(This article appeared first on http://www.mycity4kids.com on 26th April 2017)

It is not easy being a strong independent opinionated woman.

Society always tells its kids (boys or girls) not to “stand out”. Spaghetti tops get more eve teasing. Cant you wear a normal top? Girls who are chatty with boys are giving out a signal that you are available. Cant you be like the other girls? Boys who wear a pink scarf will always be laughed at. Cant you just put a grey thing around your neck?

Conform, conform , conform. We are always taught to conform or else we shall be attracting unwanted attention.

It is this “not fitting into a set mould” about strong independent opinionated women that gets them such harsh treatment from the society. However there is a little caveat here. Being strong doesn’t mean bullying anybody. Being independent doesn’t mean being apathetic or nonchalant towards others people’s need. Similarly being opinionated doesn’t mean that you are always right.

A SIOW (strong independent opinionated woman) is at ease with herself. She is a great listener because it is through observation and listening that she derives the knowledge and ability to analyze situations life throws at her. She is not the one who wins all arguments or has the last laugh. She knows she is always in learning mode and is not eager to defeat anyone in anyway. She has no fear in her heart or shame in her eyes because she does no wrong to anybody. She lives by her own rules. She tries not to hurt anybody by doing so. If she makes a mistake on her way she is humble to apologize and courageous enough to do her time. She has a right to opinion because she has lived her life on her terms and not what she was told or taught to do. Yet she is accommodating and accepting of other peoples’ beliefs because she knows how important it is to live by ones’ own beliefs. She has experimented with things that she did not understand. She has questioned stuff that doesn’t seem right to her. She has abandoned baggage that she felt is unnecessary. A SIOW may be many things but what she is not is a slave. She is not a slave to anyone. Not to society. Not to any of its establishments. Not to the people in it and definitely not to all the synthetic outcomes people in the society have made up over the years like religion, rituals, societal norms etc.

Many people who read the description of a SIOW as I just described above are already painting her to be a pain in the ass, non-relenting, difficult woman who would probably be even a divorcee. Actually..not probably…SURELY a divorcee. Who will want to stay with such a woman?

And that’s why it is so difficult to be a SIOW in the first place. You get a lot of flak from society. There are miniscule amount of men who can truly love and accept a SIOW and I think even more miniscule amount of women who like a SIOW.

Yet SIOWs are what we need if we need to build a better world. Women not only give birth to the individuals who form a society they also have the power to mould a society. The way a SIOW raises a child is really healthy. The child is independent, has a thinking mind, questions things around him/ her and doesn’t give in to popular practise and beliefs just for the heck of it.

Think of all the revolutionaries you know and adore. Mahatma Gandhi, Raja RamMohun Roy, Mother Teresa,Swami Vivekanand, Suu Kyi. Name any revolutionary and you will see the traits of a strong independent and opinionated person who had the courage to question society and the will power to transform it.  Forget big names. The girls who refuse to marry where there is a dowry demand are transformers of the society too. The boys who don’t look at girls in western clothes as bait are transformers of the society too. The couple who doesn’t care about religion before falling in love are transformers of the society too. Their thinking is beyond silly things. They see people for who they are not on what they wear, eat or pray to.

A hindi proverb says “Honhaar birvaan ke hoth cheekne paat.” This means that a precious child shows his traits early in life. If you read the biography of any great revolutionary, a common trait among all is that these agents of transformation showed immense courage from childhood itself. And a lot had to do with them having strong mothers.

Hence being a SIO mother is extremely important in raising kids who can bring about a positive change in society and the world. Learn to be strong no matter what the society says. It is surely difficult. Your family and your kids will also have to hear a lot of stuff being said about you. But in the end you will have the satisfaction of living a life on your terms and also do immense service to the society by raising a strong independent kid too.

So mommies have a thinking mind. Raise kids with thinking and questioning capacity. Remember that when you die everything dies with you. Your heart, lungs, kidney stop functioning. Your clothes remain where they were. Your bank balance also becomes just a set of numbers. But not your mind. Your ideas and your thoughts are passed down and remembered years after you are gone. They impact your kids decades after you die. So raise your mind to be strong. It shall have the maximum impact on your kids and hence the world.

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