A Shorter Walk in the Hindu Mountains

20 November to 22 December 1990

Trek - Day 7

Trekking Truism: If you arrive at a village which corresponds to where you think you are on the map, you are not where you think you are.

1991: 30 November, Tehrathum, the Himalaya

…The porters seemed to differ in the way they saw the parenting role. Chandra believed that children must be civilised and fully support the community, whereas Subash saw things very differently. He believed children should test the boundaries of their environment for them to become free spirits. Nadur felt the parenting role was to help children to learn and become progressively self-reliant in handling life's many challenges. While Ratna simply strove for his children to have a positive self-image. Overall, both Ratna and Chandra saw the parent to child relationship as more of a "senior" to a "junior", in contrast to Subash and Nadur who saw it as one of equals, more like a brotherly or sisterly relationship.

I was beginning to believe that it was important to combine their different approaches. Early in a child's life it was Ratna's building of self-esteem, then Subash's testing of the boundaries, next Nadur's self reliance (taking responsibility for oneself) and finally Chandra's civilisation (taking responsibility for others). The difficulty appears to be that as parents we favour one of these and too easily use the same approach throughout our children's life. If there is "compassion with a purpose" then it is parenting, and nature has a funny habit of making sure that the children favour a different Room to the one their parent prefers.