Dear friends, in India, parents are generally over-protective of their children. The worst damage that we can inflict on our children is to protect them from the experience of pain and suffering. Most people are thus under-prepared to face the hardships of life.
While mulling over this significant aspect of an individual’s grooming for his/her future, I am invariably reminded of a highly effective anecdote that was narrated to me by our Guru ji, Shri R B Giri, when I was a student of the Vivekananda Kendra Vidyalaya, Port Blair. I always love to share it with all my audience.
Once upon a time, a King sent his son to an ashram of a learned guru. The prince stayed in the ashram for 12 years. One day the king received a message from the guru that the education of the prince was over and he could come and collect the prince. The king went happily to the ashram and was pleased to note that the prince had grown physically, intellectually and spiritually the way he had wanted. After the graduation ceremony was over and the king had paid the guru handsomely, he started to leave with the prince.
Suddenly, the guru ran towards them and twice hit the prince ferociously with his cane. The prince had tears rolling down his cheeks. The king was shocked to see the brutish behavior of the guru. However, he controlled himself and said, “O learned one! A moment back, you were all praise for the prince. I don’t see any mistake that the prince has committed in the meanwhile to deserve such severe punishment. Will you please explain?”
The guru said, “The prince has not committed any mistake. I am confident that one day he will become as great a king as you are. However, through these last few days, I was having a feeling that I have missed out on something. Thank God I could gain the insight in time. I forgot to impart the experience of pain and suffering. Without this knowledge, he would have been ill-prepared for hardships that life may inflict upon him. He would also not have the ability to relate to the sufferings of others without experiencing pain himself. O great one, I am sorry to make you witness the unpleasant ordeal. But I am now satisfied that his education his complete in all respects.”
Hence, to a great extent I believe that Indian parents will do well to follow the message of the story and allow their children some exposure to a life of struggle and pain.
A healthy person, after all, is not one who is free of problems, but one who is in a position to deal with them. Am I right or wrong?
We don’t learn and grow through pleasure. Do we? We learn through failures, adversities and painful experiences. All those of you out there, who have tasted different degrees of success and accomplishment in multifarious ways in life, have been able to do so invariably and irrefutably through a series of failures, disappointments, sufferings and setbacks. But you didn’t ever give up and toiled, tirelessly, your way to success, no matter which walk of life you came from.
“No one is immune to problems. Even the lion has to fight off flies.” – Anonymous.