Father or Son?

Father or Son? Which role you like?

I must say- Father. If you are not a father yet, I believe you would definitely like this role in your life.

The above theory strengthened today as one of my colleagues’ son achieved a stupendous success in a highly competitive exam. I don’t know how happy the son is. But I’m pretty sure about the father. You must have seen his victorious and joyous eyes. A proud father.

Great moments. One should feel at least one time at any point of ones life.

All the best for them.

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30 thoughts on “Father or Son?

  1. Murthy says:

    Pride is not good. As a father we should provide good guidance to our children leaving the results up to Him. We love our children no matter what – unconditional love. In our culture, fathers set unrealistic expectations on their children, esp. sons and get upset if they don’t meet them. Deep ?

  2. PC says:

    Only a dad with a tired face,
    Coming home from the daily race,
    Bringing home little of gold or fame
    To show how well he has played the game;
    But glad in his heart that his own rejoice
    To see him come and to hear his voice…

    Only a dad, but he gives his all
    To smooth the way for his children small,
    Doing with courage stern and grim
    The deeds that his father did for him.
    This is the line that for him I pen:
    Only a dad, but the best of men.

    From “Only a Dad” by Edward Guest

    In my words, Dad is the hero always.
    Oh Ganga! My comment is longer than your post.. hehe

  3. Shini says:

    Why should there be so much onus on pride of achieving? What happens if the son were not to achieve what his father expected?
    Do you think love for your child is measured by the pride he brings to the parent?
    Do you think all Dads are like this?
    Do you remember your expectations out of your father when you were a son?

    I donot understand why so much importance is put on a child’s achievements. Why can’t pride come from a child’s qualities? I guess, I will have to wait to be a parent to find that out…

    • jarvarm says:

      I understand your ramblings, Shini. As our murthy said, fathers should show unconditional love towards their children. Most of us do like that.
      But i think, being in celebration mood and living sky high is nothing wrong for a father at this kind of achievements. Have you ever stood first in your class and you ever tried to get the compliments from your parents? It’s a common nature but not importance, i think. celebrations and debacles are part of life. One should withstand.
      Yeah, parents generally don’t give up their children if they won’t top or succeed. They look for better alternatives for their kids.

      You got my point, i think.

      • Shini says:

        I got your point but you did not get mine.
        Again you say “parents look for better alternatives for their kids.” I was pointing to this – parents form expectations – they take charge – look for alternatives – why? I understand your passion as a parent, but have you stopped to ask what your child wants to do, before you decide for alternatives? Also, I do not mean that parents give up on their children if they do not succeed. I said that they just stop looking at other qualities of the child. Everyone is born with a unique quality. Every parent should be proud of her child and not worry about achievements and alternatives. It is challenge in itself to go against the typical parent mentality, but try it. Instead of asking me ” Have you ever stood first in your class and you ever tried to get compliments from your parents”, you should have asked me have your parents like the way you cook or the way you write..

    • jarvarm says:

      Got your point, Shini.
      Yeah parents should come out from that kind of mean approaches. Agree with you.
      Fantastic discussion from your side. Thank ya.

  4. Manu says:

    Well Gangadhar…I am not a father yet….but at some similar occasions, I have noticed that twinkle in the eyes of my father …..and that was truly ineffable…..if I am getting it right…..then I know your colleague… please convey my congratulations to Mr. Rao…..if I have mistaken then please remove this comment…

  5. Kapil says:

    Ganga, I am not a father yet. but I think everytime I have been happy – I am sure my father has been even more happier to see me achieve that happiness in life.

    I enjoy being a son because I am assured of a protection from my father, I can look up to him for advise. And hopefully I will be able to play the same role when I have a son and pass the same feeling to him.

    • Mukesh Bhatia says:

      Yes,we are proud of our son’s success and we know for sure he will achieve greater heights. Career path has been chosen by him independently and we are sure he is on the right track! God bless!

    • jarvarm says:

      Glad to know about your father.
      And all the best, prospective father! 🙂 I’m sure you would become a good father.

  6. anumita says:

    Ganga, one cannot choose a role just like one cannot choose a relationship. When you have someone who is a part of your being, it doesn’t matter which role you are in, you just want to give, to protect, to cherish, to take pride in, to love till it hurts.

  7. Hanumanth says:

    Hi Gangadhar, this is my first entry for any kind of blog!! Sorry for the lengthy one!!
    You have raised a few interesting thoughts from most of your friends on the Father or Son post and also made me write my thoughts.
    I am sure everyone understands that we as humans have expectations.
    As social beings, we all have expectations both from our own selves and from any relationship, more so if it is a close one.
    I donned both roles and would like to share my experiences / expectations.
    As an eldest son and born after 20 years of marriage, I was the most adorable child of my parents.
    But as I grew up, their expectations grew as well. My father lost his parents in his childhood and went through lot of humiliation and poverty-ridden days during his formative years. For him life was tough and uncompromising and he inculcated the same values as years passed by.
    He didn’t want his children to go through the same cycle. He worked his way up relentlessly and became a well-known and widely respected advocate. So what worked for him as he grew and fought his way up in life seemed to be a right thing for him and he expected us to do well in studies and lead a happy and different life than he went through. He relied on his experience and I don’t find him wrong. At least now!
    But my life experience was totally different. Loving parents, comfortable life, all things positive and life looked real good and rosy. May be this lead to no burning desire or as Shini pointed out there are other qualities in me which neither my father (because of his life experiences) nor I (because of lack of awareness or youthful arrogance) failed to realize them. And in the process I failed to live up to my father’s expectations. I didn’t realize then how much it disappointed and hurt him. But let me add here that he gave me everything in life before I asked him and expected me to do well in a path, which he thought, would lead me to a successful life. And also the family values, accountability to ones actions, law abiding nature to name a few are some of the qualities I learnt from him.
    Now that I am a father (old father at that!) I understand my father better. We expect our children to do well in studies, as it is falls in to the so called safe zone. As children we all have dreams to be an actor or a singer or a sportsman. But as elders we all know that unless you make it big, the chances of a successful or even a normal career in some of these fields is very less as it is all about creativity, which can be subjective and hence, unpredictable.
    Shini said:” parents form expectations – they take charge – look for alternatives – why?”
    We as parents feel a sense of ownership of our children, however misplaced it is.
    And out of love we play the part of protective father, shielding the children from the troubles (real or unreal) that are about to fall on them.
    Also we want our unfulfilled dreams to be realized through our children or think we are better equipped to chart out their dreams.
    And at times it runs so deep that we fail to distinguish between our own life and their separate existences. And with it comes all kinds of emotions. Disappointment, hurt on one hand and frustration and pressure on the other.
    Everyone on the post agrees that parents show unconditional love to their children and don’t give up on them. I want to add that parents also take pride / joy at their children’s qualities, but it is expressed subtlety, not that it is a lower achievement but is a different emotion which most of the times is not shared with others.
    And talking of emotions, life is a gamut of emotions.
    Let us not pass judgment on others (parents here) about pride in achievements, love for the child measured with what he achieves and so on. Pride, love, joy are all emotions and I guess emotions come from the heart and judgment comes from head and we all know that heart and head are not as near as they appear!!
    May be my experience or my nature allowed me to support my son in his chosen ways and he is supposed to be doing well working in US. I am happy for him that he made his choices and feels good about them.
    In my father’s eyes is my son a successful person? May be and may be not. Study and work in US was a privilege more than 25 years ago, but not now. The world has changed a lot in those years and with more opportunities, the younger generation is making the most of it.
    All I want to add is that each role (father and son) is special and unforgettable in its own way.
    A related poem.

    Your children are not your children.
    They are the sons and daughters of life’s longing for itself;
    They come through you but not from you.
    You may give them your love but not your thoughts.
    For, they have their own thoughts.
    You may house their bodies but not their souls.
    For their souls lie in the house of tomorrow,
    Which you cannot visit,
    Even in your dreams. Khalil Gibran (Persian poet)

    • Sanjay M says:

      Dear Hanumanth, your truly lovely entry touched my heart. Reading it reminds me of my Dad I lost in 1998 (he was 58 yrs) due to cardiac arrest (which I later found is highest in Indian 40+ males but none of us had ever bothered about addressing it as a serious risk!) In my case, my Dad had hardly ever put any pressure on anything and allowed me to be free, though he would support me actively in anything I tried. He had never given me any clue whether he had any expectations from me or not. Only after he died I heard from one of his colleagues that he had been speaking highly of me saying that I could achieve anything I put my mind to. There is a proverb “Give a man a fish and you feed him for a day. Teach a man to fish and you feed him for a lifetime” and I think my Dad just the latter for me. Though he did not leave me any material wealth, he (and my mom) have provided me a strong foundation teaching me to fish (metaphorically speaking, I’m vegetarian 😉 ) …how to be self-reliant… which is far more invaluable! 🙂 Many of these thngs I never realised/told him while he was there, still I believe that my gratitude will be reaching him wherever he is now 🙂

      • Hanumanth says:

        Thank you Sanjay for sharing your thoughts.
        My father too died when he was 56, due to cardiac arrest.
        We take things for granted and our loved ones granted and as you rightly said we don’t let them know that we really care and understand their guidance. Only when they are gone, we realize their value and support.
        I am sure your father is smiling at you.

  8. Sanjay M says:

    I guess there could be two ways of feeling proud – one where the Dad just gets his ego inflated, and another where he cherish’s his son’s joys as his own. Usually there is no black or white demarkation but its a gray combination of these factors. Shini, I feel this post by a millionaire venture capitalist about ambitions and parenting probably covers exactly what you’re talking about.

    While a father takes pride in such an achievement, Shini has an important point that overall special characteristics of the child shouldn’t be given any less encouragement. I feel that Ganga’s post are just about one particular situation, and do not imply that other characteristics are getting ignored (though it could happen in many cases as you’ve highlighted).

    Once someone from my office had said that being a succesful software designer, I should make my 2 year old son the next Narayan Murthy or Bill Gates or something like that…

    That had made me reflect and write an article that I would be happy if my son became even a farmer or a dhobhi or a sweeper when he grows up. All I want is for him to learn simple skills like listening, being honest to himself, learning to love and be loved, and be happy! (which are actually all the same thing). If he achieves anything more its of course a welcome bonus 😉

    I recall a very beautiful book I’d read “When Daddy was a little boy” by a Russian author Alexandra Raskin, a collection of short stories (anecdotes) and in one of them, everyone keeps asking Daddy the question “what do you want to be when you grow up?” and then he keeps changing his mind every time he sees somene in a new profession – and the conclusion is some consistent simple answer like “I want to be a good person” I dont remember exact answer but it was really nice.

    • Hanumanth says:

      You are right Sanjay, this particular post addresses one situation but gave all of us food for thought. From what I understand from your two replies, you are the continuation of your father.
      Of course most of us are and others remind us of how similar we act / behave / look like our father.
      But I meant it also from inside.

      • Shini says:

        It’s interesting to see so many posts discussing parents. Ganga, for this, you owe me a treat, 22 comments and still going strong!

        Coming back to Hanumanth’s point – I do not want to make judgments – in the least about parents. I am just too proud myself of my Parents, who have given me the liberty to taking a US education, returning back to India for my profession and passion to work for my own country and also allowing me to marry a person of my choice. For me, they are more than God!
        But, do realize that unconditional love of the parents never depends on expectations alone. It is obvious for parents to get hurt, when expectations are not met and that is bad. There is a proverb in Tamil which says “Petha mannam pitthu, pillai mannam kallu” – which means “The parent’s heart is always mad, the child’s heart is of stone”.
        But, this madness in parents allows them to overcome hurts and I am sure they would say to themselves – ” He/She is after all my child, let me forgive him/her”. And as children we learn that we have hurt them enough and almost always either regret our mistakes or try to make up for that hurt.
        Also note that if you were to admire other qualities in your child, parents just do not stop at admiration. It is possible that parents encourage children to pursue their own interests – Sachin and Einstein are not born just like that, they also need the right support to grow in Life. This is what I was pointing at.
        Our system of education and the societal setting is such that, if we see a person get a car, get a house, see his children doing good in studies, we also wish for that. Everyone does. But the point is, in that mad rush to achieve the best things in Life, consider how would it be if you were to allow the untrodden paths in Life to lead your child to greater glory, far greater than your expectations as a Parent.

      • jarvarm says:

        Hanumanth,
        I’m so glad that you and Shini made this post having a rich thread of comments.

    • jarvarm says:

      Thanks, Sanjay for great comments.

  9. Shankari says:

    Wow!

    What a typically thought-provoking post from you Ganga, and what a rich thread of comments following it.

    This post reminded me of an old favourite book of mine, Dombey and Son – by Charles Dickens. Wish I could revisit that old friend now.

    But coming back to the present circs., I am now both a daughter and a mother and identify with both roles so much. The joy and pride which my parents might find in me, I can now understand since I feel the same way about my children’s achievements. Earlier I would have just got embarrassed or upset by it, but now I am kinder when they gush about me since I do it all the time about my children’s accomplishments. 😉

    Keep blogging, Ganga.

  10. Vijay says:

    Well..I think each part has its own brand of happiness.

    I remember as a student being extremely pleased when I did well in exams or in my job.. I could see that my parents were pleased as well but could not fathom how much till my son did well in his 10ths… I now know that as a parent the happiness is doubled..one at my own “achievement” (of enabling my son to do well in my own way) and a pride.. its not easily explainable..

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