We live in times when many people believe in showcasing their riches through their expensive dresses or luxury. In midst of such people, it is a blessing to have Sudha Murthy & Narayan Murthy who believe values are more important than money. The couple is definitely a role model that our society needs to curb its unruly obsession with money.
From time to time, Sudha Murthy has showcased how money hasn’t changed her values at all. So, it wasn’t surprising at all when, during an event, she advised parents to raise their child with virtues of simplicity and values.
In 2017, she visited the Jamnabai Narsee Campus in Mumbai for an interaction session with the students as well as their parents. A piece of very insightful advice to parents surfaced during the question-answer rounds.
While talking about how to raise kids with values, she spoke about an incident when her son wanted to host a birthday party in a five-star hotel when he was young. But, how she refused to give him permission shows what we parents need to seek inspiration from.
Sharing the incident, she mentioned how her son, Rohan, went to a friend’s birthday party in a five-star hotel and wanted to the same for his. While explaining it to Rohan why he can’t throw a party, she mentioned:
“How much will it cost, let us talk about it. Each child, let us take, INR 1000. You call 50 people, your call. How much it cost? 50 X 1000 is how much? Rs. 50,000!
There was a person who used to come and drive our car. I said, “He has two children. They are as bright as you are. Their school fees, probably in those day, Rs. 10,000. If you give Rs. 20,000 to them, they can go to a better school, beta.”
The way she explained to her son that the amount he would spend on a lavish party could help provide better education to many impoverished children, including her own driver’s children, is the best parenting lesson ever.
She further added:
“For your birthday, I am not denying you shouldn’t do (the celebration) etc. I will buy samosa. I will buy Samosa and… the Mango drink was there – Frooti! I will spend for 50 children plus our driver’s children, all together this much money. More than that, I don’t think you should spend because what are you doing is wrong, according to me. Those two children will not go to school, whereas you spend Rs. 50,000.”
Even when her kids turned into teenagers, she had similar discussions with them as she wanted to teach them the importance of equality, hard work, and hard-earned money.
In the times, when many parents tend to buy their kids expensive gadgets and toys, what Sudha Murthy said next is what every parent need to tell their kids:
“I would have been unhappy — this is my subjective opinion —if he spends so much money on a birthday, which comes every year. Why waste that kind of money?
We are ordinary people. Let us not think we are too great… You should bring this idea with your children, “Look, my child, you are ordinary. Just because your father has money, or I have money, you are not extraordinary.”
In the end, she mentioned how her son, when he was studying at Cornell, remembered her teachings, and told her that he was proud of the way she had raised him. He mentioned:
“When he (Rohan) was in Cornell, he wrote to me, and I have that email even today. He wrote, “Every mother looks after her child. But I am proud my mother looked after someone’s children.”
Sudha Murthy has raised her kids with the importance of sharing wealth with others and being sensitive to the needs of those less fortunate than you. Hence, it wasn’t surprising at all when Rohan contributed a nominal amount that he won in a scholarship for the jawans (soldiers) who sacrificed their lives in the 2001 parliament attack.