Monday, 16 May 2011

Parenting - a question of Love or Fear

I heard an unusual story yesterday that really make an impression on me. A friend told me of an acquaintence who decided to elope who informed her local police station about her wedding before her family as she was terrified that she and her husband may become victims of an honour killing. To me this sounded like a tale from deepest darkest Afganistan in what other place would a girl be so terrified of the people who conceived, nurtured, loved, protected and invested time and money on her for 30 years. I now know it happens everywhere and such a threat has nothing to do with Mullas or religion at all.

The gentleman the lady in question had eloped with, apart from some degree of financial disparity, was of the same in religion, class, cast and as a couple they could infact be considered as socially very compatible. The lady in question is educated as is her family they live not in cave or a tent but a codo in a city with running water, electricity and all the amenities that normal people enjoy. She does not wear pardah or any head scarf at all. She even wears a swim suit when she swims!

So when such a lady goes to the police and informs them she fears her life from her parents it really makes no sense as there is no issue between the lady and her previously loving, caring parents other then the fact that their social conditioned ego had been punctured by her decision to choose her own husband.

It is the norm in certain cultures to for family elders to make every conceivable decision that relates to their child's existence in any way. This is severely compounded in case of women in most Eastern cultures. I had no idea how very strong and potent this was until a few years ago when I met a lovely lady of Asian origin who lived in London who was disowned by her family for leaving her head uncovered and choosing to cut off her hair in order to fit into English society.

As I reflected on these stories of these women I realised that we condition ourselves to accept certain idiocyncratic behaviours and beliefs presented by society. Most men love to assume the mantel of supreme controller of their families it is a powerful feeling which makes them feel wanted and important. Men feel this is a priviledge that they deserve as they are the bread winners of the family. Although today most women contribute to the family coffers as well the belief that the man is the one in control is firmly maintained even if he earns less then the women of the house.

What happens when the control such a man has over his family challenged? Does he dispose of his errant (in his belief system) child or does the accept his child's decision which will cause him great discomfort as his ego will be injured? It is hard to say as there is no statistical mean formulae or precedent here as these matters are private. Everything evolves on a case by case basis. Howeverthere is always choice, the choice is love over ego.

Most of us fail to remember that a soul chooses us to be their parent to learn lessons in the physical form to attain some advancement on a spiritual level. Parenting is a privilege and not a chore. So how we parent should reflect that great honour of being a parent. Unfortunately once an ego gets in the way instead of guiding and teaching one's child through love one switches to bullying one's child and getting their child to function through fear. This is the case with most parents who worry about loosing face. In such cases the honour is lost, the honour of parenting that is to the ego. Such are the parents their progeny to conform with their belief systems whether right, wrong, relevant, outdated or even just morally reprehensible.

Once in a while parents who function on the level of love also get seduced by their egos, be it in fits and starts, to scare their children to conform with what is socially acceptable. To love unconditionally and keep teaching and guiding with that level of commitment and love is a task that God is capable of doing and does. When we become parents though this is what is expected of us as we undertake a huge spiritual responsibility towards our children. As our children have honoured us as their guides to to learn to live which in turn enables them to learn their life lessons would it not be fantastic if we can teach them of love and through love rather then through the fears rooted in Ego and self?

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