My mother brought me up quite differently. She never lectured. Neither did she ever bombard me with a long list of NO’s.
No, don’t do that!
No, don’t go there!
No, don’t touch that!
No, don’t eat that!
No, don’t try that!
No, don’t talk to him!
No … this! No … that! The endless NO’s of a parent.
But she did make one thing very clear. And that was: If you mess up, it’s your responsibility.
I’ve never neglected my studies or lied to gain something. I’ve never taken a casual approach to my job nor have i ever squandered my hard-earned money. I’ve never drunk, smoked or done drugs (in spite of the opportunity & temptation)– EVER - till date.
I have lived life my way. I’ve done some so-called strange things; taken some bad decisions; been to some bad places; befriended some bad people. And yet, I remain me. Uncorrupted. Completely aware & in control of my life.
That’s the thing with freedom. When you are free to do things, you become responsible! You choose wisely.
When you’re growing up, your concerned, well-meaning parents & your not-so-concerned, plain-nosy relatives, have only one fear. That you’ll be corrupted, by others! So they guide you with their version of right & wrong. They protect you against every imaginable danger. They shield you against every possible physical or emotional pain. In short, they try to live your life for you.
I am glad my mother let me be; let me live my life on my own. With all the mistakes I made. With all the lessons I learnt. Some bitter, some sweet. All my own.
And to think that she never went to school!!
I guess, that’s why, deep down in my heart, I have scant regard for ‘formal’ education. I have two post-graduate degrees – M.A and M.B.A. But, I know, they are just 5 letters in sum total. Beyond a point, it hardly mattered. They didn’t make me. LIFE did.
I don’t know if Tan will grow up to be a double post-graduate like me. Do I care? All I want is for Tan to be able to L – I -- V -- E. And remember, if you mess up, it’s YOUR responsibility.