Ankur Sethi is Alive and Well

Episode 7: Par­ent­ing Li­cense

I watched The Dead Poets Society today. It’s about an English teacher who tries to teach his students how to live. Go watch it.

The Dead Poets Society struck a chord with me because I have been thinking about the same issues it talks about for the past few days. What got me thinking was a conversation I heard at a party last week. This is how it went:

Kid: But mom, I don’t want to eat right now.

Mom: It’s lunchtime. You’re going to eat that chapati right now.

Kid: Okay, ma.

Mom: Why are you using your left hand to eat? Can’t you do anything right?

(At this point, my mom goes over to talk to that annoying lady.)

Mom: Say namaste to aunty. Have you forgotten your manners?

… and so on …

The conversation itself is not offending. In fact, I clearly remember being told to eat with my right hand when I was a kid (a piece of advice that still doesn’t make sense to me). What offended me was the fact that the mother was barking orders, in a way that made me want to put my fork down and leave the room. That kid could not have been older than ten. Show some love, lady. You’re supposed to be his mum. Oh well. What goes around, comes around.

Another story. A guy we (we = my family) know just enrolled his ten year old son into a boarding school. The reason? “He is unruly. We can’t take care of him.” Yeah, right. Do you expect military-style discipline from a ten year old? As far as I know, ten year olds do not want to take over the world (yet). Their curiosity gets them into a lot of trouble, but whatever they do is well intentioned. My parents were visibly shocked.

No one without a parenting license should be allowed to raise kids.