And the criterion is that the real parents will give freedom. They will not impose themselves upon the child, they will not encroach upon his space. From the very beginning their effort will be to help the child to be himself or to be herself. They are to support, they are to strengthen, they are to nourish, but not to impose their ideas, not to give the shoulds and should-nots. They are not to create slaves.
But that’s what parents all over the world go on doing: their whole effort is to fulfill their ambitions through the child. Of course nobody has been ever able to fulfill his ambitions, so every parent is in a turmoil. He knows the death is coming close by every day, he can feel the death is growing bigger and bigger and life is shrinking, and his ambitions are still unfulfilled, his desires are still not realized. He knows that he has been a failure. He is perfectly aware that he will die with empty hands – just the way he had come, with empty hands, he will go.
Now his whole effort is how to implant his ambitions into the child. He will be gone, but the child will live according to him. What he has not been able to do, the child will be able to do. At least through the child he will fulfill certain dreams.
It is not going to happen. All that is going to happen is the child will remain unfulfilled as the parent and the child will go on doing the same to his children. This goes on and on from one generation to another generation. We go on giving our diseases; we go on infecting children with our ideas which have not proved valid in our own lives.
Somebody has lived as a Christian, and his life can show that no bliss has happened through it. Somebody had lived like a Hindu and you can see that his life is a hell but he wants his children to be Hindus or Christians or Mohammedans. How unconscious man is!
I have heard:
A very sad, mournful man visited a doctor in London. Seating himself in a chair in the waiting room and glumly ignoring the other patients he awaited his turn. Finally the doctor motioned him into the inner office where after a careful examination the man appeared even more serious, sad and miserable than ever.
“There’s nothing really the matter with you,” explained the doctor, “you are merely depressed. What you need is to forget your work and your worries. Go out and see a Charlie Chaplin movie and have a good laugh!”
A sad look spread over the little man’s face. “But I am Charlie Chaplin!” he said.