of work. My children should be my best ‘body of work’. Would you agree with me?
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That is so true. We wish so hard and work every day to make these little ones a better version of ourselves. Some people do it in a positive way which benefits the child. Some coerce, perhaps unknowingly. Look forward to reading your entries for AtoZ.
Nayantara – mommyingbabyt.com
This is a wonderful post. There is so much truth in every nook and cranny of it. I think a lot can be said about each of our children being a unique masterpiece, despite how different they can be from each other.