I was attending a social function at a batchmate’s home. The younger brother of my batchmate had once been a participant of my grooming program. I met him after 12 years but he seemed to remember his experience of the one month grooming program vividly. He introduced me to his six year old daughter telling her that I was his teacher. This struck an interesting chord with the chirpy little girl who hanged out with me for a large part of the evening.
The interesting exchange between the little power house and me gifted me valuable insights into the psyche of modern children.
She sat close to me with lot of confidence and asked “So, was dad a good student?”
“Oh Yes, he was” I smiled.
“Did he use to come every day on time” she looked straight into my eyes like a disciplined teacher.
“He was very sincere”, I replied.
“But did he finish his homework also?” she quizzed me further.
“We didn’t give homework but he was very active.” I tried to assure her.
“Did you scold him when he goofed up”?
I was getting startled by the questions coming at a jet set speed while other friends on the table were enjoying the whole scene.
Unperturbed by the presence of so many older people, she asked again, “Tell me, did you scold him?”
“No, I didn’t because he never gave me a chance to be angry with him”. I chose my words consciously.
The little girl was so curious to know about her father’s childhood because she wanted to fairly assess the competence of her father who must be telling her to finish homework, to get up on time, to be a nice girl. She was very keen to ascertain whether her father was a child he wanted his child to become.
In a recent interview, veteran photographer Raghu Rai spoke about his daughter Avani who is training to be a photographer like him. He narrated an incident when Avani was four and they both were spending time at a new farm house he had bought near Delhi. He took a break from his work and only did landscaping of that farmland while little Avani would tag along. In the hot April Summer, they had to walk long distance navigating the six acres of land. “Avani was tired and insisted I carry her”, he remembers but Raghu told her to walk as no one pick anyone in a village. After dragging herself for hours, she almost broke down. She was carrying a little flower and said “Even I am picking someone up and walking, so why can’t you?”
It is very important for us to walk the talk. Before setting expectations and bench marks, we as parents and leaders must synchronize our words and actions. All the parents who want their children to always top their exams & competition must ask them if they did so? All the leaders who make rule books must ask themselves if they had abide by the rules that they want others to follow.