Parental Compassion-1

 “I’ve always been a good parent and supported my children at every step,” a somewhat distressed parent said to me a few weeks back, “and yet, they don’t really respect me. They are struggling in their lives and tell me that I’ve been a terrible father. I don’t get it, I always loved them, allowed them to do whatever they wanted. They got the best clothes, gadgets and so on. I don’t think I cheated anyone, I’ve been god-fearing. I never thought my kids would end up like this. Where did I go wrong?”

I’ve been asked similar questions many a time. What’s truly remarkable is that most kids and parents actually only mean well. They try too hard. Kids want their parents to be proud of them and vice-versa. So where is the mismatch? I hear it all the time that such-and-such person is a bad father or mother, they are irreligious, immoral etc. and yet their families are flourishing and their kids are doing great. Where’s the justice in that?

It’s the wrong way to look at life, in my view. Having personally met a few thousand parents and children in the last few years, however, I’m happy to share some thoughts based on my observations and diagnosis of life. Let me begin with a story from Stephen Hodge’s Zen Master Class.

Several of the monks at Dogen’s monastery had noticed a deer grazing nearby. They began to feed it scraps of food. After a while the deer became trusting and would eat out of their hands. Having taken to heart Dogen’s teachings about compassion and all, the monks were pleased with themselves. However, Dogen was less happy when he heard about the deer. When a suitable opportunity arose, he threw sticks and stones at the deer, which ran away frightened.

The monks were scandalized by Dogen’s actions and confronted him demanding an explanation. “We were kindly feeding the deer, but you have cruelly thrown stones at it so it no longer visits.”

“So you think you were being compassionate, do you?” Dogen replied. “It is dangerous for a deer to become accustomed to people.”

The monks protested, “We would never do anything to hurt it. We were just feeding it.”

“No, you didn’t intend to hurt the deer, but what if the next person your tame deer met was a hunter?”

Om Namah Shivay

***Write ” Om Namah Shivay ” if you ask for God’s blessing on your life today. Please Like, Tag and Share to bless others!

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