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A Parent is a Guide, Not a Dictator – Part 1

It was just a regular day. I had just finished my dance class (kids’ batch) and was preparing for my next class. I always love the chirping sounds children make after class is over and they are all excited about what they learnt that class. My classes being fairly new I was still having admissions going on and my 6yr old was the senior most (in dance abilities) in my kids’ batch of 4-7years.

She made a fine assistant to me as my daughter had been training under me since she was 3 years. It was very clear to anyone observing that she had picked up the skills of handling a class from me and dance was already a genetic inset!

It was astonishing to me even when I saw her imitate me as an instructor and bring it to the platform so impeccably. I started calling her “My Mini Assistant ” (she loves the sound of that designation)

I’m not telling you this because I want to boast about my child. But rather to point out what happened next (and has many times). So, as the class was over parents came back to pick up their kids and the kids would all start the narrative event about what they learnt. Many parents would sit outside my studio and watch as I teach. Thus, they too observed my daughter leading when I instructed her to do so. They would come and comment “she’s so talented I’m sure she’ll be just like you.!” As any other parent I did not swell with pride on the thought of that!! And would rather just give an uncertain smile just so I would not be rude. This occurred again with me when I met my friends on a luncheon. “Hey Ruhi we saw your daughter’s performance it was spectacular!! Congratulations!! She’s going to follow your path and be just like you, your carbon copy as a dancer!! Well done!!” My reaction was yes thank you so much for the appreciation to my daughter’s talents but why in the next statement take away her individuality.?! I mean I can understand taking on a habit from a parent but this is the child’s individual self. What I want to point out in this is that I’m not making my child grow up to be another me!!!

I mean yes, she has the inherited the grace and talent but the hard work is only her own!! I want her to choose what she wants to be and what makes her happy and own it! An independent individual identity of her has to be carved carefully by me as a parent. I’m a different parent maybe coz I don’t appreciate comments that say she will grow up to be me! I want her to grow up to be herself, her beautiful individual self that will define her as who she truly is! Not a carbon copy of me!

Don’t take me personally parents coz I’m not saying these are bad remarks. No, they are not but they are not apt nor good for our thinking either. Why I say this is because if my child has inherited a particular dominant talent from me that doesn’t decide her future!! What happens in the general world is that these statements block our minds and even though we mean well we make the mistake of assuming that because ten others have pointed that out aloud, making us assume (not on purpose) this is the future of our child!!! It’s human tendency!!!

What about the other strengths that the child carries?? It could be that the dominant streak that the child has from you isn’t the dominant strength of your child.

It is thus important for us as parents to give them the right chance to everything they feel they can do. BE THEIR GUIDE. It’s important for us to be the guiding light in the valley of darkness. Because if we only listen to the people around, we stop listening to our children. We thus become DICTATORS not a GUIDE.

To guide is not to hold their hand at every point rather to teach them to assess the situation and their choices. Make them think about the right and wrong and when they are about to choose just make sure to take a peek in and see. If they are right, appreciate them and if wrong ask them to think over and encourage the right choice.

Happy Parenting!

Ruhi Thakkar



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