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Monday, 27 June 2016

Don't be like Dhritharashtra

One of my sisters who is a doctor recounted a recent experience with a well-to-do family. The young daughter had to be hospitalized for a day or two for a minor ailment. There were no single rooms available and therefore, they would have to manage with a twin-sharing room. This was so unacceptable to them that they finally worked out an arrangement, paying for the entire room to ensure that no one else would occupy the other bed and “disturb their privacy.” My sister tried to explain to the patient how this meant another needy patient would have to be turned away for lack of space. The girl just gave her a condescendingly polite smile even as the parents looked on indulgently.

Hearing this reminded me of a term I have heard my dad use to describe a particular parenting style.

“Dhritharashtra Vyaamohaa”

Just as Dhritharashtra’s intense affection for his sons (and especially his first-born Duryodhana) blinded him to the fact that they were in the wrong, so also some parents choose to ignore the inappropriate things their kids do. No parent would want a child to be hurt because the child’s pain is ours too. But in this rush to avoid pain, we deprive our children of a valuable opportunity to learn some of life’s most important lessons.

If you look back over your own life, you cannot help but realize that your most significant learning came after the most painful experiences. Hurt is painful, but undoubtedly, it is the most effective teacher because it makes a deep impression on your mind unlike the fleeting shadow cast by joy.

As parents, we strive to give the best to our children to keep them happy. But isn’t it equally our duty to equip our children to deal with unpleasant circumstances and situations where things go against their wish? Aren’t we the ones who must help them grow their moral compass that lets them put the greater good above petty personal interests? Doing this will often mean pain for the child and therefore, for the parents, too. But isn’t this a small price to pay for the service you will be doing to create a kinder society?


  1. It is funny how everyone wants to do the right thing and persistently keep doing the less right thing and constantly rationalizing it on account of being 'far far more reasonable than others"... somehow... everyone is the "others" in someone else's radar... if we don't trouble our kids ... someone else will... if we don't protect our kids... who will?... and that will bring us back to doh doh doh... either tohfa do.. ya do - chaar laga do!!

    1. I'm not saying we don't protect our kids from unpleasant things like abuse of any sort. My grouse is with pampering them to the extent that they need to have their way at any cost.

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