You might have heard this many times, parents saying this to kids, “Work hard. There’s no substitute to work hard. You have to work hard in your life.”
As a father, I’m saying this to my child. As a son, I heard many times my parents saying this to me.
But as a child every time when they used to say this to me, I used to feel, what do you mean by that?
Okay, you said to work hard. What do you mean by that?
But parents, they have an amazing opportunity not to say this but also demonstrate this.
What do you mean by working hard?
And my parents did exactly that.
What is the definition of working hard according to my parents? And what they demonstrated?
If we take the example of my dad, once he completed his 20 years of army service. He served in an army for three wars in 20 years. When he got retired, his heart was full of pride but not bank balance. So, he decided to take one more job, but because his education was very poor and any soldier, Indian army soldier with a poor educational background the only option is like beyond or maybe a watchman. So, he was doing that kind of job only. And for years, he did that. Whatever money he got from retirement and everything, he injected to build the house and whatever money he was getting from that salary, life was cool.
I was in 10th standard. My brother was in 12th standard. And as for the tradition of our family, we were supposed to take maybe B.Sc., B. Com or BA, something like that after 12th standard.
Even for that, my father had sufficient amount of money fund required for that kind of education.
But my mother had a different dream.
She said to my father, very rarely my mother puts her point of view in front of my dad. But this time she was very stubborn on this point and she said, “My kids will not just complete graduation. My kids, they have to go for some kind of technical courses.”
So, when my brother completed 12th standard, I was about to complete even before the results, my mother she spoke to someone and she decided, her advisor suggested that my brother should get admission in engineering.
So, when she proposed this to my dad, my dad said, “See, financially it is not possible for us. Whatever I am earning, whatever money I am getting from my job is enough for us to live a normal life.
Eat well, three times and that amount is enough to sponsor their education like B.Sc., B. Com, something like that, a normal college not a technical course. Because in the case of technical courses, then there is a donation, there is a hostel, there are expenses which was according to my father’s math’s, he said, “I cannot manage it.”
But my mother didn’t listen to this and she said No! somehow, she convinced my dad. And for this, my Dad decided to take a loan not from a bank but from one of his friends and the EMI of that loan was nothing but the salary he was getting, almost that amount.
So, the entire salary what he was earning was going in an EMI then we thought about what to eat then because my brother has left now for education. I was there, I was witnessing all that and at this point of time when I’m sharing this, sometimes people feel that Praveen, this is very sorry, pity. No, at that point of time it was fun for me because I was surrounded by so many humble families. They were in a far worse position compared to us. So, we were in a very good position, at least my dad was earning but what to eat everything is going in EMI’s.
So, my dad decided to become auto rickshaw driver in the evening. So, he used to come around 3, 4 from the job he was doing and, in the afternoon, he used to come back. And then from 4 p.m. till 10 p.m., 11 p.m. in the night he used to go on auto rickshaw. He used to come back every night. Still remember my mama used to wait like this when he will come, when he will come, nothing romantic about it.
But she used to wait because of this, as soon as my dad came, I used to run towards my dad and then I should take that handkerchief. Now you picture the driver tying the handkerchief on the handle. And I used to go and take the handkerchief, open the handkerchief and start separating the coins first and then notes and then start making the small, small group of same coins. 10 paisa, 15 paisa, 1 rupee, 2 rupees, 3 rupees and start counting it.
And from the corner of her eyes my mother, she used to look towards me how much, how much, how much, how much? Because that number used to decide whether we will eat twice or thrice next day. So, I used to enjoy that but now I feel that’s pure hard work. That’s absolutely pure.
That Was More Powerful Than Just By Words That Don’t Give Up Or Work Hard
What do you mean by that? It’s like they were just stretching their limits for what, for education. They were doing something which is beyond their capacity.
Even my mother, she used to stitch blouses. She learned how to do that. And even I still remember as a child whenever one blouse is ready and stitched, she used to give it me and then I have to run and go to the place, deliver it and take collect 10 Rupees. She used charge this but in those days 10 rupees is enough.
So even within her capacity, my dad within his capacity, they have tried their best, stretched, failed, cried, shouted, fought, but they didn’t give up. They never gave up even their life.
So that was more powerful than just by words that don’t give up or work hard in your life because that is a real demonstration of working hard and which was not same in all the cases. Like even at that age, I used to say, I still remember this small incident from my life and I was really shocked. I was really shocked.
I was studying at 14 years old and one of my friends he was sitting alone and crying and now looking very dull sad.
I said, “What happened?”
He said, “My dad shouted at me.”
I said, “Why?” He said, “I asked for a few rupees.”
I said, “For what?”
He said, “I wanted to buy a notebook but as usual today also he is drunk. I know he has money. I can see that money in his pocket, but he’s not giving it to me.”
And I said, “Oh my God, even this kind of people also there at…”
Sometimes at that age when you listen to this for the first time. Now, it’s okay. I know there are people like this one but the first time that was breaking news for me.
On one hand, I have parents, they have dedicated themselves, going beyond their capacity, stretching all possible limits for education and on one hand this boy is struggling. So, I feel so fortunate, so fortunate that throughout my childhood, there was a live demonstration of hard work in front of me which I believe it’s not my responsibility.
Now, it’s my responsibility because I am under observation. I’m a father of a 14 years old child. He’s observing. He’s observing whether I am stretching my limits or not. Whether I am going beyond my capacity or not. He’s observing me when I fail in my life, how I react? Am I expecting that failure? And believe it is okay. Failing is absolutely okay. I will not give up. I’m on under observation.
So ladies and gentleman, especially parents every time when you say work hard, work hard, work hard somewhere in the mind your kids are asking this question or observing you.
Are you working hard in your life?
Are you stretching your limits?
Are you going beyond your capacities?
Are you doing something which you have never done before? Failing several times.
Accepting that failure but not giving up.
Are you demonstrating or you are just sharing theory with your child?
Ladies and gentlemen parenting according to me is not theory.
Parenting according to me is only practical and demonstration.
That’s my view. What is your perspective on this?
This is Praveen Wadalkar signing out until we meet again.