The art of letting go

Urbanisation, nuclear families and households with mostly one or at the most two children is ruling the scene in modern India. The hazards of modern living include a sense of insecurity, doubt and fear of many palpable and abstract reasons. As a result, parents are becoming extremely possessive and protective about their children. Most of them do not mind spending extra time, money and effort to cushion their child’s life.

In their earnest zeal and genuine love for their kids, they forget that they are stifling the child’s liberty to go forth and initiate fresh friendships, explore new possibilities and embark on little adventures on their own. Such children largely lose out on worldly wisdom. They may tu-rn out to be intelligent but not independent, active but not interactive. Hence it is important for parents to learn and execute the art of letting go in order to let their children bloom into beautiful people.

An instance in the Ramayana highlights this viewpoint. Once sage Vishwamitra launched on a very ambitious Yagna. His endeavour was constantly obstructed by the Rakshasas. The sage decided to seek the help of the reigning king Dasharatha. Accordingly he went to the court of Ayodhya and outlined his problem and requested the king to send his first born Rama to protect the sacrificial fire.

Dasharatha was taken aback by the strange request. He did not want to part with his dear son who was still very young. The Ikshavaku ruler suggested alternative solutions. He offered to dispatch his army to support the Sage. On second thoughts, he said he was ready to accompany the sage. Although Vishwamitra spoke reassuringly to the king about the safety of Rama and the greater glory that awaited him, Dasharatha seemed to be reluctant.

The dithering ways of the ruler irritated the sage. He accused Dasharatha of going back on his promise made moments ago and belittled the sense of honour of the king. When there was little or no change stand of the king, Vishwamitra was greatly enraged. Then the sage was all set to curse the king and his kingdom. At that point of time, Vasishta the Kulaguru intervened. He spoke about the greatness of Vishwamitra and his greater mission. He also counselled the king on the art of letting children go and explore new grounds for gaining exposure and experience. Dasharatha was eventually convinced.

Interestingly, the words of Vasishta are reflected exactly in Khalil Gibran’s thoughts on parenting when he says:

“You are the bows from which your children as living arrows are sent forth.  The archer sees the mark upon the path of the infinite,  He bends you with His might that His arrows may go swift and far.”

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