When your child is born, it is probably the greatest moment of your life. It’s your child. It is the creation of you and your partner. It’s a new life created out of the blue. And only because of you.
You then slog your butt off to raise the child. You shower it with love and affection. In the first years of the child’s life, you don’t have a single night’s sound sleep. You worry about your child every minute. You take joy in every smile and gurgle. You get terrified if the child were to as much sneeze.
As the child grows up, you continue to sweat over it. You work hard to earn money to provide for the child. You are willing to sacrifice anything to ensure a top quality education. You try and impart your values. You even discipline the child when she does something wrong. You have every possible aspiration for the child – she will be famous, she will be wealthy, she will excel; above all she will be happy. You even transfer your own aspirations, which you were not able to achieve, on to her.
All too soon, the child grows up. She is now a teenager. She has her own wishes. She does not want to ask your permission for everything. She perhaps listens to music that you cannot even understand how it could be called such. She wants to stay out late. You want to impose your will on her, because in your eyes, she’s still the baby and you want to protect her. She rebels. You argue.
And then, in the blink of an eye, she is an adult. She leaves home; first to study somewhere else and then to work and be independent. You have a lump in the throat.
What do you do as a parent ? You have to let go.
What if she wants to marry somebody from a different world and the polar opposite of what you determine to be a “good man”. You have to let her go and warmly and enthusiastically embrace both of them.
What if she takes up a profession (maybe singing in a night club). It’s against all your values. But you have to let her go. Wish her every success.
What if she takes up something unpleasant. Like, say, smoking. You can certainly give her a hug and say quietly that this isn’t good for her health. But is she going to listen ? No way. You have to let her be. Yes, you can worry inside your heart. But that’s all you should do.
You came from a very middle class family where you lived frugally and never bought anything for yourself. She decides to blow her first salary on 25 designer dresses. She flaunts bling. Yes, the neckline is too low. Do you chide her ? Of course not. You let her be.
The worst thing you can ever ever do, is to bitch about her to all and sundry and say what a disappointment she has turned out to be. You will gain absolutely nothing from it. You will only demean yourself in the eyes of everybody else. And she is not going to be one inch different.
For you see, its her life. The values you tried to drill into her are all very much there. She just sees life very differently from you. That doesn’t mean she doesn’t love you. It doesn’t mean that she is “bad”. She is just she. The angel she always was, is, and will be. Let her be.
I know its not easy. But its a mark of your greatness, if you can let her go. It does not negate the immense effort and everything you have done for her.
Mr Murthy; I am talking to you.
For those readers who are not following Indian business news every day, this post was prompted by this news.