Read this when you miss me the most, said mother to a teary eyed Sam. It was Sam’s first day at boarding school and for the 13 year old it was incomprehensible to live without his parents. They’d had long discussions over months on this and Sam knew what was coming next in his life but on the day of reckoning he could not hold back his tears. Slowly and unwillingly he walked into his new world.
That night was the toughest for Sam. In his living memory he had never spent a day away from his parents and in that silent dorm room he decided to open the letter his mother had given him. He did miss her the most right now.


My Little Sam,

Today you’ve taken the first step into the path of becoming an adult. I say today because I know you’ll miss us the most tonight and you won’t hesitate in opening the envelope to read this.
Well my boy congratulations! You are on the path of making choices on your own. We will be there for you always but life’s journey is a path that needs to be walked alone. While walking you will come across people who are or will become near and dear to you, people or situations you would not want to change because you will think that these changes will bring about unimaginable situations in your life. These are those changes that you will always be scared about.

We, your parents brought you into this world, held your hand when you took your first steps, we tried to understand your first words and we became your world as you became ours. This was the first stage in your life, we tried to make you see the world through our eyes. You grew up thinking that without us you would not survive. It is a part of growing up where the kid needs to be made strong for the world and I hope we have made you strong.

But with passing years, situations change and it is only prudent that we also change. That brings me to the present stage that you will live for the next few years now.

My son when changes happen be sure to ask three things in life ‘Why’, ‘When’, ‘What’. Ask yourself ‘Why’ these changes are happening in your life, Pay attention to ‘When’ in life these changes are happening and find out ‘What’ is going to be the impact of these changes on the future. Let me explain this putting your current situation in light.

In ancient times we had the Gurukul system of education where the kids were sent off to an ashram to live and study till they were adult and mature enough to deal with the world. It was not because the parents did not want to be responsible for the kids, trust me it pains the parents equally to be separated from the child. They did so because what a teacher can give a student, a parent can never give their own child. For parents the child will always need protection from the world and this leads to dependency while a teacher teaches discipline being strict which i don’t think most parents can do. After all their child is a piece from them – an extension of their existence.

Now the world you are going to be exposed to is not a world where people around you will love you unconditionally. Now people will love and respect you only if you earn it in their eyes. That is why you need this change son…to start learning independence and responsibility.

This brings me to my next point of When. You must pay attention at what point in life the change is happening. My son, change will happen in life whether you like it or not, the wise ones grasp it at the right time and the fools delay it till the inevitable, at which point it is harder to grasp the change. Again I will put it in your current perspective, you my boy are in that age where only a teacher can teach you more about the world in an unbiased way. We have held your hand, taught you to walk, and to talk, showed you ways to behave in this world but it was just the beginning. The torch of your further learning must now pass on to an outsider, an expert who will harden you in the ways of life in ways which we cannot, due to the unbiased love we have for you. You have come into puberty now and with the changes in your physical body your mind is changing too and the longer you delay this change the harder it is going to get for you in life. Remember what I said in the beginning…you ultimately have to walk alone.

What, was my next point. How these changes going to affect your life? This my son, totally on you. No one can say what effect these changes are going to have on your life. It is totally up to you how you handle this change. People can guide you but it’s finally up to you to make it good or bad, to be the candle or the night is your choice my son. If you can understand the Why and When, you will get the answer to the What.

My little boy! to us you will always be the little toddler we held, so in order to grow up we want this for you. Now the choice is really up to you, if you want to come back resisting this change we are happy to have you back but remember even the mighty dinosaurs were wiped out because they could not change with time. There are so many other examples of such extinction of species in history and we humans have only been able to survive because of our ability to adapt and change.
Rest my son, is totally up to you.

Sam folded the letter carefully and kept it away. He’ll keep going back to it, not because he missed his mother but because this was his first lesson in growing up.

– Sumit Banerjee