Raising Our Daughters the Right Way


Bringing up: In a world full of judgements and suspicions, we have to raise our daughters with the correct set of values.

Under the wings...Under the wings…

Archana insisted on homeschooling her twin daughters as she had nightmares about admitting her children to the kindergarten in the metropolis soon after being bombarded by stories of lurking paedophiles around learning centres. Vandana gave up her lucrative job because she wanted to be at home when her daughter arrived home at noon. She had heard horrific stories of children being administered sleeping pills in their milk at daycare centres. Meera laughingly calls herself the designated chauffeur of her kids because she is always driving them in and out of one class or another.

Lakshmi opted for voluntary retirement just when it was her turn to get promoted, to ensure that she could fund her daughter’s dream to study abroad. Suma, a qualified lawyer, decided to be a stay-at-home mother because she believed in the dictum “Better safe than sorry” (All names have been changed to respect their identities.)

What these young and not-so-young mothers have done for the apples of their eyes, is not unusual. Each of these mothers and several tens and thousands of their kind have been doing more or less the same thing in various capacities. No, they are not cynical or paranoid, they are just being careful. With reason too. We live in a world which is riddled by multiple standards, inequalities in every aspect, uncertainties and incomprehensible expectations. Hence, leading a normal life believing in the intrinsic goodness of fellow human beings is out of the question.

Now is the time for us to rethink our parenting strategies, especially where it concerns the girl child. After all, parenting is called an art and not without reason. We must prepare our daughters to hope for the best but be prepared for the worst right from the moment they arrive in our lives. Here are a few areas that need
serious looking into:

Physical well-being
A taste for a nutritious balanced diet punctuated with some form of exercise should be introduced right from the beginning. When a healthy diet and a physical regime coupled with personal hygiene become a habit, immunity levels will soar, and keeping healthy will not prove to be a challenge. Teaching them martial arts or sports or simply involving them in everyday household chores will help them build stamina and can prove to be a boon in times of need.

Modesty & morality
Modesty and morality should not be mixed up. Remember, being prudish can cost them dearly. They must be taught the difference between good touch and bad touch. Girls should be taught not to be ashamed of their bodies or the changes they undergo. They should be encouraged to spell out their doubts and fears. It will do well to sensitise girls to the fact that the outside world will judge them by the clothes, accessories and the makeup they wear, though character cannot be determined by the length of their sleeves or necklines.

Subjects like virginity, rape, honour, domestic violence, honour killings need not be drawing room conversations, if it feels delicate. All the same, there is no point in sweeping the subjects under the carpet and looking the other way when they do crop up.

Using such topics as a launchpad to clear the cobwebs of a growing mind can go a long way in preventing girls from becoming judgmental. The knowledge will also cushion them to some extent, if they are unfortunate victims of such

Coping with new age trends
Many girls go through a phase in life when they get their facial or body parts pierced or tattooed, when they colour, curl or straighten their hair or undergo cosmetic surgery on a whim and regret it later.

Depriving permission outright may not go well with everyone. So, the stubborn ones can be encouraged to try the temporary option and then if they really care for the fashion, then they can be told to take the plunge.

Being feminine
Girls should be taught to appreciate and enjoy their feminine side. Since we live in a diabolical world, girls can be groomed to be soft-spoken and delicate damsels. So, they should be clearly told that they must not hesitate to protect themselves even if it means biting and kicking the molester on the face, or very simply amplifying their lung power.

Expanding the mind
Encourage your girls to have friends, go out and mingle. While dating or having a relationship is not wrong, they should also be taught when and where to draw the line and how to say no firmly when they feel uncomfortable. Writing a diary or pouring their concerns to an agony aunt can help them ease their tensions. Ask them to be careful about what they post and with whom they share on their social media sites, especially their pictures. With so much cyber crime going on, one can never be too careful.

There Is Always A Silver Lining


There are times in life when everything that can possibly go wrong, goes wrong.
We err or even commit unpardonable blunders quite unwittingly.

Sometimes our best laid plans or our sincere efforts take a beating due to unforeseen reasons.

No amount of logical analysis or explanation of the problem can give us any reprieve.

At such times most people get irreversibly depressed due to sheer guilt. Some others try to reconcile themselves to their fate in the firm belief that Man proposes and God disposes.

Accepting a defeat or disgrace with grace is the best possible reaction in such a given situation. Yet it is best to understand that no debacle barring death is indomitable.

An episode from the Ramayana gives us some subtle guidance to help us make our way out of the sticky wicket. Dasharatha was an expert archer and had mastered the art of shooting his unseen prey by merely listening to the sounds it made.

Once he went to the forest to practice his Shabdhavedhi skill.

He thought that he heard an elephant drinking water and shot an arrow in that direction. To his utter mortification, he heard a human voice crying out in pain and misery.

Investigation revealed that he had shot a young man who was collecting water in a pot.
The king of Ayodhya was overcome by remorse.

He followed the instructions of the dying young man and took his body to his aged blind parents.

The old couple was overcome by shock and grief by the unfair and untimely death of their only child Shravana Kumara.

The king’s apologies, repentance and offers to help them failed to move them.

They cursed Dasharatha that he would also die in the grief of being parted from his son. The king of Ayodhya was filled with mixed feelings. He was overwhelmed by shame and sorrow.

Yet a ray of hope dawned on the childless king.

He was able to see a hidden boon in the curse.

He hastened to perform the much delayed Putra Kameshti Yajna and received the divine payasam which blessed him with four sons.

Many a time, most of us are unable to see the silver lining in the dark cloud.

Our failures, disappointments and frustrations envelop our very beings.

We are blinded by our negative emotions which prevent us from performing any productive or meaningful work.

At such times it is mandatory for us to realise that everything is not over.

We must pull up our socks and do what we can to salvage the problem and look for possible opportunities to make progress