"Lakshmi Hui Hai," my grandmother announced to our relatives the day I was born. This phrase has become the cornerstone of my identity since then, and even today, in our close-knit joint family, whenever a family member wants to show me love and affection, they'll fondly say, "Tu Toh Hamare Ghar Ki Lakshmi Hai." For the longest time, I believed it held some profound religious significance, until a few years ago, when I decided to ask my father about its meaning that I uncovered the heartwarming story behind this.
Diwali is a time when the whole country honours Goddess Lakshmi, who represents wealth, prosperity, and food. One year, on Diwali, my father shared something heartfelt with us. He confessed that he had never made a distinction between the goddess Lakshmi and the two of us (my sister and I). In his eyes, he revealed that he had always treated us with the same love, care, and respect that he would offer to the divine goddess Lakshmi herself. It was evident that he spoke from the heart, and his words rang true.
Our current selves owe much to my father's unwavering love and support for my sister and me. I firmly believe that how parents, particularly fathers, treat their daughters and the women in their lives significantly shapes their future. Similar to how my father treated us, there are some basic things all parents can follow to ensure their daughters and the women in their families feel truly valued, empowered, and cherished.
This Diwali, let's explore simple yet vital ways to create an environment where daughters, aka Ghar Ki Lakshmi, can thrive.
Encouraging independence and self-confidence is a vital part of the equation, empowering individuals to make decisions and gather wisdom from their experiences. Not all parents adopt this approach right from the beginning. In my case, my father initially doubted my decisions but never discouraged me. He lets me take the chance to prove myself. If I fail, he helps me to decode the lesson, and if I succeed, he joins me in the celebration. This is how my father nurtured my independence. Every parent may have their own distinct approach, but the shared goal is to cultivate independence and promote self-reliance.
This means having the same standards and expectations for sons and daughters. Treating all children impartially also involves providing the same chances and options to every member, regardless of their gender. In my household, my father practised it by giving sons and daughters equal access to education, career choices, and personal growth opportunities.
Building Trust Through Communication
Cultivate an atmosphere that encourages daughters to approach you for open and honest conversations. In various households, daughters may have a closer bond with either their fathers or mothers. Regardless of the dynamics, the objective for both parents should be to create an atmosphere where their daughters feel comfortable sharing their thoughts and feelings without hesitation or the fear of being criticised.
This involves acknowledging and celebrating the distinctive qualities and characteristics that make each daughter unique. It means allowing them to be their authentic selves and not trying to mould them into predefined roles or expectations.
In our case, my sister and I have always had contrasting natures. However, my father never pressured me to be more like her, and he didn't expect her to become more like me. My sister had her under-cut hair (she was tom-boyish), actively participated in sports, and helped her father with his housekeeping chores. In contrast, me having long hair and playing with dolls, helping our mother with household tasks. Our father respected and nurtured both of our individual personalities without imposing any gender stereotypes. Encouraging individuality empowers daughters to explore their true potential and build self-confidence based on their authentic identity.
Giving Unwavering Strength That Comes With Unconditional Love
While it's a widely held belief that unconditional love for a child is typically associated with mothers, I can confidently say that fathers possess this remarkable quality as well. Throughout our lives, we don't always align our choices and actions with his expectations, dreams, or desires for us. Despite this, his love remains unwavering and steadfast. Their demonstration of this unconditional love sends a powerful message of unwavering support. Speaking from my own experience, it empowers me and has provided me with the strength to confront and overcome the various challenges I've encountered along my journey.
Views expressed are the author's own.
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