I don’t remember if it was in high school or college, but I was asked to introduce myself to my classmates. After I finished speaking, the teacher/professor asked me if I had any siblings and I replied, “No, I am alone.” She immediately corrected me and told me that the right answer was, “No, I am an only child or a single child.” Think about it, in no sense of the word is a child without siblings alone. Unless the child has been through some unfortunate circumstances, he or she will always have the parents, grandparents and extended family to call their own. That explanation made a lasting impression and from then on I have been very conscious about answering the sibling question.
When in school, most of my friends had siblings and they always had the same question for me, “Don’t you get bored at home with no one else to play with?” My standard answer was No because that was the truth. I don’t think I was ever bored or rather I should say that my parents made sure that they were around to keep me company, especially as a young child. Where siblings are concerned, what’s the guarantee that they can become your best buddy anyway? If you’re as lucky as me, you may just ending up having cousins and friends who are as close or even closer than a sibling could ever have been.
Sadhguru often says, “If you are alone and you are getting bored, obviously you are in bad company.” Think about it for a moment; if you can’t stand yourself, how will others? Right? I believe I always did and still do keep myself good company. As I grew older, and became more independent, I remember wanting my own room. Luckily, most of the Naval quarters we lived in had an extra room that I could call my own. Imagine my excitement… a room of my own that I could keep as messy as I pleased. You all surely know by now how my rooms would have looked and how my mother’s face would have been every time she saw my overflowing cupboard and scattered desk. Well, that’s for the two Libran (my mother and Mr.P) neat freaks in my life to deal with..let’s move on.
How do I keep myself company, you ask? Well, for the longest of time, books were my constant companions. And that’s something I chide myself for these days, for not reading enough. Anyway, life was simpler those days, there were books, friends, homework, exams, and a handful of TV programs. Moreover, I have always enjoyed being alone. It’s probably a combination of being a Gemini and single child that makes me crave some ‘alone time’ every now and then. It is true even today; there are times when all I want to do is be alone with my thoughts, even if it is for just a little while.
There is a very common notion that single children are spoiled brats — I may be a Navy brat but I am definitely not spoiled (I hope you guys agree ;-)). In my opinion, whether a child grows up to be spoiled or not has very little to do with if he or she is a single child or not. It has a lot to do with the child’s upbringing. If my parents had decided to bring me up like a little princess who could throw a tantrum and get whatever she wanted, I don’t think I would be sitting here writing this today. I say so, because I have seen people with siblings grow up to be the most entitled adults ever. On the contrary, there are many single children who are among the most loving and caring adults I know. Ultimately, the credit should go to the parents for having brought up their only child well. Hats off to them and to all the parents out there who are trying their best to give their children the best upbringing possible.
And of course, CHEERS to all the ‘single’ children out there. “We are so freaking awesome, that our parents needed only one.” We rock!