Reflections on Raising My Sons

Mary Ngaihte Peter   |   October 22, 2014 

RaisingSons
The very thought of writing, particularly about raising kids, in the month when my parents are about to celebrate their 40th anniversary, brought back not only memories of my childhood, but also the realization that I am still on the journey of growing and learning. Also, it brings to mind the realization that every new person that has been placed in my life is an opportunity for me not only to learn, but perhaps to share and pass on the values and experiences that I have imbibed and cherished through the years.

I remember growing up in the small town of Churachandpur in Manipur, where life blossomed with activities and games we would invent everyday, and where the simplicity of a village life was celebrated as an opportunity to explore and find new adventures and risks.

With both my parents working full-time, and with tons of siblings and cousins and neighbors to spend time with, growing up was always a time when we experienced first-hand and started to understand (even if vaguely then) the values and principles that our parents held dear. And with the benefit of a hindsight, these same principles and values, that arose out of their deep friendship and fear of God, are the ones that have continued to mold and shape me and now my own family through the years, and have continued to guide and shape the way I seek to grow my boys, in my own inadequate, but hopefully significant ways.

The recollection of my own childhood days, and the reminiscence of the innocence with which I explored and lived life in all that it has to offer, have made me aware that just as I once a child, so are now my two boys. And my first realization is to allow them to express themselves in a free but safe environment, though this is not an easy task for any parent.

In as much as you want your children to enjoy their childhood and their innocence in all their playfulness, it is equally crucial for me and my husband to continue to discern the right moments and ways in which, to teach them and grow them.

Much has changed, of course, as the years pass by, in that we are now living in a cosmopolitan city and in a new socio-cultural scenario, which brings its own challenges and rewards. It can often serve as a reminder that the peaceful childhood that I once had might no longer be available, as even the remotest places are developing and changing in their own ways today. And while I am aware of these changes, I believe there are still fundamental principles that are not affected by the change in the context, and can continue to influence how I parent my own kids even now.

To not only love someone more than myself, but to be responsible for their lives, makes me realize that everything matters – from the simplest gestures to the sternest advice, to the way we organize our habits (sleep, eat, laugh etc.), and has pushed me to pay attention and enlarge my vision, and ultimately my heart. This is a journey where I have had to continually humble myself because of my inadequacy, but a humbling that leads me slowly to a closer understanding of God’s love for me.

There are a million things I want for my boys, and if I were to list them down I would not know where to stop - I want them to enjoy, to create, to wait, to paint, to respect others, to appreciate rules and enjoy games, to feel loved, etc. But most of all I would want them to grow up and understand someday that in raising them, I was also raising myself, and in that continual and absolutely beautiful everyday journey with them, they have taught me to trust in God and submit to his care and guidance, and that gift they have given me, besides many other things, is the gift that I hope someday they will give to the people in their lives.

And above all, I hope they will realize, that a parent’s love is the closest one can come to the love of God and it's that same type of love they will pass along to their children some day and it will carry on for generations to come.

 

If you are a parent, how has being a mother or father surprised or changed you?

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Mary Ngaihte Peter

Mary Ngaihte Peter lives in Delhi with her husband - a development professional and their two boys. Mary is a freelance graphic designer and loves music, friends and tote bags.

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