Learn to accept people for who they are. Don’t try to get them to fit into your idea of who you want them to be. Expecting people to be any different from what they are is a sure way of making yourself miserable. This particularly applies in a family context where people despite all the closeness still have some very different ways of thinking and living. Maturity demands that in such situations you simply let people be.
Yesterday a friend of mine said he was having serious challenges in “controlling” his 18-year-old son. The boy apparently had little interest in academics. And his parents’ paranoia was only making him more rebellious. I told my friend that the problem lay in him trying to “control” his son. I have found that as children grow up to be young adults, parents too must grow up. We have to recognize that our ‘kids’, when they are young adults, don’t need us to support or protect them. What they expect from us is that we respect their integrity, their intellect and their privacy. Being available to them is what they will value more than being there all the time all over, and around, them!
I have another friend who has a pretty interesting way of dealing with diversity in his immediate circle. Within his family, he has told everyone that they are free to do whatever they want as long as they don’t interfere with whatever he is doing. Everyone meets every quarter and reviews this arrangement in a mature manner and if there are new agreements to be arrived at, they do draw them up. Result: there’s complete peace and harmony even as people do their own stuff. For instance, my friend is either out trekking or racing in car rallies, while his wife undertakes pilgrimages even as she runs a business, and his children are busy building their own careers having chosen their companions without having to toe a ‘family’ line. The family does converge on common vacation times annually or simply gets together some weekends to goof off. But they do it more as friends than as people having to live under the influence or shadow of each other.
People, including children, don’t need to, and can’t, be controlled. They can only be conversed with. You can share a point of view. Either there can be agreement or disagreement. If you disagree, fine, agree to do so. Recognize that it is perfectly fine to disagree. Just don’t grieve over the disagreement.
Let’s celebrate the diversity in people around us. This celebration is what will make living a pleasant experience!