by Aarti Kapur Singh
Few practical things every present-day mother must teach her son to enable him to live ahead. Here are just five lifelong lessons to teach your child!
A mother-son bond is just overwhelming. It has been nearly ten years since I held a cute little ball of life in my hands and shed tears of joy as his tiny hand curled up around my finger tightly. The sense of responsibility I felt was just as strong as the absolute love I felt for my baby boy. Even after a decade of being a mother, that sense of duty makes me question myself every night – have I been a good mother today? In the sense, what have I taught my child that will help him become a better human, a good person, a man in the crowd of boys – someone who is not dependant on others to live, to live well.
Besides the emotional and non-tangible lessons, I feel there are a few practical things every present-day mother must teach her son to enable him to live ahead. Here are just five lifelong lessons to teach your child…
We live in a country where mothers tend to ply kids with food all the time. And pamper them with what they like. Paradoxically, the onus of the kitchen mostly relies on women – despite the fact that a lot of leading chefs are men. If men can feel hungry and want to eat, they must also be able to cook. The gender bias that exists in terms of only women having the responsibility of cooking irks me. More importantly, in today’s day and age, it is redundant. I got my child to get fond of cooking – rather early. He was all of two when he was able to butter or jam his toast. Later, when I made omelets, he was my assistant in the kitchen and beat the eggs. I can proudly say that today he can independently rustle up instant noodles, or a French toast, and even a vegetable sandwich with soup from a packet – unaided. Not to say that his culinary training stops here. It is reassuring for me to know that if I am late at work, he won’t remain hungry and can feed himself. This also means he can survive all by himself if he is away from home when he grows up. Rather basic. Also, let’s just face it, there is something special about a man who can cook his own meals.
2. Basic stitching:
I know of men who run a tailor to re-sew a fallen button from their shirts. Yes, I find that really weird. For all the preening and the machismo – not being able to sew on a button – does that not come across as an aberration? For my son, I actually created several activity boards using cork and cardboard – where he practiced threading into holes (which also, by the way, greatly improved his motor skills). He can manage a button on his school shirt – but still needs supervision. But I think he is doing just fine.
3. Keeping things tidy:
Women who are fed up of husbands leaving wet towels on beds, or socks inside out in the laundry basket, please raise hands. The problem is compounded in my household because of my cleanliness OCD. And yes, shoes not kept properly or a cupboard that looks like it has been hit by a tornado has been the trigger for many arguments between my husband and I. Which is why I insist that I am not running after my son all the time to clean up his mess. And this is as basic as it gets.
4. Money matters:
I have always taken my son out shopping with me – whether it is for groceries or his own stuff. I also make sure he counts the money I pull out from my wallet and hands it at the cash counter and checks the change or balance he gets back. In addition, he has a ‘monthly allowance’ – he is just about ten – so it’s not ‘handed’ to him. But we do make a list of probable expenses at the beginning of the month – say two days of pizza, or a pair of new shoes, or his new tennis ball. We add that up every month and if there is a saving – that goes into his piggy bank. There are so many kids out there who grow up with money and have NO concept of it. All parents want to fulfill every wish of their child, but it is also important to let the child know the concept of money; of earning and of saving.
I want my son to know how to treat any woman – wife, mother, sister, friend, colleague. I used to make him hold out the door for me, or hold the door for his grandmother as she got off the car. He would observe how his father interacted with me. I want him to know that women should be cherished, respected, and treated right. I don’t ever want him to think it is okay to talk down to a woman, lay his hands on a woman out of anger, or even use inappropriate language in front of a woman. My husband and I have this ground rule that we follow – if we are upset with one another no matter how mad we may be, we never yell at each other in front of our son. Yes, he sometimes does see us bicker here and there – but he is never an audience to a shouting match or a prolonged disagreement discussion.
Like all mothers, I love my son so much. I want him to be the best man he can be. Not for me but for him, his future family and the world in general. My son needs to know that if he wants to be the head of his household, he jolly well should deserve to be there. The responsibilities will prepare him to be able to lead his household, and it won’t happen simply because he is a man.
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