Have you seen how long and high the book shelf of parenting has become ? While writing this article, amazon books showed a whopping 80,000+ results for the keyword parenting. In Fact there are more than 800 articles on “Best parenting book”. Here is another.
Do you know that the very word "parenting" is not more than 50 years old. Do you know that no-one ever read a book on how to raise an offspring of their own species ? Do you know human beings have raised healthy and happy children for centuries without ever finding the need to read a book on it.
What has happened that you were hunting for best parenting book ? it also suggests that perhaps you've already read a lot of books.
The Culprit : Modern culture of Expert Dependency
We live in a culture of "expert dependency" . Be it health, parenting, love, relationships, food - anything - we've experts around and we are all running behind them. Perhaps, we needed experts in a very few areas say technology or advanced surgery but do we really need experts telling us for everything in life ?
The Reason : Loss of our touch with Life
Why did we fall prey to this expert dependency ? It is perhaps because we have lost touch with life itself. We have cut ourselves from nature. We've become too rational and look down upon faculties like intuition, inner voice, emotions and spontaneity.
The Best Parenting Book :
The best parenting book is your own child. Please stop reading those parenting guides most written by parents who’ve themselves not done what they preach. Even if they have, each child, society , time and situation is so unique that every manual created is bound to fail. We are the first generation of species ever to exist on this planet who thinks that we need to be taught how to parent. No other species, including humans few decades back never needed any kind of training for parenting.
To understand our own child, we now need a book. What happened ? Well , a hell lot has happened. Most important of it is that we, as a race , have become too intellectual and lost touch with our intuition. Intuition is what used to tell a parent what to do or not. Now, we need a book or an expert to do that. We have become too focused on external information and validations. We must reclaim our sense of intuition. It will not only make us better parents but also a better individual.
Secondly, we have lost the art of pure observation. Observing our own child can reveal a world to us. But we have got very busy and so self obsessed that we have almost lost the capacity to observe our own child. We have bogged ourselves down with so much work and engagements that there is no space and time just to be with the child. Whatever little time we spend with them , we are either training them or firefighting a problem. We must learn to observe our children. It will help us learn so much more about children that no book can ever teach.
Lastly, we need to break this myth that we need to teach the child everything and there's nothing we need to learn from them. In fact, we need to learn many things from children and there is only little, if at all, that we really need to teach.
Khalil Jibran has summarized it aptly about children,
You may give them your love but not your thoughts,
For they have their own thoughts.
You may house their bodies but not their souls,
For their souls dwell in the house of tomorrow,
which you cannot visit, not even in your dreams.
You may strive to be like them,
but seek not to make them like you.
For life goes not backward nor tarries with yesterday.