5 Paradoxical Truths I’m teaching my Daughter

5 Paradoxical Truths I’m teaching my Daughter

Life can be a confusing thing, full of paradoxical truths that can startle you out of your complacency.

Just as you think you’ve found yourself and become comfortable with the way you approach people and circumstances, Life rises up and throws you a curve ball. You swing wildly, hoping that by some stroke of luck, you’d manage to connect the bat to that projectile headed your way.

Sometimes it’s a hit. Most times, it’s a miss.

As we have grown through our experiences, which shape our emotions and our reactions, we try and impart a fraction of those to the innocent minds under our care.

Truth #1: The world is both wonderful . . .

. . .and terrible

As you grow older, you’ll find many incredible and beautiful things in this world. They’ll range from the fascinating monuments, buildings and structures built by man to the fabulous reserves of strength, endurance and compassion that you see in people. You’ll find butterflies in the wind, a symphony that you’ll cherish, a person to fall in love with, a walk in the pouring rain and friends you can count on.

But, you’ll also come across bitter squabbles, news of war, terrorism and rape. You’ll realise the truly dark side of humanity on some occasions. Each time, remember all the good things I spoke about earlier. That will help you reconcile both in your heart. And never give up on the world. It’s more resilient than you think.

Truth #2: Be sensitive . . .

. . . except when it threatens to harm you

I was always called a sensitive child and I see the strain of that in you as well.  Being sensitive is great because it helps you feel compassion for people, animals and all living things. Sensitivity is a powerful gift and you can learn to be kind, loving and generous.

But being too sensitive to barbs, insults and misdirected anger will harm you. Learn to walk away when things get too painful or argumentative. This isn’t quitting. It’s knowing which battles to fight.

Truth #3: Befriend everyone . . .

. . .but stay wary of their inner devil

Always be open and accepting of people, just as they are. Friends are wonderful support systems when life gets overwhelming. Befriend people for their goodness.

Also be aware that friends can sometimes be hurtful. If they do it repeatedly, take a long, hard look at the relationship and gently sever the ties. Everyone has an inner devil. Some of us hide it better than others.

Truth #4: Be selfless at all times . . .

. . . except when you need to be selfish

Learn to give everything to those who need it: food, clothes, books, hugs, a willing ear and a strong shoulder. You’ll never lose anything when you do any of this.

Sometimes, though, it is important to look after yourself. Know when to draw the line between selflessness and over-exhaustion. Do things for yourself and believe me, this is a good kind of selfishness. It helps you feel selfless once again.

Truth #5: Look up to those who inspire you . . .

. . . but carve your own path

Be open to ideas, discussions and debates. Find role models in the ordinary people around you. Watch as a gardener tirelessly tends to the garden or the teacher who shows up every single day to impart knowledge. Learn from these people  the value of hard work.

But, don’t copy or imitate them. Be your own kind of awesome. Chart your own course, try things on your own and make your own history.

In a nutshell,

Be Yourself

Things you should remember

Image courtesy: Truth via Shutterstock

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28 thoughts on “5 Paradoxical Truths I’m teaching my Daughter

  1. This is a brilliant post, Shailaja! I understood the selflessness part too late, and from my own experiences. But now that I’ve learnt it, I have also managed to prioritise many things in life.

    Each of the five paradoxes are framed perfectly. Just wow! 🙂
    Mithila Menezes @fabulus1710 recently posted Hyde and SickMy Profile

  2. This is a must read post. The boundaries have changed so much that you cannot teach your kid just to be ‘good’ and expect them to survive in a world that is gray. They need to learn to make a decision based on what is happening around them and adapt to a situation too. No easy world we live in…
    Roshan R recently posted 5 Key Steps to a Healthy HeartMy Profile

  3. Soooo true, Shailaja dear! And when you write it like that it all makes so much sense…. the good steps we want to teach our kids… to be open and positive , but at the same time, not be a doormat… The balance is fragile for all that sometimes. Good for adults too, I should say:-) Hugs
    Eli recently posted Meet my new flatmateMy Profile

    1. It’s very important. I must admit I was very sensitive as a kid and fell down a lot. But I picked myself up each time and learnt the hard way. That’s necessary to be taught, in my opinion. Thanks Eli

  4. This is a profound post, Shailaja, each point a true gem. I can’t agree more. In fact, I struggle with these lessons even now. How to draw that line? How to give and not be taken for a ride/granted? How to feel happy and not bitter. How to nourish self and yet stay selfless? The balance, ah the elusive balance. So very difficult to achieve.
    Rachna recently posted Grateful this SeptemberMy Profile

    1. Thank you Rachna. I agree we can’t always make the right decision too and that’s okay. As long as we help them understand that these situations exist and this is what life offers then I think we’re getting them ready for the world and all its challenges. That balance, as you put it, is worth aspiring towards and finding in our own way.

  5. This is what I find the toughest bit when it comes to parenting – that fine balance. As the kids grow the greys are taking over from the blacks and whites. You’ve said it beautifully. You’ve picked the perfect age/time to teach the kids to begin using their judgement, to look at multiple factors before taking a decision or forming a judgement. This is where they meet with real ‘life’.
    Obsessivemom recently posted A milestone and a celebrationMy Profile

    1. You’re so right about the greys taking over. But I’ve found something else. I think being mindful and practising it regularly helps is our being able to talk to the kids as they grow older. Truly an incredible journey, this parenting one

  6. I think when M is old enough, I will let her read this. I think every mother needs to teach this to her child. You make such pertinent and important points. In today’s world and the way the world is changing, it is imperative we are honest with them with how they need to perceive and live their lives while being themselves. You know, prepare them to the best of our abilities to face the world.

    1. Honesty has always been an integral part of my relationships. I doubt I can sustain one without those. As I get closer to 40, many things strike me as being insignificant. But these, these are the things that matter in the long run.

  7. Wonderful Wonderful post. The learnings from all of these points came to me via a hard way. I too ponder about the perils of being a sensitive person. Shailaja you have done a favour to us by writing this post. I would like to pass this on to my son in the same form. A question – Is there a reblog button on your blog? I would like to reblog it on my blog so that this doesn’t get lost.

    1. How lovely to hear that, Anamika. Thank you so much! In my sidebar, there is a floating share bar. In that, there is a WordPress button. You should be able to reblog it using that. Try it and let me know 🙂

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