Today 17th June 2017 will be the first time I’m eligible to claim my place in the calendar for the day that has been allocated as a recognition for fathers. As my son grows older I will expect to be wished every year, spend quality time with and wrap it up with an Amazon gift card. Life set hai. So how did I get here?
We had planned to become parents in 2016 as a life goal and we prepped for it – both physically and financially. My journey to this day can be captured as answers to a series of questions I got asked along the way.
So, How did you react when you first saw your son?
My son was born a month early! We visited the doc for a sonogram on 8th March and within an hour were told that it was an emergency C-section case. The saw him up close for exactly 2 minutes in an elevator as he was rushed to the neonatal ICU and kept there for 2 weeks. When I finally met him I was relieved – so much that I did a small dance with him in the hospital room! My wife still has that video.
So, What advice would you give your son aka how will you raise your son?
I think much of that is still building up inside me along with visions of beer/ sushi lunches and Playstation weekends. Our fathers had grand declarations of “Mera beta doctor/engineer banega” as they picked us up. But We live in a time of great disruption with no knowledge of the jobs and careers that will emerge when this settles. As someone who is deeply involved in this disruption, I can confidently say this is not a myth but the paranoia in the pink newspapers is unfounded and meant to feed into the insecurities of the gullible. So what should my son do to be successful?
Don’t be a bum be successful. Working hard is indeed cool.
I believe jobs in the future will lie at the intersection of strong analytical skills and strong social and presentation skills. This is one area machines won’t beat us even if we achieve singularity and machines pass the Turing test. Education that gets him there should be his pursuit. It is not wrong to pursue wealth, one of the pillars of Hinduism is Artha which one must not shy away from it.
Pay yourself first
It isn’t wrong to say that we are in an age of rapid consumerism. Now before you accuse me of being a bhakt of Karl Marx let me tell you, I strongly stand in the capitalist camp. Capitalism thrives on consumerism but there are 2 categories of people in this camp those who are slaves of its fruits and those who plant the trees. Whenever you purchase a product and service you are exchanging money and making someone else richer, when you invest you make yourself richer. So when you buy a service or a product ask yourself do I benefit from this transaction? Is my life easier leading to better productivity in another aspect of my life.
Lead a good life
I’m a slave of my ambition and that has led me to lose touch with a lot of people I care about. The pursuit of success has many hidden costs all along the way, so ask yourself what you’re willing to pay. I’m a weekend father with the hopes of making it really big in a way that enables me to cool off later but I know that cool off would get to me in less than a month. I will advise reading Clayton Christensen’s book How will you measure your life. This has had a grounding effect on me every time I have read it but like I said in the opening line of this paragraph I’m a slave.
Have a moral compass
In life, you will be placed in a lot of situations where you could do what is right for you and what is the right thing expected of a good human being. Our Darwinian side will compel us to exercise survival of the fittest, but we didn’t become the masters of the evolutionary chain by behaving like animals. A moral compass and empathy are very powerful emotions, not a handicap. Make good decisions, don’t harm others.