Parenting: an art or a science?

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What is Art?

Art is defined as an expression of the self. Any action can be made into an art, be it dancing, painting, music, drama, cooking or even certain mundane activities like sweeping, talking, driving, doing business etc. It is a spontaneous expression of one’s self and hence it is unique at any given time. For example, you may cook every day but the instinct to do it differently or creatively makes for a new taste. Same is the experience for a musician. Each time he sings, it is a new experience with a new flavour.

What is science?

Science can be defined as that which even when repeated over and over again under controlled conditions produces similar results. It’s where the creation of a particular environment leads to the same conclusively proven results of the hypotheses.

One who can convert an inner experience into science is called a rishi, for example, Poojya Guruji Shri Rishi Prabhakarji. A lot of people, including all great saints, have experienced the state of samadhi in the past, but it was Poojya Guruji who gave it a scientific basis and introduced it through the SSY (see Sec.VIII, Appendix.7) programme.

PARENTING: AN ART OR A SCIENCE?

With children, one feels that every time one handles a child, it is a different experience. One formula works for some time and suddenly it ceases to have an effect and the child does not respond as well as he or she had responded in an earlier situation when it had worked very well.

This book provides various examples and aspects of handling children. Some may work beautifully in a given situation at one point of time and not so well in the same situation at another point of time. Some may work in a different situation and sometimes not in the situation that it has worked in earlier. Sometimes, it may provide no results after days of efforts and suddenly, when you least expect it, it may start deriving fantastic results. Some may not work at all. But, surely, some tip, somewhere, will definitely come in handy.

From this, one may conclude that parenting is an art, because every time you handle the child, you have to do it differently. You have to be flowing in creativity and spontaneity to change the tried and tested formulae when they do not work.

When parenting is practised as an art, it disciplines the child naturally, without any compulsion or force, without getting angry and without adopting any ‘carrot and sticks’ policy.

So, Can We Call It a Science Too?

Well, if parenting is an art, it is a science too — maybe not wholly, but in some measures, definitely. But, I feel, from my experience, it is neither an art nor a science. Art has got its limitations in terms of repeatability and science can always be refuted, as it is forever evolving with new formulae and new hypotheses. Hence, I believe that parenting is neither an art nor a science; parenting is a knack, which comes naturally if you are attuned to the child.

What makes this ‘knack’ so different is that either you know it or you don’t.

The trick lies in being in tune with the child to such a degree that the very thought, the very expression, the very look of the child is observed by the parent so perceptively that the parent is able to make sense of the gestures of the child by just looking at him or her.

A number of mothers are able to experience this very easily.Evenfathers have been seen having the same understanding of their child.

I am one of those fortunate fathers who has experienced this phenomenon. I and my daughter Vedoci have always been absolutely in tune with each other.

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