Off the beaten path of our parents

All characters in the Clifton Series of Jeffrey Archer make a living in diverse professions. Once the protagonist realises that her son wants no part in her company, she moves on. The banker son in turn has a daughter who is an artist.

One of the reviews of Hindi film Dangal had a poser, “did they have a choice in opting to become wrestlers? What if they had desired to be actresses?”

The country’s heart went out when the late chief minister of Tamil Nadu J Jayalalithaa described herself as a “reluctant actor and a reluctant politician.”

Do we as adults really encourage our children to live their own dreams? It is a moot point indeed that if the youngsters are still drifting through life without direction, then we have no choice except to guide.

In this context, I am really impressed by the daughter of a yesteryear’s film star.

Today, she is a famed author. After realising that acting was not her cup of tea, she quietly quit to carve her own niche. It is sometimes better that children are encouraged to make their career in other fields without being weighed down by constant comparison.

How much better would it be if some of the well-known politicians had not followed their family’s legacy? Does that mean that children should never ever follow the path of their parents? Surely not.

I remember my elderly family doctor whose father too was a noted physician and now his son is an extremely well-known practicing paediatrician. He was telling us with definitive pride that he is better known as the father of his doctor son!

When the nature takes its own course and there is an inherent talent and skill involved, so be it. It is indeed a pleasurable exercise to help take the family business to greater heights but it is extremely challenging to mandatorily tread the path of their parents.

But here again, I wonder if a cook however famed he is would like his children to follow in his footsteps? Maybe, the change in nomenclature like catering services might find more takers albeit with some reservations.

I am impressed with two Bengaluru-based young and educated sons who have turned their family catering business to a more professional and reputed one.
We tend to acknowledge only white collar jobs and blue is never considered even if there is more money in the same.

I fondly remember a childhood story of a shoemaker and elves…but can we imagine we as parents happy when our children want a career in shoe making? Similarly, there are a lot of professions that is considered not ‘so cool’ as compared to some other.

‘Time pass’
I always wonder if instead of becoming a pilot, the hero wanted to become an engine driver in the Bollywood flick Dil Dhadakne Do, would the parents have been happy? School teachers have less respect than college professors. Similarly, nurses are not given that much of regard as doctors. Montessori training is treated as a ‘time pass’ of young mothers. The list goes on.

There is some change taking place thanks to our new age movies and advertisements but the fact remains that we are not too happy with our children if they so choose certain off-beat professions. This is the reason that so many professions are almost on the verge of becoming extinct or have very few takers.

I remember from my younger days how there used to be many people in our area making earthen pots. Then came the glass bottle era, we moved on to plastic and now suddenly the craze for earthen ware has become fashionable but dearth of potters.

There is no sure way of knowing your career or education choice is a right one until years later when you start making a happy living out of them. Yet, the fact remains that we as parents and as students need to move away from our fears of the unknown, and schools need to address this lacunae immediately.

The CBSE did introduce vocational training but most schools and students have a desultory take on this. Lack of teachers and staff also add to scraping some of these programmes. It’s time people moved away from ‘me-too’ engineers and seriously look at other options.

More awareness and better distribution of compensation would take care of the financial worry about the future pro­spects. Moving away from the trodden path might lead to greater heights.

(The writer is a freelance behavioural skills facilitator)

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