From the time a man or a woman is married, he/she (for the sake of ease, ‘she’ will be used from now on but it is to mean both genders) yearns to have a child. This is the time the role of a parent begins. Even before a child is conceived, a parent wishes for the child to arrive. Once the conception is confirmed, she is overjoyed with ecstasy. She makes plans on how to welcome the little one into this world. She is filled with high hope for the child, and dreams of a great future for the off-spring.
Once the child is born, her whole world evolves around the ‘little treasure’. The well-being of this precious treasure takes precedence over everything else. The next stage of parenthood is when the education starts. She wants the best for the child and does her utmost to give what she herself did not enjoy. She rejoices with the child when academic successes are achieved and suffers just as much as the child itself when failures are encountered.
When the education stage is completed, the next stage of parenthood is the working phase. She worries for her child on the prospects of a good career and she suffers the same anxious moments when the child (now an adult child) faces her interviews and rejoices with the same intensity when a job is secured. As parent, she now starts to worry if the job will prove to be too taxing for her child.
Once this phase has settled, her next concern is the marriage of her adult-child. She agonizes till her adult-child finally finds a prospective life partner. Even when the adult-child has a prospective partner, she also worries whether the prospective in-law will turn out to be the right partner for her adult-child.
When the choice is finally made, her next parental anxiety is the wedding. She will use all the means at her disposal to get them to settle down. Once she becomes the mother-in-law, her next major concern is when would she become a grandparent.
When the day finally arrives and she becomes a grandparent, her concern and anxieties are still not finished. They will only be over when her pair of eyes are shut for good.
It seems many years of a person life are spent playing the role of a parent. Does it really ever end? What does the Buddha teach us on parenting?
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