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Once upon a time, there was a good for nothing fella. He refused to move a muscle or make an effort to do anything with his life. Yet, his mother doted on him. However, his father was worried for his future and tried to drill some sense into the boy’s head, but to no avail. One day, out of sheer desperation, the father challenged the boy to earn a rupee. The boy couldn’t care less, but the mother could not bear to see the apple of her eye fall in his father’s eyes. She gave him the rupee. The son took the coin to his father who asked him to throw it in the well in the courtyard. The son complied. This went on for a few days. Mother gave the coin. Son took it to the father. Father asked for it to be thrown in the well. 

One day the neighbour was struggling with some groceries. She saw the boy and asked for help. The boy obliged without giving it a second thought. The neighbour handed him a  rupee. Ecstatic, the boy ran to his mother and said, he’d take this coin to his father, today. When he did, his father asked him to throw it in the well once again. The boy refused saying why should he waste it? The father smiled and replied, “Today, you have learnt the value of a rupee earned.”

This was a story my father told me when I was little. It has stayed back with me among many other things. My parents set us examples to follow. They simply did not preach. What we could not afford stayed in the realm of not available. Even as I grew up, I knew my limits. My father did not drink or smoke. I was never tempted to try it out either. I remain a teetotaller till date. I have nothing against those who do. The point I am trying to drive home is, you can’t navigate the ship by staying ashore. Children might have idols they look up to, but they land up emulating their parents, most of the time.

Present day parents, me included, are faced with peer pressure far more than our parents were. Times are different. Yet, we succumb so easily. Just because we saw the turn of the new millennium don’t mean the one that went by was devoid of any challenges. Our parents had their own set of issues to deal with. And somehow they managed. My grouse with the present day generation is we look for replacements, so easily. And when we do, we hide the fact that we fell for the short cut. I know so many parents who don’t advocate cell phones. Our kids are only pre-teens. And yet, on the sly, they have handed their kids handsets. But talk about the ill use of the gadget and you can hear them the loudest. 

That brings me to another thing my father taught me. “If you need to hide it from the world, that means it ain’t right. If you think you are right, you would not care what the world makes of it.” Words of wisdom from our bucket of experiences is the only legacy we leave behind. Make it a treasure trove for the next generation. Learn to say a ‘no’ every once in a while and mean a ‘yes’ when you promise. Chances are that these lessons will be regaled as stories to your grand kids. Parents, live that example today….  


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