All I want to do is to equip my daughter for her life journey. As a parent it is my duty to give an exposure to various realms of possibility, moderate the excesses & empower with a mind strong enough to handle the stress of life. I have a 2 year old daughter and my parenting objectives are very simple
- She should respect the values, culture, relationships (understand the nuances rather than blindly conform to the norms)
- She should be well educated & independent
- She should have an ability to communicate in a constructive manner what is good for her and the people close to her
- Help her discover her own personality rather than imposing my own. But intervene only to teach her honorable values, morals and ethics.
In other words, I don’t want my daughter to grow up docile and submissive. She needs to have a mind and an ability to think and express. This way, in my own mind, raising a girl is no different from raising a boy.
Having grown up in a cosmopolitan environment, dietary and religious choices were never important in judging a person. However, lately it has been impressed upon me that the two are quite interlinked. Especially in a conservative society like Aggarwal, eating meat (forget beef) is considered as a vice next only to smoking & drugs.
Society often fails to distinguish between an independent person & a person without morals and values. A girl, who is too independent, assertive & outgoing, often is not treated as a marriage material (not sure if there is anything like that). They might achieve success professionally, but it often comes at a cost of maintaining a meaningful long term relationship. What further hurts me is that the norms imposed by society on the both sexes are different. Refer to my earlier post on triple standards. The lifestyle choices (clothes, food, drinking, smoking, clubbing etc.) lead to prejudice & pre-conceived notions more often for a girl than for a boy.
I never want to make choices or take decisions for my daughter or relive my dreams or ambitions through her eyes. However as a parent, I guess it is impossible. We not only sub-consciously steer our wards towards what we think is right and often under the pretext of experiences we even justify the necessity of the interventions.
The society evolves over time and what is relevant today might not be tomorrow. Is it justified for me to make religious & lifestyle choices on behalf of my kid? Maybe tomorrow the society would have evolved to a level that people stop poking their nose into other’s life & respect their choices.
Considering that I eat meat (all kinds), drink socially but am imposing a different set of morals on my daughter: “Am I being a hypocrite?” Unfortunately my daughter is too young to answer this question.