Who will you be in your child’s memory?

My dad taught me how to drive a car by the time I was 16 years old. One day, I took it out for a spin and, as luck would have it, banged it up. I returned home and tearfully told him what had happened. Thankfully, no one was injured. I was really worried my parents’ reaction because I realised it was entirely my fault. He listened to me and said something that set the tone for my own parenting, something I will never forget. “Stop crying. Go to the mechanic around the corner, talk to him about how much it is going to cost to repair, haggle with him. Tell him, if you have to, that your father will kill you if it is expensive and get him to reduce the figure he gives you. Then, get it fixed. You have to remember the consequences of your actions and fix it.

That is one incident I’ll never forget.  The other day as I was driving my daughter to one of her classes, I wondered what is it that I would want my daughter to remember about me after she leaves my house.

  • That I let her pursue her dreams: This is the most important thing I want to be remembered as. That I did not clip her wings when she wanted to pursue her passion; that I did not force my dreams on her and try to life my life vicariously through her ; that I did not expect her to fulfill all my unfulfilled desires.
  • That I had a life of my own: I am a mum. But I am also an individual with my own life and agenda. My life is not just my kids; and I hope my children appreciate that and would want that for themselves too. That parents are not martyrs but individuals who did their own thing, who sometimes took vacations on their own, pursued their own passions, followed their interests and lived their lives completely.
  • That I was honest: I am my children’s biggest critic. While I am standing there every step of the way to support them, I also tell them straight when they need to improve and did not quite do what they set out to do. I am not known for sugar coating my words. But I hope they will appreciate my honesty.
  • That I was physically active: I believe that being physically active is very important to overall well being. Not just in terms of reducing cholesterol or other physical benefits, but even as a stress buster, as a mood elevator (due to the endorphins that are secreted while exercising). I believe it is important to be as physically active as possible throughout life. People who are physically active also are said to have a more cheerful disposition in life because it gives them a sense of well being. I hope to set a good example for my daughter by being physically active and inspiring her to do the same.
  • That I did my best: Parents always intend to do the best for their children. But whether children also perceive it that way is another story. From chauffeuring them to classes, attending all rehearsals for performances, turning up for all events at school and extracurricular activities, for being there when they needed a shoulder to lean on, to supporting them in whatever they wanted to do, understanding their shortcomings and figuring out how to rectify them in academics, believing in them and of course, critiquing them, I hope they believe that I did my conscious best.

What’s your list?

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