Promise me son not to do the things I’ve done…

The Daily Prompt:  Well, I Never…
“Tell us about something you’ve done that you would advise a friend never to do.”

~~~

That way I have a list of things that I’ve done that I would advise a friend or a relative never to do.

One can give suggestions but most people learn from experience. What works for one person may not work for the other. This is especially true about career, love and relationship issues. Moreover, what is wrong for me may not be wrong in the eyes of others.

Many years ago I didn’t want to migrate out of my birth country. Not just because of love for India, as I was born and brought up there and I had some duty towards that developing country. Not also because I do not love Australia…a truly wonderful country with genuine unpretentious people. But mainly because I don’t like divided loyalties.

I had other apprehensions too. A migrant’s future generations become mixed souls, with no true belonging whatsoever. Either they become perpetually confused, being sandwiched between two cultures, or else, as I have recently observed in some migrants from my own family, they start taking extreme pride only in their new found identity of being an Australian, as if they never even had a different birth country ever. This could be due to pressure to conform.

But anytime I have advised others not to migrate, they did not listen. They come here, they proudly take Australian citizenship within two years while continuing to (pretend as if they) love their home countries. Thus they have no qualms about divided loyalties or confused identities; qualms that I had. Probably I was and still am wrong, as this is the trend of the day, the essential realities of a globalized world.

Therefore, take advice from others, follow it if it sounds genuine, esp. if this advice comes from a wise and trustworthy person. But also listen to your own heart and brain. Act according to the demands of time, situation and environment.

Listen to ‘Coward of the County’ by Kenny Rogers:

His dad asked him:
   “Promise me, son, not to do the things I’ve done
   Walk away from trouble if you can
   It won’t mean you’re weak if you turn the other cheek
   I hope you’re old enough to understand
   Son, you don’t have to fight to be a man”

But his own experiences taught him otherwise…till finally he said:
   “I promised you, Dad, not to do the things you’ve done
   I walk away from trouble when I can
   Now please don’t think I’m weak, I didn’t turn the other cheek
   And Papa, I should hope you understand
   Sometimes you gotta fight when you’re a man”

~~~

Kenny Roger’s another song ‘The Gambler‘ also also has good lyrics:

Our life has many situations requiring gambling and risk-taking. These suggestions are good.

If you’re gonna play the game, boy
You gotta learn to play it right

You’ve got to know when to hold them
Know when to fold them
Know when to walk away
And know when to run.
You never count your money
When you’re sitting at the table
There’ll be time enough for counting
When the dealing’s done

Every gambler knows
That the secret to surviving
Is knowing what to throw away
And knowing what to keep.
‘Cause every hand’s a winner
And every hand’s a loser
And the best that you can hope for is to die
In your sleep”

11 thoughts on “Promise me son not to do the things I’ve done…

  1. Amazing insight Alka and such sane advice. I can feel a mother’s heart divided between wanting to tell her son to go back to his roots and also wanting to tell him to stay on in his host country for the various advantages it offers him. All I can say is you have control only of your life. If you feel the strings pull so strong, go back- don’t hesitate for of course, the mother land is the best land of all.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks Susie! It’s true I didn’t want to settle anywhere outside India and I was not even charmed by financial gains. But now we’ve stayed here for so long, that while we live here we ought to have greater loyalty for Australia. That doesn’t mean we can’t do something for India. One can go back and serve off and on.
      When we bring a baby to a new land, we give him/her a new identity. Moreover my son has a mind of a global citizen. Even with his love for both Australia and India, he will never be tied down by one country 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks Maniparna! My feelings apply on most lives. My son is also included in this. We really want to belong to one place and feel secure. But progress often requires us to spread our wings. So we can’t confine our children to one place 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  2. This is a great response to the prompt, Alka. “divided loyalties”. You summed up the migrant experience very nicely. Often people move to a new country in search of a better, more efficient life. Sometimes they move out of desperation too if they can afford it. Although I’m Australian, I’ve lived in Asia for a decade and a lot of the time feel like moving back. The notion of “home” and “belonging” is foreign to me since there are contrasting parts and values of the Eastern and Western world that I hold closely to my heart. At the end of the day, I suppose I have to make the best of both worlds and see the positives to both cultures 🙂

    Like

    • Thanks Mabel! Yes everybody has a different reason for migrating to another country. Actually speaking, in this global era, it’s all too common and my sentimental post will not even make much sense to many migrants. I can relate to your feelings about moving back as well as not being able to have any notions of belonging. People who want to move back should do it at the earliest possible and then be happy about their decision. But if that’s not feasible then as you say, the best thing is to make the best of both worlds esp. as Australia is so multicultural anyway. Everybody is a migrant here except the Aboriginals 🙂

      Like

      • “People who want to move back should do it at the earliest possible.” Such an interesting thought…one that I agree with. The longer you stay in a place, the more you get used to life there, and the more chances of you calling it home at some point.

        Liked by 1 person

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