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Posts Tagged ‘family’

Kay was a famous corporate manager. His career started off at a low-profile company but escalated speedily. He hopped from one big corporation to the next, excelling in what he was doing and receiving the rewards he deserved – a good reputation and a decent salary that eventually became exorbitant. He was able to afford the luxuries that he had only seen in the movies until a few years ago.

In a few years however, he was living only for these luxuries. The wealth he had earned became a starting point for more and yet more accumulation. He thought that with his hard work, he could buy anything. Sometimes, stories he had heard in his childhood would flash in Kay’s mind – stories about how people fell into the traps of greed and want, never being able to live a contented life again. But whenever such thoughts came to his mind, he snubbed them out quickly. He was now full-speed ahead in his lifestyle and the mere thought of slowing down made him nervous.

In time, he got a big house and got married. His wife saw him as a really important man at first, but she eventually realized that he was living a life only to provide comforts to his family. In the process, he seemed to have lost the importance of relationships and relaxation. Their two children rarely saw their father who had to leave the house early and return quite late.  He could not be present at any of their school events or to read them bedtime stories. He was too tired and too occupied for all this. He could not go on family vacations as his position in the company was ‘too sensitive for time-off.’

In Kay’s eyes, he was doing his best for his family. He thought that providing them with money and resources was his only job. His family could afford every pleasure because of the wealth Kay earned. His kids had all the latest technology they wanted, his wife shopped for top-brand clothes and accessories, they had luxury cars, maids and servants to help them out, and were able to materialize all of their whims and fancies. Kay felt satisfied thinking, “What more could a man give to his family?”

In his family’s eyes, Kay was the father-who-was-never-there. Initially, his children complained and put up a fight about this, but eventually realized that they did not fit into their father’s packed schedule. They were happy with the cool things that their father let them buy but deep inside their hearts, they were sad that they could not share their joy with him.  Kay, who thought he was doing everything for his children, did not even know that his children actually needed him more than anything else. His wife, whose dream it had always been to live a life of sharing, caring, laughing and enjoying had learnt to be content with
shopping, looking pretty, decorating the house, organizing parties and ensuring everyone knew about their family’s financial status.

There was no doubt that Kay was really good at his professional work. Unfortunately, he was at work for so long and so often, that eventually, it was the only thing that he was good at. Somewhere along the road, Kay had ‘become’ what he did for a living. His identity was his work. Even though he had made a name for himself in the corporate world, he had forgotten to live life as a person, as a human being. His mind was never ready to think about anything except his work.

Never once did Kay pause to think, “Who really am I as a person, as a human being, as a husband, as a father and so on? Is this human life limited to increasing the profits of a corporate company? If I did not have this job, who would I be? Why am I so busy in filling my coffers overlooking the beauties this life and this world have to offer? Have my most meaningful accompaniments – my wife and my children – become reduced to fixtures? Was I born only to earn money?

Such a living style had become his passion, his mission. He took increasing stress for successive steps to his path — the path to glory. But stress is stress and gradually, this stressful life began to take a toll on his health. He did not have time even to see the doctor. Whenever he did go to the doctor, he was advised to re-plan his life, relax and unwind. The advice never worked. He continued to do whatever was required to rise higher and higher in his profession. Eventually, the stress showed up. One day, he had to be rushed to the hospital when he fainted during a heated meeting with a client. His condition was serious. The doctors were not sure if he would survive.

Kay’s life flashed before his eyes. All he saw was meetings with clients, convincing his team members, leading projects, his office and his pending files. Pushing aside everything, he asked to see his wife. She responded quickly and arranged a full-time attendant as she herself was scheduled to attend some meetings.  In the endless race for materialism, Kay had forgotten to show his family what togetherness meant. Everyone had started going by a fixed schedule, with no time for anything or anyone. His children, on hearing about their father’s condition, sent him flowers. They did not show up to look after him or to talk to him as they already had their day chalked out. Kay was responsible for all this. In all his wisdom and sincerity, he had modelled this. In the early years after his marriage, whenever his wife called him in the office to tell him that their child was sick, he would call his secretary to send for a doctor and also arrange for flowers to be delivered. He himself was too occupied to take time off to comfort his family. Now, the ‘standard’ had been set.

A new flash now appeared before Kay’s eyes. All of a sudden, life seemed like such a waste. Accomplishments seemed so superficial. What had once seemed like moments of glory now appeared to have nothing glorious about them. The real glory had been lost. A human life had been lost in meaningless pursuits and now lay helpless on a hospital bed.

~ Nivedita Shori

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Family Stands For Togetherness

Family! This word conjures up an image of a group of people — both young and old — standing next to each other, holding hands and smiling. This is usually what is seen in traditional family portraits and is conventionally considered to be an ideal image of a family.

Taking a step deeper beyond the ‘looks’, let us think about how much togetherness they actually share.

Do the members of a family really stand by each other holding hands? No, we don’t. The fact is that not only in good times, but even in tough times, no one cares about one another. Some might pretend to be present physically or at the most say some comforting words, but when it comes to truly comforting the person – whether it be a parent, grandparent, a sibling or a child – we often fail miserably to do even our duty, let alone doing any selfless service.

How often do we even smile in each other’s company? It is one thing to give a smiling pose for a picture but a totally different thing to share a genuine smile. In fact, we seem to have lesser and lesser time to smile. We enter the house, leave the house and work or sleep inside our house like robots. We do not smile and greet each other in the family any more when someone returns home. Nor do we smile and wave at each other when a family member leaves. Sometimes, when we watch television together or are engaged in other external sources of entertainment as a family, occasionally we smile or laugh. But that pleasantness is not directed towards each other. It is directed towards the idiot box or the media source we are engrossed in.

If we analyze further, we find that as families, we do not live up to our roles at all. We do not show our excitement at family ventures, we do not show our commitment and sincerity to family-time and we do not stand by each other in times of need.

What’s even more unfortunate is that family members are generally looking for chances to pull each other’s leg. We feel that others in the family are standing over us, instead of standing by us. They seem to be watching everything we are doing and are ready with their taunts at the first opportunity they get.  And when it comes to us, we do the same to them.

In households, it is common to hear, “I already knew it!” or “See! Didn’t I tell you? But who listens to me?” and worse still “You are hopeless! No one in the family has ever been like you. I wonder who you take after!”

Amidst such environments, it is hard to feel a sense of belonging, caring and togetherness. One does not feel like going home at the end of a busy day, when such an atmosphere awaits. A home is not a home but just a shelter in such cases. A well-known adage says, “A house is made with bricks but a home is made with hearts”. Sadly, our hearts are not very much in the picture. So, our family portraits are mere appearances, acts of pretence.

We have to understand that we need our families. It is up to each and every member of the family to try to create an atmosphere conducive to peace and joy. Who would understand our true worth, but our family? As a family, we should encourage each other and help bring out each other’s strengths. We can start with simple things like a hearty acknowledgement of the other person’s presence or words, an encouraging remark, a loving gesture or even one simple, genuine smile. If our heart is in the right place, our home will be too!

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Jay’s father taught him many lessons of life. He thought that moral education is something that kids should learn at a very early age. At school, when Jay read the story with the moral, ‘Honesty is the best policy’, he came home and asked his dad what it really meant. His dad explained that it means that you should always be truthful. It always ends up making you happier in the end. Jay listened carefully as his father said, “Sometimes it is hard to be honest, because you get greedy or think that you will get in trouble by being honest. You just want to take the easy route of lying and putting the matter to an end. However, it never works out. It never gives you peace. It also usually gets you in more trouble than the trouble caused by being honest. So remember Jay, when you feel like you cannot face the truth, try it and you will feel a lot better. Even if it will give you some hard time for a little while, it will make you a very happy man for the rest of your life.”

The little boy thought about it. He thought of the time he had lied to his mother when she had asked if he got any homework. And his dad is right – the small lie did not let him sleep peacefully that night. He also did not do very well on the test at school the next day, because he hadn’t done his homework. It would have been so much better if he had been honest in the very first place. He decided he was going to give honesty a try.

For several years, Jay practised following truthful behaviour. When his teachers asked him why he wasn’t able to complete his assignment on time, he spoke the truth and said he did not understand it, instead of saying that he was sick or that he had to go somewhere with his parents. As a result, his teacher gave him extra assistance, which made him feel good and helped him learn better. He started to do really well at school and was able to score high enough to get admission in a good Senior School that would help him prepare for his entrance examination to for Architecture – his dream since childhood.

His honesty became a good influence for his friends. In the beginning, when Jay used to tell them that he cannot lie to his parents about skipping class that day, they used to make fun of him. But they soon saw how relaxed Jay was compared to them. He did not have to hide anything from anyone. He was not stressed about anything and could easily concentrate on anything. Moreover they saw that teachers liked and helped Jay with his work. So, his friends stopped making fun of him and instead started admiring him, some openly and others secretly.

His family was really proud of him. Their son was setting a good example for his little sister to follow. Even when he made a mistake, Jay was quick enough to admit and apologize. That created an atmosphere of togetherness in the family. His parents trusted him and shared some of their ideas and opinions with him as they saw that being honest, he was a responsible child.

After finishing Senior School, Jay sat for his entrance test. He thought he did fine, but had to wait patiently for the results. A few days later the results were announced. Jay’s score was good, but not good enough to get him into one of the most prestigious Universities of the region – where he was hoping to go. His parents, who loved him a lot, saw his disappointment and were slightly disturbed as well.

The next day, at work, Jay’s father was approached by a man who had heard about his son’s test scores. He said, “I have a contact at the University your son wants to go to. Since his marks are not too far below, they might accept him, if you arrange for some cash to go under the table.” The man was asking for a bribe! Jay’s father’s instant reaction was to shout at this man for even thinking about such a thing.

But on second thought, he walked away and started thinking. If he accepted this offer now, he could fulfill his child’s dream! Not only that, it would be a matter of pride for the entire family to have their son studying in such a reputable institute. His eyes would glow with brightness when he would mention Jay in front of his relatives and acquaintances. Maybe he should consider this deal.

When he went home that evening, he was very pensive. His mind was occupied in making an important decision about the life of his son. Sensing his tension at the dinner table, his family asked him what he was worried about. For a moment he was quiet but then he decided to share his dilemma. As soon as he presented the problem to them, Jay opened his mouth to say something. “There you go”, his dad thought, “He is so excited to hear about this. I think I should do this.” But Jay was saying something totally different! To his dad’s great astonishment, Jay said, “Dad do you remember what you had told me once? You had said that even if honesty will give you some hard time for a little while, it will make you a very happy man for the rest of your life. I will be happier if my conscience is clean Dad. And I know that you will be too.”

Jay’s mother and father had tears of joy in their eyes! Dad had learnt a lesson from his young son today. He knew that his upbringing had been successful. The little offshoot he had been nurturing all these years was now a hale and hearty young tree that was ready to bear fruit of the very best quality!

~ Miles To Go…

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Interaction is a two-way process. It requires two
sides to talk and to listen. A common mistake
made during interaction is to consider the other
side as an object. We have to acknowledge the
other person’s full existence and unique
personality.

For a healthy, caring family, we have to master
the art of interaction.

It has to be remembered that interaction is
not only about talking, but about listening too.
It’s not only about giving suggestions but also
about hearing viewpoints. In case of children,
interaction is more than ‘telling’ them what to
do. Good interaction triggers the communicators
to discuss, think and reflect. It leaves everyone
with a renewed sense of understanding and
becomes a source of physical and mental
motivation!

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