I am sure, if any parent was asked “Does your child top your priority list?” the answer would undoubtedly be affirmative. But on many occasions, I have seen some the most caring, understanding and loving parents forgetting this fact from time to time.
It is rather easy to seek refuge in excuses and blame circumstances every time this happens, but, for a child it could be a big thing. It could be a life-changing or an altogether shattering memory that a child fails to shrug off despite sincere efforts.
When my brother turned 17, my father encouraged him to learn car driving during school holidays. Luckily, my brother was enthusiastic about the idea and I loved the idea of long drives in the cool breeze of the morning hours. So off we set for the first day of car driving with my brother in the driver’s seat, my father in the passenger seat beside him and I lazily occupying the rear seat all by myself.
After an initial set of instructions, my rather fast learner brother was already driving, albeit slowly but with full control of the steering wheel from day one. I was beaming with pride for my brother but my father was not yet in the mood of appreciating him. The car moved in a straight line along a rather deserted road with traffic low enough to not intimidate my brother on his first day.
Suddenly a stray dog ran across the road and my brother pressed the brakes as hard as he could. The car, that was moving at 25 kmph came to a sudden halt. In my heart I thought that my father would praise my brother for being in control but things didn’t go as I had hoped.
My father was annoyed because in an attempt to save the dog my brother had taken the car very close the electric pole and in the next instant there was a 100% possibility of the car rubbing against the pole and the paint getting scratched.
Anyhow, we moved on with my father being rather agitated by the mild (almost invisible) scratches on the car. As time moved on my brother started driving in areas with traffic and on his fifth day while driving at a busier hour, failing to coordinate the clutch and the break the car stopped in the middle of the road. The loud honks from every direction overwhelmed my brother’s decision making.
As if this much confusion wasn’t enough, my father chose to pour his agitation in form of a downpour of instructions, left my brother flabbergasted. The car coughed, honked, started and stopped at least 5 times before finally taking off. The rest of the drive was excruciatingly uncomfortable because my father wouldn’t stop scolding my brother. He was very angry with the way my brother was handling the car. The heated words scarred me in the back seat, so I can only imagine how my brother would have felt back then.
Few years down the line, when it was my turn to learn to drive, the scene was pretty much the same. The hurt, the burn I felt in the driver’s seat was quite similar to the one that was in my memory from my brother’s learning days. On both those occasions I remember wondering, “Why does my father not love us as much as he loves his car?”
All those years, I grew up wishing to treat my children better. But when I became a parent, following suit to the preconditioned ways came rather easy than remembering what I had promised myself as a child.
Though it didn’t take me long to realize I was making a mistake when one fine day Pari asked me,“Mamma why do you love your laptop more than you love me?”
That very instant I knew, how my child felt and it was time for me to mend my ways. I was responsible for my child and had promised myself to gift her a good upbringing. It was only wise to remember to put to practice the thought that my child was my number one priority and making her feel otherwise was wrong on so many accounts.
Since then, I carefully choose my words while disciplining Pari. But, most importantly, I always try to remember that material possessions, no-matter how precious, should never make my child feel that I care for her any less than any other thing in the world.
The song on my mind: Humne tumko pyar kiya hai jitna ~ Dulha Dulhan