Dilemma of the Better Son

Now, as I see the past, I must have been a pathetic son to my father. Now, that I have a son, I feel I, myself, could have done a better job as a son. Every time I look at my son and my chest is filled with warmth, love, pride and fondness, I realise that this is how my father must have felt every time he looked at me. Now when I see my son grow, I realise that my father, too, must have been faced with the dilemma of the better son.

The Dilemma of the Better Son

I want my son to have the best things in life. I don’t mean material things. I mean I want him to have the best physical, mental and spiritual equipment to face life and deal with it. For achieving this, I am willing to stretch myself to any extent. I see to it that he goes to the best of schools, has an environment conducive to his growth and has the love of his parents behind him at all times.
But that is not enough; I want my son to be better than me. Better in all respects! It’s strange; I never wanted that about anybody else. I am not a bad soul. I have never wished ill of anybody. But never have I so explicitly felt that somebody should be better than me. I feel this, and very strongly, for my son. ? I never learnt swimming and I want him to learn it; I never took care of my physique and I want him to be physically fit at all times. I want him to start learning music at an earlier age and be more sincere than I ever was.
So, I dream about my son being better than me… and lo! The picture scares me! If he’s a better student than I was – would he lose respect for me? So if he has to be the better son, I have to be the better Father! And so, somewhat of a late start, but I am trying to be a better person than I have been.
Now, I look at my son and realise how much his mere presence has taught me. For one, he taught me the proverb that I had never understood as a child. The Child is Father of the Man.

© Kaushal S. Inamdar, 2005


  1. aditi says:

    hi Kaushal
    This article is making much sense to me now at this moment as I could experience and could “see” in your eyes today itself …all that you have mentioned..such a lovely coincidence that we met today n after I have come across this write up..well..my father used to think along the same lines (great fathers think alike..?) and did all that he could at his best..unfortunately destiny did not allow him to stay back with us..but even the 15 years of our companionship have proven a lifelong helpful support and I realise the meaning of all those words from him at every stage..your article brought me back 10 years ago into the simlar discussions and his efforts and the process of being a better father to make me a better daughter…thanks for cherishing my lovely and unforgetable memories…
    My best wishes for you for all your efforts to be a better father..

  2. Hi Kaushal

    Truly very nice article. I think every parent have this dillema and every good parent wants his children to have better privilages than he had. I think same for my daughter too.

    But to tell you the truth, nothing is enough in this world. I remember a true story here, I knew a woman whose parents used to make her study and punish her severely if she couldn’t achieve to their expectations. When this woman had a daughter she decided I will not let it happen to my daughter. I will not force her to study..let her do what she pleases. When daughter grew up, she wasn’t serious about life and didn’t achieve much and often used to blame her mother for not forcing her to study.

    We do what we think and feel is right but there isn’t hard and fast rule for right or wrong….So lets keep on trying to be better parents.


  3. Aditya says:

    good one kaushal …

    ‘THE CHILD is father to the man.’
    How can he be? The words are wild.
    Suck any sense from that who can:
    ‘The child is father to the man.’
    No; what the poet did write ran, 5
    ‘The man is father to the child.’
    ‘The child is father to the man!’
    How can he be? The words are wild.
    Gerard Manley Hopkins (1844–89)

  4. Anonymous says:

    Leave the child to have his or her own life. I want to have the child the best things. Yes this is repeated by every parent.

    I remember a poet wrote
    Amhi navto amche baap
    mag kashala paschttap

  5. My dear Anonymous,
    Thanks for your advice. But you see, you could not resist giving advice to me, a relative unknown person, and you expect me to leave my own child to his own! Jokes apart, you misunderstand me. As a parent, I must accept the responsibility of eqipping him to handle his own life. I am not leading his life for him, just making sure that he can lead his life according to his own wishes. And as for our Kavi Mahashay – paschattap tumhala nahi lekanno, tumchya mulaanna honyachi jaasta shakyata aahe!

  6. The Visitor says:

    Great write-up – aptly sums up the feelings and emotions of countless other parents.

  7. artnavy says:

    Kaushal- Ever since my kid Anush, my hubby has suddenly become so considerate and patient- I can SEE the change and I LOVE it and HIM all the more for it- ALL THE BEST!!

  8. Medha Naik says:

    Very well said, sir. As you rightly said, somewhere in the journey we learn to be finer human beings….

What do you think?