The Challenges Of Unselfish Parenting

We capture every possible picture and video of our children today. We capture the audio of the first sounds our child makes. We capture the video of the first time our baby begins to crawl, and the first time our baby stands, and the first time our child walks.

We accumulate all such memories so that when our child grows up, he/she can see and experience his/her childhood in all its glory.

We grew up in a time when such continuous recording of moments and their accumulation was not possible. So we do our best to do what was not possible during our childhood.

At the same time, we dispose of our own childhood photographs casually, as we don’t think they are relevant anymore. We dispose of our school memorabilia, the whole class photographs, the now-silly-looking certificates of our extra-curricular achievement, etc.

We let go of our childhood because we are now focused on our child.

Let us take a step back here.

Did we not try to explore our parents’ childhood? After seeing a few pictures of our parents’ as kids, did we not thirst for more? Did we see any pictures of our parents in school? How many of us have seen certificates of scholastic or extra-curricular achievements of our parents? Wouldn’t we like to?

There was a point in time when our parents disposed of such memorabilia, because they thought their kids’ lives were more important than their own.

This is exactly the same practice we repeat, generation after generation. And every parent thinks he/she is being completely unselfish and devoted to the kid(s) when doing so.

In fact, it is the opposite.

As parents, we are not unselfishly considering what our child would consider important after he/she grows up. We are making decisions ourselves, in anticipation, with assumptions, because we think we know what is best for our child. We are not being generous enough to let our child have the freedom to explore memorabilia of our own lives.

While thinking to ourselves that we are being the epitome of unselfishness in our parental mindset, we are actually being the most selfish of all.

The parental paradigm is contrarian to the individualism mindset. It is often devious enough that as parents we think we are acting in the best interest of our child as an individual. It is often wise to relinquish the parental paradigm and rethink.

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