My children are not my friends

During a visit to Kolkata, my cousin, a deep and wonderful man, asked me, "How would you describe your relationship with your children?"

Puffing my chest out, proudly, I replied, "Why, we are friends."

He replied, "Forgive me my brother for pointing it out, but your children have many friends, where as they have only one set of parents. The only people who will be firm and honest with people are their parents and their genuine teachers."

I was irritated that my cousin 15 years younger than me, should even think this way. "How old fashioned and outdated was his outlook?" As with disturbance to deeply held beliefs, Raja's statement disturbed me.

When I returned from Kolkata, I decided to ask my two sons over Sunday lunch, about defining our relationship. We discussed my trip and what all had transpired.

Eventually I got around to my conversation with cousin. I then asked them, "Do you think I should be more of a friend or less of a friend to you guys?

Both my sons replied in unison and without hesitation, "Less of a friend".
I was flabbergasted, and felt somewhat disappointed. I had to know why they said that.

Then our elder son said, "Dad we love and respect you, but you know, with friends there are no boundaries, and sometimes, we take you for granted. When we treat you as a friend we often say or behave silly, sometimes even disrespectful. When we behave like that with you, and even though you never get offended, we deeply regret it. This is why, it is better that we be more respectful, than friendly."

"Wow! I did not see that one coming", I told myself.

I realised it is the fashion to be friends with one's children, but there is big difference between being friends and being friendly.

Maybe you should ask yourself and your children the same question!!


 Where is Home?

A girl broke my teenage son's heart. He came home devastated. His mother took one look at him and without saying a word, just hugged him, He broke down and sobbed his heart out. Even though it took him a long while, the healing started with that hug.

Once whilst travelling outstation I fell seriously ill. Neither self-medication nor the doctor’s prescription provided relief. I knew, all I had to do was to get home in one piece and my wife would take care of me. I reached home and soon thereafter the dark clouds stopped enveloping me.

A home is not a place, its a person. That person is usually a woman. Mother, wife, aunt, sister, daughter etc. This woman is our refuge, the one who will always make us feel wanted, cared for and loved.

The Indian word for refuge, a safe and sheltered abode is 'Ashrya'. we are where we belong, feel at home, and can rest our head without being judged or harassed.

Nearly all mothers have this natural quality, to create a sense of emotional security, love and care. Similarly nearly all fathers provide that sense of physical and material security.
If people are fortunate they will discover the same traits in their spouse/partner.

Everyone needs that one person and most of us have or had such a person in our life. Unfortunately some of us take them for granted and fail to appreciate that person, who is probably the only reliable refuge in our lives. Then one day they are gone and its only then we sob and moan that we realise our neglect and folly.

My parents are no more and my refuge is my wife, Mohini. One day she too will be not be there, leaving the other alone. I know the survivor will be devastated.

This is why the Guru says that there is only one true refuge of that will always exist. That is the refuge of the Creator which is always there, if we choose to accept this fact. God is not found in holy books, nor in rituals, nor in parroting prayers nor in assembly of the mob. This refuge is discovered only by contemplation and meditation, for God is to be found only within our own being.

That is, the one and only, our real home.


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