Could You Parent?

I met my father after about a year today. Today was also one of my sister’s engagements. If you follow me on Twitter, you already know that I am missing my ongoing test to attend this event and it’s been worth it.

My father, as much as I recall, has been a hardworking man for most of his life. In the early 1990s when he was in secondary school, he used to study in a school where students from at least 13 villages used to come to study every day. It was a competitive environment. But even then, he got the highest scores throughout the years of his secondary and high school.

But this article, however, is not to brag about how great my father is or how high it sets the bars for me. Today, I want to talk about being a parent. Imagine, for a moment, that you got married right this very day and had a child, would you be able to be a good parent to him/her?

While answering this question, we could as well say “Yes, sure.” But would you really be able to be a good parent?

If you are an aspiring youth, getting married and having children might seem less of a concern, like not so big of a deal. I’ve seen and met so many people who are jaw-droppingly successful in their industry of work, but they don’t have a great family life. One of the major reasons for this is that they were arranged married, i.e. their spouses were chosen and decided by their parents and not them.

In the countryside (villages), where I am originally from, people don’t really put much thought into the consequences and things that getting married could change for them. Most people there are married by the age of 16 and have a child or two by 18. In fact, some of the boys of my age with whom I used to spend time while I used to stay in my village are already married, and most of them have 2-3 kids. That’s crazy. As I recall, there also was a boy in Birgunj who studied till grade 5 with me. He got married at the beginning of grade 6 and dropped out when he got a child.

Again, this article is not to discuss illiteracy, child marriage, or its consequences. This article is about having a child and being a good parent. Do you think that that friend of mine who was married at 13/14 might have turned out to be a good parent? Hard to say.

Having a child seems like a beautiful thing, but it isn’t easy.

There isn’t just one thing that goes into being a good parent. First, you have to be on common ground with your spouse for how you want your child/children to turn out to be. Then you have to have a stable source of income to take care of your family. You have to, then, make sure that all the necessary things are made available to your child, put them in the right school, guide them throughout their school life, make sure that they aren’t bullied or they don’t become bullies, try to be a friend to them so that you know what’s going on in their lives or how and what they are feeling. There is a lot more that goes into it that I have no idea about.

For the couples who haven’t had the best relationship (perhaps regular conflicts), other people say “All of this would be solved if only they had a child.” But how?

As much as I can think, if they don’t have a very good relationship right now, having a child would only make their lives more difficult. In countries like Nepal, at least, where getting a divorce is not an option, they would then have to force themselves to live with their spouses for the rest of their lives even if they absolutely hated it.

Back to my father. Despite the fact that my father now has three adult children, I still see him trying to figure things out. He still tries to learn things to become a better father. Even for us, when we become adults, get married, or become a parent, there is not going to be any guidebook to help us become good parents for our children. Even us, like most couples, might have to figure it all out from scratch. From giving them good health care, proper food, good environment, good schooling, making them good people, and everything that comes in between, we’d have to figure everything out.

Do you think you would be a good parent?

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