Given that I am a Personal Branding Strategist, Coach and Trainer, many of my followers, fans and friends automatically assume that when my children are born, they are going to be the luckiest children in the world.
Most of them even assume that because I read so many books, listen to so many educational programs, and constantly update myself with knowledge — I will ensure that my children get the best education, access to the best training programs and get the world best mentoring program ever made.
However, no one knows that I do not wish to give my children any of the above. In fact, many of them get shocked when I let them know that my children will suffer.
So what do I mean by the statement ‘My children will suffer?’
First, let me tell you a few bits about myself and my wife.
- We come from very poor and humble backgrounds where I my roots belong to a village in Mangalore, India while my wife hails from Ubon Ratchathani, Thailand.
- Even though my parents moved to Dubai, UAE in the early 70’s — we were predominately farmers. My wife on the other hand was a farmer until we got married and she moved in with me.
- Even though I was in Dubai, UAE for 40 years, I finally moved to Thailand and today I live a very simple life in a forest in Koh Samui with my wife.
Now, almost everyone assumes that because I am a technology enthusiast and read the latest where education, training & development is concerned (I also train people), that I will ensure my children are made into the “Perfect Solider” so to speak.
In fact, even my own wife assumed this.
However, when we sat down to talk one day, with my wife in her 1st trimester — I let her know my plan for our upcoming child.
Her eye got wide open as she repeated the word “Farming???” with a thousand confused question circling her head.
Our child will not only be a farmer, I want our baby to work with your mother in the farm in the heat, sleep on the cold unforgiving floor and live exactly how your mother and father live — in poverty, simplicity & with hardships.
In fact, I want our baby to do exactly what you used to do when you were small — to wake up every morning at 5am and do the house work for the family, then go to school, then come back have food and go to the farm to help the elders. And evening after a little bit of fun and games, to eat the simple food with the family (Thai farmers sit on the floor and eat with food kept right in the center — they share food with one another) and then after saying their prayers — they go to sleep.
There is no air-conditioner, there is no soft bedding, there is no comfortable settings. Just life as it is.
Once a week, the children are given their luxurious treat — an ice lolly or a bag of crisps. And during their weekend — they are allowed to play with the other children.
I want my child to suffer the hardships and the realities of life and learn to be strong through these realities. In fact, I myself spend a few weeks every year — staying in the house of my-in-laws where I sleep on the floor, I ensure no air-conditioner, I eat the simple food that they eat (sticky rice, curry and forest vegetables hand-picked) and I go and work in the hot sun with the family (although I am unable to survive for more than 30 minutes — where most of them survive for 8 to 12 hours at a stretch.
The reason I do this?
I do not want to forget my roots.
I do not wish to forget where I came from.
I do not want to forget who I am — A nothing, a nobody and a no one.
Sometimes, with all the money, the success, the luxury and the pleasures of life, we tend to forget our roots. I have seen this time in and again with so many people. In fact, I do not have to look very further than my own parents — who came from very humble beginnings, lost sight of who they were and what they were supposed to do and then as time progressed they sank into the pleasures and temptations of this world, where their ego, their pride, their ignorance and arrogance blinded them to the point of complete and utter destruction. And I will not allow both myself and my child-to-be (or children) to slip down that slippery slope.
I still remember my wife’s expression as she looked at me surprised with my answer. She is only 26 so she finds my logical lectures a bit too far fetched. But she understands where I come from.
You see, me as a parent, I will give my children food, clothing, shelter and education. However, beyond that — anything and everything — from having the luxuries of life to even having a smartphone — is an absolute NO!
I will never compliment my child, I will never praise my child, I will never pamper my child and I will sure as hell never make my child’s life easy. He or She will face the toughest realities life has to offer. And I will make sure I give them, the real education of life. Because in the end, they will be like their father — An academically uneducated villager but with a Ph.D from the school of suffering, pain, street smart and hard knocks.
“Character cannot be developed in ease and quiet. Only through experience of trial and suffering can the soul be strengthened, ambition inspired, and success achieved.”