Parenting is like writing one’s child on paper in ink of many colours. In return, the child spends years reading. (Representational Photo)
Nanditesh Nilay writes: Write regularly, and write more. Observe nature, observe more. Travel and once again read, write and observe. Read the great novels and autobiographies — these help you accept your our vulnerability.
Written by Nanditesh Nilay
You turn 15 in 2023, it’s three years from what the law calls adulthood, but in a parent’s heart, love is the only law. So the next year will be a milestone as you start high school, that first stepping stone to the world of dreams — and despair. Parenting is like writing one’s child on paper in ink of many colours. In return, the child spends years reading. Your grandfather always tells me the faintest ink is better than the strongest memory. In an age of lists, here are five pieces of advice. If you find the tone preachy, don’t worry. Keep it aside, one day, this card may make some sense:
First, knowledge and wisdom matter. You can Google anything, click the link, but that’s not wisdom. That comes from knowledge through reading, writing, watching, listening, and travelling. Read regularly, and read more. Write regularly, and write more. Observe nature, observe more. Travel and once again read, write and observe. Read the great novels and autobiographies — these help you accept your, our vulnerability. Read at least two pages each day. Knowledge comes from play too. You love basketball and painting, keep doing both. To know something well, understand “what,” and keep asking “why.” Life takes care of “how.”
Second, remember we are human beings. Nothing more, nothing less. The pandemic taught us an invaluable lesson. We are nothing but a pair of lungs, a heartbeat, innumerable neurons, and oxygen. This self-awareness helps you become a seeker as well as a master. Breath is everything. At least 15 minutes a day, spend time with your breath and breath alone. See yourself with closed eyes for at least five minutes and walk for half an hour. One proverb confirms the secret to living well and longer: Eat half, walk double, laugh triple, and love without measure.
Three, live with courage. Aldous Huxley said maybe this world is another planet’s hell. But don’t give any space to fear. Courage is not the absence of fear, but moving ahead despite fear. Whenever you are nervous, accept it, and move ahead. As a girl and a woman, you will need to live in a world dominated by egos. Don’t subjugate them, don’t compete with them. Just walk with courage. Remember that boys and girls are both human beings. You have a younger brother and you have seen how much he cares for you, as do you. Courage comes with care and service. You are caring so you are destined to become courageous.
Four, deal with distractions. We continuously search on our phones. We type our path on Google maps. When we read, write, eat or walk, we need the mobile. It seems we are overwhelmed by our distractions. My suggestion: Think of the things you can do where you don’t need the internet or smartphone. Draw up this list, and keep adding to it, you will be amazed by how many such things there are — your imagination is the only limit to that number. Playing a game, listening to the sound of the footsteps of your grandparents, watching birds fly past, trying to understand your friend’s tears, the need to hug your grandmother a bit longer, watching shapes on the wall, looking at clouds in the sky and figuring out which animals they look like. You love planets and so every day, when you wish good morning and good night, you wish the entire universe. The internet and the cellphone are products. So handle them as a product, but handle yourself more seriously, more sincerely, more gently.
Five, be good. One of your questions has always put me in a fix. You once asked: Why should we be good? Is being a good human an essential or desired qualification? I understand where your query comes from. Being good today is being soft, weak. Success matters with or without goodness. By hook or by crook. The aggressive forge ahead. Tell yourself, loudly: So, what? The good wish, inspire, make others happy, share, stand together, hear the unheard, see the unseen, adapt to change, choose to survive. The good don’t ridicule others, they wait, they have memories. Only goodness matters. It binds us with principles, morality, values, and ethics. This is what will make you soar.
These five tips may help you grow, but they will also help you witness my growth. Because that’s what children do — they refine their parents and make them better. So thank you and a happy new year to you — and to us.
Nilay is the author of Being Good and Aaiye, Insaan Banen. He teaches courses on ethics, values, and behaviour
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