Short story – Praise

In a small village, there used to live a family of poets. The father had learned poetry from his ancestors and was very well known in the nearby places! He started teaching his son poetry from when he was young.

The son was a very good student and started learning the concepts well. He used to accompany his father to all his recitals and yearned to be respected like his father. He loved to write and his poetry and his father started teaching him from his young age.

Slowly and steadily, the son grew up and chose to follow his father & become a poet. He started writing and was invited to recitals. He was being appreciated by the locals in the village. He published a book and was accoladed for his poetry.

He always looked to impress his father, and that seemed near impossible. His father had never praised him even once for his writing – neither his style nor content. When he was accoladed for his book and his father did not appreciate him even a bit, he decided that his father was not appreciating him because he was jealous of his son’s growth.

As the days turned into years, this thought seemed to have created a rift in their relationship. Although his mother could not bridge the gap, she knew his father loved him very much, yet was not willing to have a conversation about this with his son.

After a decade, the son comes home and decides he would climb on the roof and throw a heavy rock on his father and hurt him badly to vent out his anger. He climbs up the roof of his house and at that time, he gets to listen to his parents having a conversation about him. He chooses to listen before hurling the rock.

His mother asks his father – “You know your son waits for you to praise him, why do you never say anything to appreciate him? Do you think his work is not good, or is there a flaw that he needs to correct? He years for your praise and you do not seem to care about it at all. Why is that so?”

His father smiles and responds – “When a mother praises the child, the child feels happy. When a father praises the child, his growth stops there. I know he wants to impress me and if I praise him, he would stop growing and expanding his skills to reach a wider audience. His writing is good, and that is why he is a good poet. However, there is one flaw in his poems – he does not have humility. Someone who writes needs to have humility, and he lacks it very badly. I am waiting for the day when he realizes and asks me what should he improve about himself as a poet and I will tell him.”

The son hears this from the roof top and with tears filling his eyes, comes and hugs his father. Understanding someone’s perspective was not something he was used to. He was always writing about himself and his emotions. He needed to learn to appreciate others, their perspectives, emotions and sentiments. He decided to learn it from his father and explore himself.

Only those who care for us, point out our flaws and mistakes. We get to learn from them to improve and grow. If we are surrounded by people who keep praising us, do realize that our growth may be stunted pretty soon.

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