Moving On

One of the many differences between ours and South Asian families is our attitude to our children moving on. While typically an Indian  or a Japanese family look at someone who leaves the family network to set up on their own as  a failure, we  are the opposite. If a child remains a dependent into their twenties or beyond, for us, this is not a sign of a family’s strength ,but its failure and weakness.

Elsewhere children who disobey their families  over arranged marriages  are treated harshly. Love matches are excommunicated. We long ago exchanged authority for intimacy.

I will never forget my dear Japanese   quasi brother(he lived with my family for twenty years and was a friend for fifty) Haruo Takimoto . As his terminal cancer struck and he endured his long  six month death scene not  one word from his brothers. For he had left  his family to come to England. And although he went home regularly he was out of sight,out of mind and out of heart. Even when, he so desperately needed a last word before he went on his way.

All this came to me  as daughter Adelaide came round and discussed her plans of moving to Australia. She is  thirty,has her own flat,has reached middle management at her ad agency,has come through a long relationship with a good man and is  moving on. She has always wanted to live elsewhere and now she is  buying the ticket and taking the ride. Of course this means seeing her less, but we cheer when our team does well.She is.

I have long seen the modern  intimate relationship of parents with their children in soccer club terms. When they are born you are in the crib,nursery and play pen with them. You are there for their first word,step,go on the slide, kick of the ball. You are a player.

Then they go to school and  you have to step back. They have another life. But you are still close and they are very dependent.  On a whole range of matters you become  the  coach.

They  change, Hormones kick in. Now  the parent has to take off the track suit and realise that all he or she is,is the  loving owner. That is the (soft touch) club director. Parents  should not be heard but just seen writing cheques. You give advice, but it is often ignored ,as a director  you may have financial power but you are no longer part of the playing staff.

And then the final stage, you become a mere spectator. Your  senior position  gives you debenture rights to the best seat in your children’s soap opera, but seat it only is. If you want, you can give money but do not give anything else. For by this stage ,if you have succeeded,you have achieved what  we in the West desire our children to become, an autonomous, independent, responsible adult.

If only it was that easy.

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2 Responses to Moving On

  1. Well done Adi..You always had it in you.No harm is done.There is always a return seat awaiting on Qantas….Nairobi always has a bed for you.x

  2. David and Nina Fangen says:

    Good to be kept in the Thommo Loop. We all need to fledge but that seems a little extreme. I should know as it has happened to us. Bon voyage Addy. From the Fangens.

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