Delirious has an interesting post “The Trials Of Being An Only Child” in her blog.
My son Ranjan is an only child, and to the best of my recollection he has never had a ‘No’ for an answer from his parents, ever. He was and is clever enough to ask for only those things for which he would not get a ‘No’ for an answer.
The issue that I wish to address however is not whether he should have got some ‘No’s. It is too late to worry about that now.
The story that Delirious conveys brings to mind a story that my Guru Swami Dayananda Saraswati, uses to highlight the value of values. I relate the story in a much abridged form.
A childless couple adopt a street urchin who they regularly see near their home eating whatever he can scavenge from the thrown away packets and the waste bins. They clean him up, and arrange for him to go to school and the mother becomes very fond of the child and teaches him about his new station in life and how he should behave.
Every day, the child would get dressed in the school uniform and go to the near by school and just before leaving the house, the mother would give him a chocolate to have some time during the day. It once so happens that on the way to the school itself, the child unwraps the chocolate to eat and the nice bar falls on the road.
At this point, Swamiji would pause and ask the audience as to what the child would do. The answers would inevitably be either that the changed circumstances would make the child to ignore the fallen chocolate, or that he would pick it up, dust it up a bit and eat it. Swamiji would say that the most possible scenario would be that the child will first look around to see if any one was observing and then would pick up the chocolate to eat or not depending on the situation. He would add that if the situation permitted, the child would pick up the chocolate and perhaps as a concession to its current status and knowledge, instead of eating the bar, would first dust it before biting into it.
The point is that the child’s values have changed, but not its desires. Then of course, Swamiji would proceed to elaborate, which is not the thrust of this post.