A new year and a new beginning. It started before the 31st of December 2012. My new beginning began on the 16th of December. I flew back home after three years to a whole new world (to quote a famous Disney song). And sure, I saw some unbelievable sights and had many ‘describable’ feelings. One feeling stood out the most. As a family, we are now transitioning into a new phase. At first we were infants, then children, then hormone driven teenagers, young adults and have now finally hit the ‘adult’ mark. What is this mark? A marked change in needs, attitudes, expectations and reactions. It effects everyone. Mom, Dad, siblings and self. Some are able to foresee this change and others remain oblivious, either on purpose or simply because they are truly blind to this transition. Transition! This is the word.
I am volunteering as a Research Assistant with my lecturer at University and we work with children. Transitions among children is an upcoming field of research and is being keenly studied, both in the developed and in the developing country contexts. There is an understanding and an empathetic interest in how children interact and/or communicate with their worlds as they move from one phase of their lives into the next. I have returned from one such transition. This one propels me far into the ‘adult world’. Now there is no looking back. The transition from child to adult has occurred. It is so subtle that even if we choose to avoid it or would like to reverse the movement, it is now not possible. I can momentarily forget about it but I cannot erase it.
The transition is not physical but behavioural. Owing to my experiences over the past three years I have gained confidence and a sense of self. I understand the concept of ‘potential’ and am increasingly sensitive to my own strengths and weaknesses. For me, it is a positive transition. I am rearing to go. But wait! I just hit a road block. At first my first instinct is to push it to the side and carry on. But these are not boulders to be moved away to the side. The road block is a human chain. It is a chain of human emotions, some that can be dealt with instantly some that will require rearing until maturation. And these emotions are of my parents. Somehow the rapid and often times what seems an instantaneous transition from child to teenager surprised parents less as compared to the transition from young adult to adult. The latter appears to them more abrupt sometimes down right unnecessary.
For a rather mellow teenager (atleast in comparison to the cliched definition) the adult move came as a big surprise to the folks. Differences of opinion are understood as disrespect or disobedience. When we were younger we were told to act our age and when we have begun to do so a strange place our parents have found themselves.
Parenting is complex it seems. You don’t have to read academic articles or go to crash courses to gauge its complexity. We just have to observe the see-sawing of our own ‘parented’ experience. It isn’t a fault. I see it like a any other ‘shock’ that the body at first instinct will want to either confront or ignore. In my case I observed both. Dad on the one hand confronted, amicably. He sought to identify how a certain behaviour grew. It seemed he always knew that the day would come. Mom on the other hand ignored. Not out of apathy but because of the lack of commonality.
Commonality. Especially the case in our generation. Very few women in my mum’s generation chose to work or were given the opportunity to work. Their universe was home and the kids. The challenges they faced were social. Remember how you used to run to mummy whenever you fought with your friend or when the teacher shouted at you? They were communicators. Communication skills honed, children transition to the ‘real world’. You had to show the world what you got, put colloquially. We had to turn into ‘doers’. Enters father or father figure.
This blog entry is incomplete and may remain so for sometime