Are you raising your children to be independent?

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I am pleased to share a compelling video about raising kids by Prof. Dr. Javed Iqbal; it is in Urdu/Hindi language. He talks about raising responsible, independent kids.

Let me share some of my experiences. Both of my kids had to make their beds every morning before they get their breakfast. I had a clipboard with a checklist for making the bed and keeping their room clean. We walked, and there was always a reward for higher scores and no compensation for lower scores.  My kids did not like it at that time, but I enjoyed it when my son told me the difficulties, he had with a roommate during college who would pile up dishes in the sink; finally, he moved in with a roommate who kept the place clean.  It was a joy when my daughter corrected me in making my bed, the sheet outside the bed was not straight, and I loved it. They are responsible kids.

Thanks to Ella, my ex-wife, who was determined to teach our kids the value of independence. Both of them moved out and went on their own as adults. My son bought his first home when he was 21, and refused to take down payment from me – he said, Dad, it is your money, you keep it. Neither kids wanted funds from us, even when I tried to give ‘Edi’ – that is a tiny gift paid to family members on festivals, they resisted, but then reluctantly accepted it as it was my tradition.  

I am proud of my kids when I croak my insurance money is going to fund the Center for Pluralism, and some of it will go to my family members. They want to earn and live with their own monies. That is a lot of self-respect! I am glad, Center for Pluralism is my lifetime commitment.

 I had a habit of rewarding my girl when she scored all A’s. One day she said she thought she made all A’s. I jumped and handed her a $20.00 bill for the four courses in high school. Later that evening, she returned an envelope with $5 in it with a note, “Dad, I scored A’s in three and not the four.” I loved her accountability. 

We also taught them gender-free work; that is, there is work at home; whoever is free must do it.  A few months ago, I saw that translated by my son.

 When his kids were fighting about toys, my son taught them that the toys belong to the family and that we share—what a beautiful lesson. Like my father did to me, he is doing to his kids – never scream, yell, or spank, but reason with them.

During Ramadan, in my childhood, the whole family got up at 4 AM, and each of us, mother, father, four boys, and the girl, was involved in preparing the breakfast (Sahri) meal by 5 AM. The sense of togetherness was a beautiful experience to cherish for a lifetime. 

Dr. Iqbal’s story is identical to mine – We did have domestic help, despite that, I washed my clothes and even went to the Yelahanka Lake and washed the clothes on the granite slabs on the edge of the shallow lake. 

I was a fanatic about cleaning, even though the cleaning lady would come regularly, I had to clean by bolting the front and back door and wash the cement floors. My father was not happy at times, as I did not allow anyone inside until the floor was dry. We keep our place clean even today.

Never can I forget the embarrassment we felt when Mohan and Sujatha came home, who are were clean freaks as well. She casually placed her finger on the top fireplace mantle and saw little dust on her finger, my late wife and I noticed it, and were embarrassed to no end. Thanks to them, every Saturday, I clean every piece in my place.

One the front of prejudice, the biggest joy of my life is seeing my kids are prejudice-free. While they were little kids, I took them to every place of worship bar none. I did not want my kids to grow up and be biased towards any human being of any faith, race, or ethnicity. I am satisfied with my life and will continue to write pieces on raising kids. Of course, I have made mistakes, regretted them, and have apologized to my kids.

I feel sad, so many parents not only die with their hatred for others but also attempt to dump that sewage on their children.  

Please treat your children with dignity if you want them to treat you with dignity. As adults, we are equal.  Listen to them, and you will be amazed at how much they knew about life. Indeed, by listening to them, I learn from them. Raise your children as you wish them to be and walk the talk. A lot of joy is waiting for you.

Dr. Mike Ghouse is the founder and president of the Center for Pluralism. He is a motivational speaker, thinker, author, community consultant, pluralist, activist, newsmaker, and an interfaith wedding officiant. Mike is deeply committed to Free speech, Human Rights, and Pluralism in Religion, Politics, Societies, and the workplace. He has dedicated his life to building cohesive societies and offers pluralistic solutions to the media and the policymakers. More about him at

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