An eight year old child had taught me some spectacular life lessons. My Babygirl Cupcake. And I am sure most of you reading this would have read about her too in one of my previous blogs titled, “8 lessons I learnt from an 8-year old”. If you haven’t yet, I suggest you do because today I am going to talk about two wonderful people who were responsible for creating that marvel of a child – Dhanya and Satish.
I met Dhanya and Satish anna (who I fondly like to call as anna, which is the Tamil word for elder brother) in 2019 during my NLP workshop in Cochin, and kept running into them even after. They are probably the most grounded human beings I have ever met.
The first time I saw them together, I could so clearly see an invisible, unbreakable bond that tied them together, yet made them fly high. It’s positive energy, uncontained, exuded from their personas and spread to everyone around like the aroma of freshly baked cake.
They sat together with their fierce little girl cubs – Paru and Charu. And looked so complete and serene like a painting straight out of the walls of Raja Ravivarma’s works. They did not have a piercing fence around themselves. Instead they had a garden of roses that welcomed everyone with love.
I do not recall the exact moment that I was welcomed into their family but I do remember the exact moment I realized that I loved them all like my own. The day Dhanya became my soul sister and Satish anna, a brother from another mother. I remember the emotions of joy flooding throughout my entire body and my eyes welling up with tears as I hugged Dhanya in a tight embrace after our session on finding our inner voice, in Munnar, with Avi Adir.
I felt immense tranquility within me and saw myself laying my head down to rest on Mother Earth’s lap as I hugged Dhanya that day. That momentary vision gifted to me by the Universe was more than sufficient to let me know that my soul had connected with her’s and we had become sisters for life. Touchwood. And as Satish anna looked upon us with pride and joy, he smiled at me and called me “Thangachi” (which is the Tamil term for younger sister).
Thus, began my bonding with two of the purest souls I have had the blessing of knowing, loving and being loved by. Apart from giving me unconditional love and support, and pulling me up without any expectations in return, whenever I fell even though it hurt their hands a lot.
They have also taught me their secrets of nurturing two beautiful souls – my Dancing Queen (Paru) and my Babygirl Cupcake (Charu).
In the little time I had spent with Dhanya and Satish anna, I got the opportunity to learn how they managed to bring up their little cubs as beautiful human beings even at such a young age.
I was always curious as to know how my Babygirl Cupcake and Dancing Queen became who they are today and managed to win over my heart and take possession of it indefinitely.
So I decided to learn from the model parent couple themselves! Over drool-worthy Kerala lunch and paruppu vada, I learnt from them one day, the 8 proven parenting lessons which I will be sharing with you too!
So gear up to learn from the masters themselves, from their very own parenting scriptures:
We all have role models and people who fascinate and inspire us. For most of us, the first role model has been our mother or father. But as we grew up, did it still hold true? Are you still a role model for your child? If the answer to both these questions was a “No”, then ask yourself what changed.
In the journey of parenting, yes it is a journey and that too an eternally long one, parents begin their adventure with extreme caution about their thoughts, actions and behavior that determine the kind of example they would be setting for their children as they grow up. But as the journey progresses, parents sometimes tend to forget to show the way for their children by walking the talk! Instead it becomes an unidirectional set of instructions on how their children should live!
Dhanya and Satish anna are one of the rarest parents who constantly and consciously put in efforts, everyday, to make sure they are setting the right example for their children. They make sure that they practice what they preach, which makes it all the more authentic for their children also to resonate with.
Be it showing respect for everyone, irrespective of their age, status or gender, or be it in following a resourceful discipline in life, or working for their dreams, or being accountable for their actions, or standing up for what they believe in and preserving their integrity, this parent couple has never once missed an opportunity to show their children how to live a meaningful life.
And this is exactly one of the biggest reasons that is still helping them shape the little cubs into majestic lionesses of the future.
As we grow older, one of our biggest battles becomes all about playing our roles perfectly – be whatever role that might be in our lives. And in that process we lose sight of our true goals and purpose and invite multiple problems for ourselves.
For instance, my parents have become a bit old and they are a lot more chilled about not being perfect now. But there was a time when I was growing up, when they were more focused on being the perfect parents!
That was not their fault nor did they do it intentionally but it was purely out of the pressure from everywhere around them and their own distortions in trying to raise me into an ideal daughter.
But little did they know that that had a grave effect on my mind and led to a chain of complications in my life. I was lucky enough to have the Universe help me to find my way back but how many of us have that luxury today?
To be a good parent, you don’t need to be perfect. You will fail and you will mess up. That’s a part of the growing up process! Yes, growing up, because as a parent you are as old as your first child is! And by dealing with your mess without losing yourself in the process is one of the finest lessons that you would be teaching your child! And that is the first step towards good parenting.
You are loved and valued as a parent despite your imperfections – this is one of the most important lessons I learnt from Dhanya and Satish anna. They have never once hesitated to accept that they too have screwed up at times but worked through it together and learnt from their mistakes and evolved to be better parents.
I had described how Babygirl Cupcake had won my heart over as she spoke only the language of love, in my previous blog! Love is her mother tongue. Not just hers but her sister, Paru’s too. The Dancing Queen as I fondly call her, danced her way into my heart with her wit, kindness and love!
Children usually learn their mother tongue from either or both of their parents and in their case, I did not need to question the source of it!
Unable to contain my amazement at seeing these two young children spreading love everywhere they went, like colorful butterflies, I immediately turned towards their parents who always stood beside them, emanating an aura of love.
Not once have I ever seen Dhanya or Satish anna lose their state of mind or express their displeasure at someone. They have always, always, spread love to every soul they have met along their journey of life. In that process, they have garnered the blessings of a countless number of souls.
So teach your children to speak the language of love first, rather than impeccable English! And when you as a parent talk, walk, speak and breathe love, your children will also follow in your footsteps.
“Leaders are not born. They are made.” I absolutely agree with this 100% as I have seen how ordinary people have shaped into great leaders in the society. True leaders nurture the growth of others around, take initiatives and make them believe in their own strengths. They work towards a common vision and take accountability for not just their own actions but that of the entire team of people they lead.
Such leadership skills have been exhibited time and again by both the little cubs one multiple occasions. And who do we thank?! Dhanya and Satish anna! Because neither of them has hesitated to step up and lead the way when needed. And they have had no qualms about nurturing each other’s growth as well.
From role reversal of the breadwinner to the homemaker, they have never shied away from experimenting with their roles for the common good of the family. I have never seen a patriarchal husband and a subdued wife in them. I have only seen two equals deeply in love, juggling their roles like pros, sharing and becoming partners for life.
And they also allow themselves to be led by their little ones on smaller tasks, namely, making sure the footwears are neatly arranged in the respective cupboard; glass utensils are segregated from the rest to avoid breakage while washing them; the dining table is set before each meal and cleared afterwards; workout sessions are followed promptly each morning, and so on! The little cubs take charge and ensure that their parents follow them, and Dhanya and Satish anna are always more than happy to do it!
I have had some annoyingly unfortunate encounters with a few children who are obsessed with unresourceful gadgets like the mobile phone or a play station! Once they got bored of theirs, they would get set to hunt me down for mine!
But ask them to have a meaningful conversation with you, and you will see them give you a cold stare that will question your entire existence! And what do their parents do in the meantime? Focus on recording themselves for Tik Tok or playing Candy Crush on their mobile phones. Like parents, like children.
Just when I had begun questioning the direction in which our future generation was headed to, I was faced with multiple questions like – since when had the old-school way of reading books, playing outdoors and making meaningful relationships become obsolete? How can technology even begin to replace the soulfulness of a human connection?
The consolation to my questions was that there were still some souls on this planet who nurtured human connections than technological invasions. I learnt this when I began spending time with Paru and Charu who loved to read Sudha Murthy books during their free time and enjoyed playing basketball, cycling and dancing rather than playing some mindless games on the mobile phone.
And when it came to social interactions, they did not have an ounce of reservedness. Instead they mingled and communicated with everyone easily!
And Dhanya and Satish anna also ensure that only at the time of work or in an emergency will they use their technological devices so that they are able to give their utmost concentration and attention to whoever is communicating with them. It is not because they don’t have fancy phones to show off at a dinner table but it is just that they would rather spend their time making memories with real human connections.
And in their homes, the television exists only for the sake of doing so! The family of four prefers to sit on the floor, together and have their dinner. While most of us do that while watching a program on our televisions, these miracle people spend their time relishing their food and chatting with each other about the day’s happenings!
I am not against technology. In fact I am pro-technology. But I strongly believe that children need to be exposed only to the resourceful side of it and be given an opportunity to be able to connect with fellow human beings with ease so that they grow up into normal, healthy adults.
Oh my! This family has its fitness goals set right! From working out together using the basic fitness exercises that we learnt from Joseph sir (the Indian Bruce Lee), every morning, to taking long walks in their jungle-walk (their apartment in Bengaluru has a mind-blowing expanse of land that has been converted into a serene, picturesque nature park), to running 5K and 10K marathons together, they are closely-knit in cheering each other on!
Neither of the parents cook up an excuse to skip a workout session when they just want to sleep into the late hours of the day. Even when their bodies are tired and achy, they gear up to start their day with fitness first. Because if they began giving excuses, then their children won’t learn to work hard and move forward when they need to, and will only start thinking of giving excuses to quit.
Dhanya and Satish anna have been working hard to bring up children who never give up on themselves or their dreams. Children who are will always be champions!
When it comes to giving freedom to children, most parents become stingy misers! They want their children to fly high but refuse to let go of the ropes holding them. Some parents give their children prop wings and push them to fly. But very few realize that the wings of children cannot be stuck or worn but they have to be grown. And when they are ready for flight, the rope holding them back has to be snapped so that the children can learn to fly.
I have never seen parents such as Dhanya and Satish anna who give their children freedom to be themselves and to evolve into better people. When they both wanted to do their certifications in NLP, and when Paaru expressed her interest in doing the same, they did not hesitate or let their ego get in the way.
Paaru and Chaaru were two of the finest co-practitioners in my batch of my NLP practitioner workshop.
Although their eyes are always on their children, ensuring their safety and well-being, Dhanya and Satish anna have never fussed over them or even raised their voice to control them! The freedom they have given to their children has also never been misused or violated as the children have also been taught to be grateful and responsible for their own freedom.
The one thing that I love the most about this model couple is that they do not expect their children to fit into their perception or dreams. They have always nurtured an environment where the children can be themselves and dream their own dreams! Paaru wants to be a professional dancer and athlete when she grows up.
And in the middle of a society that wants its children to become a doctor or an engineer, Dhanya and Satish anna are a class apart in standing by their children and fighting for their dreams as if it were their own!
As parents, the true role that we need to play is to bring life into this world, nurture its growth, give it safety and security and all the necessities that are required to help that life survive in this world. And once that life is ready to live on its own, the parents need to have detached attachment with the life they helped bring into this world.
Children may belong to parents but their lives don’t. Children are manifestations of nature wanting to live out its dreams. And in that process, it needs a conducive environment and parents who can love and show the way. So it is important to understand that as parents, we don’t own the lives of our children.
Our job is to give them the best of our abilities and prepare them for their true purpose in life. But not make them succumb to instant gratification at the same time.
As parents it is our duty to teach them to survive and make the best of their lives. The least we can do for that is to stop imposing our failures and dreams on them. Let them live their own lives. Love them but don’t control them.
I admire and salute Dhanya and Satish anna for their deep understanding of their roles as parents, and for practising patience and goodness every moment of their lives so that they may be able to teach the same to their children. I salute them for helping Paaru and Chaaru grow their own unique wings and for teaching them how to fly.
I bow down to them, for showing me what love at its purest form looks like, for showing me the true meaning of life and for showing me that family comes first. It is a blessing that you have each other and I have you.
I submit this blog as a tribute to you both, Dhanya and Satish anna, for being the models of excellence in parenting and for teaching me these 8 proven and invaluable parenting lessons!
And my prayer for you is that your children may grow up to be role models who can inspire many other young parents to also let their children grow wings and fly and make the world a better place…
Manisha Manoharan hails from Vellore in Tamil Nadu. She is an Internationally Certified Behavioral Trainer and NLP Master Practitioner who is passionate about transforming the lives of young-adults so that we can create better human beings. She enjoys good food, music and humour.