Who takes the blame?

Pakistan Observer - - OPINION - — Email:bob­s­ban­ter@gmail.com

SOME­THING that sad­dens me on read­ing about a sui­cide is hear­ing par­ents blam­ing some boy who was in­volved with their girl and who they feel caused the death of their daugh­ter. My ques­tion to them is, didn’t you build your child up to be able to han­dle life? Why are you blam­ing sit­u­a­tions and cir­cum­stances when the foun­da­tion you gave your child was so weak they could take their own life?

Not just sui­cides, but even when chil­dren turn to crime, be­come vi­o­lent; shouldn’t the par­ents be ar­rested? Aren’t they to blame? Dr. Arun Gandhi, grand­son of Ma­hatma Gandhi and founder of the M.K.Gandhi In­sti­tute for Non-vi­o­lence, in his June 9 lec­ture at the Univer­sity of Puerto Rico, shared the fol­low­ing story in par­ent­ing:

“I was 16 years old and liv­ing with my par­ents at the in­sti­tute my grand­fa­ther had founded 18 miles out­side of Dur­ban, South Africa, in the mid­dle of the sugar plan­ta­tions. We were deep in the coun­try and had no neigh­bors, so my two sis­ters and I would al­ways look for­ward to go­ing to town to visit friends or go to the movies.

One day, my fa­ther asked me to drive him to town for an all-day con­fer­ence, and I jumped at the chance. Since I was go­ing to town, my mother gave me a list of gro­ceries she needed and, since I had all day in town, my fa­ther ask me to take care of sev­eral pend­ing chores, such as get­ting the car ser­viced. When I dropped my fa­ther off that morn­ing, he said, ‘I will meet you here at 5:00 p.m., and we will go home to­gether.’ Af­ter hur­riedly com­plet­ing my chores, I went straight to the near­est movie the­atre. I got so en­grossed in a John Wayne dou­ble-feature that I for­got the time. It was 5:30 be­fore I re­mem­bered. By the time I ran to the garage and got the car and hur­ried to where my fa­ther was wait­ing for me, it was al­most 6:00. He anx­iously asked me, ‘Why were you late?’ I was so ashamed of telling him I was watch­ing a John Wayne west­ern movie that I said, ‘The car wasn’t ready, so I had to wait,’ not re­al­iz­ing that he had al­ready called the garage. When he caught me in the lie, he said: ‘There’s some­thing wrong in the way I brought you up that didn’t give you the con­fi­dence to tell me the truth. In or­der to fig­ure out where I went wrong with you, I’m go­ing to walk home 18 miles and think about it.’

So, dressed in his suit and dress shoes, he be­gan to walk home in the dark on mostly un­paved, un­lit roads. I couldn’t leave him, so for five-anda-half hours I drove be­hind him, watch­ing my fa­ther go through this agony for a stupid lie I ut­tered. I de­cided then and there that I was never go­ing to lie again. The fa­ther took the blame for the son’s lie, he wanted time to think out where he had gone wrong. Do we have the courage to do the same, or do we al­ways blame; that boy, that girl, his wife, her hus­band, in­stead of look­ing at our­selves? I’ll take it a step far­ther; start in­vest­ing into your chil­dren that they’ll be strong and han­dle the some­times cruel waves life throws at them..!

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