Saint Kabir wrote a couplet that goes like this:
Dheere dheere re mana, dheere sub kucch hoye
Mali seenche so ghara, ritu aaye phal hoye Slow down,
dear mind, slow down. Everything happens in its own time.
The gardener may pour a hundred buckets of water,
but only when the season is right will the trees yield fruit.
In a few words, Saint Kabir shares the wisdom behind doing things at the right time and waiting patiently for the results.
Parents know about doing things at the right time. And even if they don’t, they can read about it and learn. But waiting for the results is an attitude one needs to develop. Especially in today’s world of FOMO (fear of missing out) and instant gratification, waiting can be a tough exercise.
What do we mean by waiting? In its real sense, waiting means allowing a process that has begun to complete without interfering. Just as we sow a seed and then wait. We put the potatoes on to boil, and then we wait. We teach children good habits, and then we wait. We offer a prayer, and then we wait. If you analyze it, life is nothing but waiting interspersed with moments or bursts of activity. Waiting takes up a large part of our life and not activity. Waiting comes from the faith that actions done well will yield the right results. It is waiting that is the art.
As parents, there is hardly anything more important to you than the well-being of your children. So, you do everything you can to help your children succeed. All the sleepless nights and ferrying your children from one activity to another is to prepare them for their life ahead.
I commend the efforts parents put in these days in raising their children. I do have a suggestion. Once in a while, relax. Do less. You are already starved for time, don’t try to squeeze more into your day. Less is more. One advice new parents often get from parents with grown-up children is, “Spend as much time as you can with your little ones. It goes by too fast.” They are right.
If you need to drop something to get more time with your child, then do it. If you both enjoy cuddling and poring over a book together more than the piano class or the taekwondo training, go ahead and do that. If you feel like taking the day off and going for a picnic with the children, then do that. Our fondest memories are usually of childhood. There is no need to rush children through their childhood. Don’t force your children to grow up fast. Your son is being clingy and wants to spend more time with you? Great, spend time with him. Your daughter doesn’t feel like reading the story book on her own? No problem, read it to her. Let them take their time.
Each child is unique. Some learn math fast, while others create wonderful art. Some love helping in the kitchen, while others like to spend time running around the park. Children’s minds are like flower buds. Do not force them to bloom. Be patient, be present, and be loving.
Patiently wait for your child to bloom, in the same way a flower blooms on its own. Children’s minds are like flower buds. They should not be forced open. Do not push them too much.
Knowing what to do and what not to do equips you better on the parenting journey. Gaining knowledge is an important step. Most of us know a lot more about the global economy or the statistics of the last ball game than we know about the development cycles of a child. Educating ourselves on the best practices of parenting is helpful. This happens organically in a family with elders around. If that’s not the case, reading and learning about parenting is helpful. A group of parents getting together once every few months, specifically to share notes and ideas on parenting, will also help.
What helps the most is listening to your child. Listening will teach many things that are otherwise lost in the noise of life. The tantrums of your child, the meltdowns, the loving hugs, the shyness, the mischief are all opportunities to listen to the unsaid feelings of your child’s heart. Keep listening with your eyes and ears, and your heart will speak its guidance more clearly.
While our life circumstances can be unique, a common factor that unites all parents is a perennial dearth of time. So, be kind to yourself. Learn to wait and understand that everything happens in its own sweet time. Enjoy the journey because the destination is a moving goal post.
Q: My child seems to lack confidence. She hesitates in asking the teacher about her doubts and even when I remind her, she doesn’t. What to do?
Daaji: Some children are shy. It’s part of their make-up. Parents often remember their own so-called shortcomings and are over cautious about such tendencies in their children. Please introspect and see if that’s what is happening in your case. Also, positive suggestions and indirect advice work well over time. Be patient and keep me posted on how things come along.
From Chapter 10 of The Wisdom Bridge.1
To be continued.
1Patel, K.D., 2022. The Wisdom Bridge: Nine Principles to a Life that Echoes in the Hearts of Your Loved Ones. Penguin, India.