A friend of mine called me, yesterday. He sounded distressed. He had been having a rough time with his 16-year-old son, who is in eleventh standard, Science. Obviously, the reason for the conflict was that the young one, according to my friend, had not been serious about his studies and goal. “He can not go about this way,” my friend kept insisting, “it is Science and not Commerce or Arts… He will be nowhere!”
So, the conflict. The arguments. The resistance. The ego-hassles. Confrontations… and, finally, some ‘physical treatment’!
Apparently, nothing of these had worked for my friend… The young one was throwing more and more resistance… Things had just nosedived, and badly.
The young one was the only son of my friend. I could imagine how isolating the experience was. As a teenager, for the son… as a parent, for the father.
“He will be nowhere!”
How true is that?
Science kids have to put in extra-ordinary effort; they need to be extremely focused… Goal-driven. Agreed. But, even if this Youngman goofs-up, scores less… and, obviously, cannot get into Engineering or Medicine or whatever that a Science kid is traditionally expected to get into, yes, even if he can not get into any of these – can my friend declare – “He will be nowhere”?
Last evening, I allowed my friend to empty all his pent-up frustration. When he had done with, I told him this: “Your son will be somewhere… as you and I are, today.”
I did find a little disagreement from my friend, “But, we had taken Commerce… whereas, my son is doing his Science… and, you know how tough it is outside.”
“It was tough at our times, too, my friend,” I reminded my friend, “just learn to trust your son, the Good Lord… He will do well in life.”
The resistance had much come down. “I still feel he has to put in more efforts, he has to be serious… I am really scared,” said my friend.
“Can you let go your urge
to be after him for a few days?”
I asked my friend, “Just see what happens.”
There was silence…
"My friend, you are scared not because of your son’s casual approach to studies,” I told my friend, “You are scared because you don’t feel close to him when you are in conflict with him… It is very isolating, very lonely… very, very scary!”
In the prolonged silence from the other end, I heard my friend sobbing like a little child…
“Thank you so much,” he managed to tell, before it all ended…
Pic.: Vinod Korgaonkar