As I reflect the past 32 years, as a pediatrician, and for past 26 years as a parent, I think more and more about Gretchen Rubin’s quote, ‘the days are long, but the years are short,’.  As always I ponder ‘Could I’ve done something different?’. I hear this everyday at the hospital when I am making rounds and educate a nurse or a medical student “you learn something new everyday”

I sometimes felt that they are being ignorant but it is true that learning is a life long process. You learn from various people you come across, I personally have learnt from my parents, my wife, my siblings, my children, my nieces and my nephews and  along with the umpteen number of patients, their parents, sometimes their grandparents. I have always learnt from my teachers, colleagues, nurses and everyone I  have come across working in various hospitals across the globe.

My kids and patients have and will continue to guide me in my quest to become a better parent, physician and person. I’d like to share some of these experiences and lessons with parents, some of who are just stepping into this journey.

  1. Food becomes an issue if I make it an issue. Force-feeding doesn’t work with kids. The only thing I can control is quality and not quantity of what they eat.

  2. I’ll never win the toilet training battle. I need let them guide me and not push them to the potty just because daycare or grandma said so.

  3. I need to always think about their long term and not just short-term happiness. Just because my toddler cries for the bottle at night, I will not give it to him.

 4. Show, not tell. I will model good behavior and habits, rather than expect it.

 5. I need to set boundaries and limits when they’re still very young. Bedtime, electronic use, respect for others, personal safety, reading are non negotiable.

 6. They live in our home, not a hotel. Chores and helping out at home is their responsibility, not a favor to me.

 7.  Just as I’m not perfect, I can’t expect perfection from my child either.

 8.  If I want them to listen to me, I need to make a habit of listening to them.

 9.  I can give them the environment to dream but not expect them to fulfill my dreams.

 10. I need to let them fall early so they can fly later. Resilience is the only way my child will succeed in future.

 11. If I’m happy and content, so will my child. Just as I want happiness for my child, my child wants the same for me. Yes, that invisible umbilical cord lasts a lifetime.

 12. I need to teach them that success is not a destination but a journey, so not to stop when you get a good score, score a goal or win a medal, we need to keep improving on what we have or what we have achieved.

13 Life’s goals should not be focused on improving one self but to improve people around you

Parenting is one of the most fulfilling challenges of our lives. In some ways, it’s a spiritual experience that teaches us the virtues of patience, unconditional love, giving without expectations and compassion. I have tried to achieve a fraction of what our parents did for us with the limited resources and means and we try to teach our children to do better.

This blog is dedicated to my parents (esp my mother who was my source for infinite wisdom and love)  

Categories: General