The most important thing in life is sense of humor.
No matter what life offers us, no matter what we make out of it. No matter the unexpected turns, no matter the unanticipated pitfalls. The most important thing to remember is to not lose our sense of humor.
There are good days and there are bad. In life. In parenting. On a not-so-difficult day, I had the chance to watch the movie “Khosla Ka Ghosla” through a blog commenter’s suggestion. It’s very rare that I watch Hindi movies & because most of them churn out the same old story, I tend to be very careful not to waste my time (as I have very little of it already) when it comes to watching movies. It’s even rarer that I have fun watching one, but I did.
I enjoy watching movies that depict the practical India and real-life situations as opposed to male bimbo-ish or female show-off-isms. Movies like this or this for originality and entertainment get a 5 out of 5 from me – Time well spent.
There was a time in my life where I would watch movies for fun. I still do. But back then, I wouldn’t mind vegging out in a theater or in front of a TV just for the sake of it. I actually remember sitting through the whole movie of Hum aapke hain kaun and even liking it. (Jaw drop :-o.) I’ve watched the worst movie that could ever be made in a theater with my best friend in college. I don’t do that anymore. I can’t. Like a responsible Chennai citizen that has been through a drought & knows the value of water, I’m a responsible parent that knows the value of time. I even have take-aways from films. (Another jaw-drop :-o.) I think it’s a sign of
getting old becoming wise.
What has this movie taught me about Parenting?
Learn through kids
When parents no longer take part in activities that they used to when they were single or during the pre-baby days, they need to learn through kids. And when the kids grow up & get older, we need to learn from them. Many parents see their kids as an extension of themselves, as a way to achieve their unfulfilled dreams. It should be the other way round.
As we grow older, we need to stay younger. Through hobbies. Through an open-mind. By adapting to the new world as our kids do. By seeing things fresh every day.
Let kids experiment
No matter what and how we think as parents, it is almost certain that we would not be as adventurous & risk taking as our kids. With aging comes risk aversion, but it doesn’t have to be that way. We should let kids experiment without forcing our prejudices & opinions on them. No matter how silly or umimportant the situation is. Or how precious & important. That’s how people find their passion. Through experimenting. Through trial & error.
One of my favorite dialogues from the movie Pursuit of Happyness: “Don’t ever let somebody tell you you can’t do something. Not even me. You got a dream, you got to protect it.” Such a powerful message to parents!
Listen to kids’ problems
One of the nicest things in this movie is Khosla’s friendship with his friend, Sahni. Everyone needs a friend and counsel like that. People that you respect enough to listen to. People that offer you advice, people that tell you helpful things like “What’s the harm in listening to your son? Just do it once and hear what he has to share”.
It’s pathetic that a father doesn’t realize this himself, but that’s not the point. The point is to listen to your kids. Without any judgement, without wearing the parental hat, however hard it might be. Everyone feels important and appreciated when someone listens to what they have to say. It makes the kids even more confident and well rounded as an individual when they are aware that the parents would be willing to hear their side without jumping to conclusions. Ask questions respectfully when you disagree, but listen first.
It’s almost a guarantee that any (Indian) movie scene where parents booze or smoke with their kids will be favorited by me everywhere – youtube, facebook, reddit, stumble, you name it. That’s my favorite scene in this movie as well. The father trying to be friends with his two sons by drinking with them. They even have a minor argument on what “on the rocks” means.
One of the easiest ways to befriend anyone is to learn what their passion is and share it with them. Through discussion or activity or a gift. Human beings feel immense happiness when they have people that know what their passion is and appreciate it any way. Kids are human beings too. Little human beings.
The No.1 rule in life is to not take life too seriously. Parents need to remind themselves of this often. It is important for parents to have fun as a grown-up so they understand the kids’ need to have fun and let them. Parents need to have hobbies & activities of their own – to keep them busy, to keep them thinking. That’s one of the ways to teach the kids to do so. Have fun creating. Share it with the kids. Let them have fun. Share their happiness.
Not like this, but have fun in your own healthy way!
While I ponder about the lessons learned from this movie, I also wonder about this middle-class, one-income Ghosla family (and many such Ghosla families all over India). I wonder how people manage three kids when I can barely get through the day with just one kid. What do they all have? How do they do it? Sense of humor?
On second thought, sense of humor may not be the most important thing in life.
The most important thing in life is contraceptive.