The millennial way to parenting for a better future adult by Abhishek Baxi

Abhishek Baxi is an established tech journalist with published bylines on Forbes, Android Authority, Hindustan Times, and more. A veteran digital consultant and an ex-Microsoft Program Specialist, Baxi has years of experience in the world of technology. But, that’s not all that defines Baxi. On his Twitter profile, Baxi talks rarely about technology. Most of the times, he is fighting off trolls who come at him for his hot takes on poor governance. Baxi is also an outspoken and passionate liberal who pulls no punches.


Evidently, Baxi is a multi-faceted personality. However, while he has written extensively about tech and politics, Baxi has possibly “never” written about parenting before.


I would like to start this article with two disclaimers. One, I am not a parenting expert and with a two-year-old, it is hard to judge if I have been doing a good job or not yet. My thoughts on parenting reflect my personal experiences and what I have learned from what I read.


Second, I don’t know what ‘woke’ means. I understand it refers to being aware of injustices and prejudices in the society but there have been progressive and liberal individuals around me before the label was born.

With these disclaimers aside, I will share a few things that I, along with my wife, take care of while bringing up our boy in a society like India within a global context.


Gender

Pink is for girls, and blue is for boys is the maxim that we decided to junk even before our child was born while we went infant shopping. The colour associations and stereotypes bound a child’s imagination and also plays a ‘us vs them’ in the young minds, especially in a society that reflects chauvinistic masculinity or compromising femininity.

It also makes them struggle to own their sexuality should they grow up to discover their ‘different’ sexual identity or gender fluidity.

Often, people would stereotype behaviours too in the context of gender; ”Don’t cry like a girl” is something we’d often hear around. We’ve tried to take care of those while also correcting friends and family who thrust these gender stereotypes on our child. Clearly, I’m not much fun at the parties.


Religion

I’d like to posture as an atheist but living in a largely religious family and ecosystem, I do engage in religious ceremonies or visits to holy places. I respectfully partake in those shenanigans.

I have a two-pronged approach to religion. I want to create an environment where the child is respectful of all religions and understands the basic tenets of and practices of religions practised around us.

Second, I’d let him choose his indulgence with religion and spirituality. I wouldn’t want to force him with routines, food practices, et al in the name of tradition and religion. I hope he reads up and learns as he goes along and finds his own faith or intellectually chooses to stay away.

And, mind you, any indulgence with religion cannot overwhelm scientific temper. I think this is the only thing I’ll be strict about!


Empathy

Actually, this wasn’t planned. It wasn’t on my list and I don’t know if ‘empathy’ is the right word to put it. Maybe, reality check?

A lot of us grow up unaware of social injustice in society or prejudices against communities and institutions. Our learnings and hence the conditioning is in, well, a bubble. My attempt will be to make him recognize his privileges and the disadvantages faced by others.

A broader societal understanding also helps with one’s political beliefs and how one looks at government policies and one’s rights as well as duties.



There are too many things in my wishlist, really. I hope he’s fond of reading. I’ll prefer if he plays/likes cricket more than football or we have similar music or culinary tastes. These are just me being selfish born out of the need to be more engaged with him as he grows up. Rebel teen stories are everyone’s nightmares!

But the things I listed above would make him a better human being and a socially responsible citizen. In a messed-up world that we have now, we need more of those. Whether he’s a proud Hindu or an amazing Baxi or a patriotic Indian is irrelevant if he’s not, to borrow a brand’s name, being human with a liberal mind and a progressive worldview. Or as the cool kids say, woke enough.






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