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R: Raising children, Ruminating

April 21, 2016

Bringing up A has made me stop and think back to how I’ve been raised. When I compare notes with S, the conclusion I arrive at is that there were a fair bit of restrictions for us kids while growing up. Granted, my parents are conservative and orthodox so they like things being done a certain way. But I hardly ever recall stopping and questioning, or even thinking why something was not allowed. Honestly, I don’t think my folks really were encouraging of questions either. I also see my folks lay down similar rules for my niece and I’ve begun to wonder why this has to be this way. I don’t want to go into details, but there are a lot of ‘don’t do this’ and ‘don’t do that’ generally speaking. Of course, patriarchy has a BIG influence here (in a family with three daughters and four grand-daughters!) but that’s a whole other topic for discussion and I don’t want to delve into it here. 

Sure, we turned out alright, and even well-mannered and decent human beings. But there are also so many things ingrained in me, it’s slightly scary. I also think my outlook has been too narrow in general. I also can’t help but feel at times if I might have even chosen a different career path had I been a little more outspoken and questioning of norms. Oh well, better late than never. I’m lucky to be married to a wonderfully supportive man who, rather than asking me why, says ‘why not’ to a lot of my ideas. Thank you, S. 

I consciously try and stop and think for a second before I say no to something that A does. It took me a while to realise that a lot of my ‘no’s were initially from my own upbringing and conditioning, rather than being well-thought out. And I honestly hope she will learn to ask questions, challenge status quo and feels free enough to voice her opinions. 

After all, I’m still learning to do the same myself. In the process of raising her, I’m growing too. 

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