When I was a kid, I imagined myself to be a prince. And who does not want to be spoiled in the first place. Every toddler had this illusion sometime somehow, some kind of a dream actually. And of course, everyone knows that a prince had everything he could wish for. He wanted to have a good aluminum light mountain bike, he gets it instantly. He wanted to have a good meal direct from where the famous Chinese dishes originate, he gets it in bubbling style. It’s like having a magic wand Harry Potter style.
Everything the mind can conceive, progeny can achieve, to put a spun on a commercial cliché. But when hunger stalks a family, it is the kid that gets the brunt and the realization that he was not a prince after all.
On a personal note however, we never suffered hunger, much more so experienced want. We were coasting along the middle range in an ordinary neighborhood. The most that I could expect was a decent education, which I got, and thereafter, a regular job to keep skin and bones together.
Despite entertaining princely thoughts, we have to strive hard, strive harder even to gain a foothold on anything dreamt. We learned competition right in our back yard. We learned our lessons the rigid way. Nothing was given by way of discount or concession. We must have to contest it.
And because of such exposure, we were eventually primed to achieve better results. We were in better company with the Billy Gates, the Steve Jobs, the Warren Buffet, the greats. We were in a generation that virtually made civilization and technology almost attuned to what perfection means.
If there were luck somewhere, there would be savings, which could be translated into assistance whenever my parents would express ordinary caprice, like a simmering bowl of noodles from a famous joint. I succeeded to deliver the goods and like my peers, we were gainfully employed and we have maintained a posture of courage in the face of any struggle.
We were strong for our elders and eventually, we founded a family which we could further dedicate our strength. It was a period of competition, not against anyone though, but on one self. One must push himself to the limits if only to produce more for the family.
For us in the baby boomer generation, our kids must never undergo the same predicament, the same hardship as we had. They must be provided up until they reach the age of majority. No, they will no longer be cajoled to squeeze their marrows for their elders. They would have a glorious period for their own career, to engage in more savings for themselves and live independent lives.
Meanwhile, we, the elders unlike our parents before, would just be contented with whatever we have accumulated, that which could last up until the last straw is picked up. We would rather accost the kids for an easy trip and tutor them on the tricks along the way to preserve their safety. The children would just be contented waiting for that day when they would be beneficiaries or inheritors of something.
That was however a miscalculation, a kind of mistake. On second thought, children should by all means be exposed to hardship. They ought to pass through some kind of a ringer, a maze filled with obstacles. They ought to understand failure and frustration first before any taste of winning. Michael Jordan when praised for his game winning clutch shot at a dying second during a close fight in the NBA Finals once said, “that shot I made is a result of thousands of practice shots.”
Discipline and persistence learned from hard work, it must be emphasized, are the basis of competence in facing and appreciating what fulfillment is all about. Without this exposure, a person becomes a marshmallow, too soft for comfort; his shell becomes too thin to defend his vulnerabilities and his strength reduced to a minimum.
Children, at most, should be trained to be independent. They should know when to be creative and resourceful. And this is developed not from the lap of the parents but on the struggle of the family, though the prodding of the elders.
As it were, kids nowadays feel that they are abandoned whenever their career-oriented parents would leave them behind. They would sense being forsaken and would demand so much. Parents on the other hand feeling guilty would shower their kids with lots of privileges to the point that the child would maintain a world view that they are there because humanity owes them a lot. A dangerous view.
When this become the parameter in understanding life, then the succeeding generation would slow down and would slide further towards a miserable end. When this happens, dreams are shattered and life starts anew as if it never begun.