Updated: May 3
During a visit to Kolkata, my cousin Raja, a deep and wonderful man, asked me, "How would you describe your relationship with your children?"
Puffing my chest out, proudly, I replied, "Why, we are friends."
He replied, "Forgive me Veer ji for pointing it out, but your children have many friends, where as they have only one set of parents. The only people who will be firm and honest with people are their parents and their genuine teachers."
I was irritated that my cousin 15 years younger than me, should even think this way. "How old fashioned and outdated was his outlook?" As is often the case, when our long held opinions and beliefs are challenged, Raja's statement disturbed me.
When I returned from Kolkata, I decided to ask my sons Mohit and Pavit over Sunday lunch, about defining our relationship. We discussed my trip and what all had transpired.
Eventually I got around to my conversation with Raja. I then asked them, "Do you think I should be more of a friend or less of a friend to you guys?
Both my sons replied in unison and without hesitation, "Less of a friend".
I was flabbergasted, and felt somewhat disappointed. I had to know why they said that.
Then Mohit our elder son said, "Dad we love and respect you, but you know, with friends there are no boundaries, and sometimes, we take you for granted. When we treat you as a friend we often say or behave silly, sometimes even disrespectful. When we behave like that with you, and even though you never get offended, we deeply regret it. This is why, it is better that we be more respectful, than friendly."
"Wow! I did not see that one coming", I told myself.
I realised it is the fashion to be friends with one's children, but there is big difference between being friends and being friendly.
Maybe you should ask yourself and your children the same question.