Have you watched the news reports on the elections in various countries? In general, a large voter turnout denotes a responsible and mature population. Each drop counts to make an ocean. Every child of today can probably make wonders in the world of tomorrow. What is our role in this period of evolution? Tremendous, in fact!
We need to start early — really soon , even before the baby could start to speak, can you believe that? All of us adore our little babies, true, but we tend to translate our love into baby talk. Commonly used words are affectionately replaced by meaningless blabbering. Though this evokes giggles, fun and laughter in the beginning, it is important that we stop this baby talk for two reasons:
1. We are limiting the child’s growing vocabulary.
2. We are limiting the child’s socializing abilities as he understands only the close family’s way of communicating.
A little later, when the baby is able to move about inside the house, most of us place precious objects out of his reach. We feel that both (the baby and the breakable object) are safe. Instead, we could talk to the baby that such things should be handled in a safe manner and we could help him keep them away. This way,
We are building trust in him.
We are stopping his urge to reach the object, experiment or destroy it.
Feeding the child is a challenge at every meal. Some of us take the shortest route to finish off this tough task:
We frighten the child (“I’ll call the Police”, “The ghost will catch you”,” I won’t take you off from the top of the fridge.”)
We say lies or bribe him (“When you finish this cup of milk, you will be as tall as I am”, “If you finish eating, I will get you a chocolate bar.”)
Instead, we may tell him stories or engage him in joyful activities or play simple games to encourage him to eat. When WE don’t cheat, the child would trust us. Trust begets the sense of responsibility.
As the child grows up, several traps lay before him: television, video games, junk food, bad company, Internet… We cannot be his watchdog at every moment. Nor can we afford to lose sleep over his growing years and end up feeling guilty about the miscalculated upbringing. I suggest a few simple tips:
Be available for your child ALWAYS and don’t ignore him just because he is a kid.
Ask for his opinion in simple matters. (For example — ‘does the soup taste good?’ ‘Do your new shoes hurt?’, ‘Shall we eat the dinner after watching the ‘Zoo’ program on the TV?’) Respect his reasonable feelings, especially his sense of security.
Most important — whenever you speak to him, meet his eyes.
A few years from now, the bonding bridge that you have painstakingly built will become a landmark in your family and the society at large. Your young one’s maturity is the mark of a well-balanced adult: Thanks to your efforts .
This time around, I invite you to go crazy, imagining silly, stupid, weird possibilities: Snowing on a peak summer afternoon, Plucking bunches of milk packets growing on a short bushy tree, Wearing a pair of shoes which simply take-off like an aircraft… Strange thing to do, you think?
Well, recently I was speaking to an Agricultural Scientist, when he told me about a similar fact. We are under the impression that the seeds of the same mango tree, when planted, grow up into trees that would bear fruits of the same kind, that of the parent tree. The scientist says that we are wrong. “The flowers of the tree are pollinated by different insects at different moments, influencing the nature of the seed within each fruit”, he said.
That set me pondering about today’s children who would be adults tomorrow. What are we doing to them and how would that influence their attitude and nature? It’s now time I share a wonderful thing I came across recently:
CHILDREN LEARN WHAT THEY LIVE
If a child lives with criticism, He learns to condemn.
If a child lives with hostility, He learns to fight.
If a child lives with ridicule, He learns to be shy.
If a child lives with shame, He learns to be guilty
If a child lives with tolerance, He learns to be patient.
If a child lives with encouragement, He learns confidence.
If a child lives with praise, He learns to appreciate.
If a child lives with fairness, He learns justice.
If a child lives with security, He learns to have faith.
If a child lives with approval, He learns to like himself.
If a child lives with acceptance and friendship,
HE LEARNS TO FIND LOVE IN THE WORLD.
An eye-opener, indeed. From now on, you and I, we can tell others, “Show me your child, I’ll tell who you are.” (And WE can now find out who WE ARE, too!)
Several years ago there was a terrible press report about a murder in a posh apartment in Mumbai. A little boy of about 7 years had the habit of playing a regular prank with his mother. Every evening, when he returned from school, he took the lift to reach his floor. Upon reaching his apartment, he used to ring the door bell repeatedly, and then nagging the lift-operator to carry him, the little fellow would cover the peep-hole fixed on the door with his palm, excitedly. He wanted to ‘surprise’ his mother every evening, presumably by not letting her see him before opening the door. Laughter and excitement usually followed and were soon forgotten… only till the next evening.
The horrendous thing happened one evening. The lift-operator himself played the prank- ringing the doorbell several times and covering the peep-hole. The woman opened without a second thought, thoroughly convinced that her son was back home. But what actually happened is now anybody’s guess.
Come to think of it, the life could’ve been saved and things could’ve been normal in that family. How? If the mother had nipped the habit at the very beginning. ‘Love is blind’ some say. But in this case, love turned to be the killer – just because it was blind.
You and I, we all tend to commit such grave mistakes too often, yes! We call it ‘pampering’, as long as there are no side effects. Well, anything in excess is injurious and parental love is no exception! Let us do some introspection in a few situations: With the child by our side, don’t we (not frequently, of course) –
over speed in our vehicle so as to reach in time?
stuff him with his favorite junk food so as to quieten him?
put him before the TV and peacefully finish off our personal (urgent) work?
talk ill about someone known to him and still expect him to respect that person?
let him play with expensive and breakable things, just because we are in an extremely happy mood?
ignore the pile of leftovers in his plate, simply because we are in a hurry to go out?
bribe him with goodies in order to hide our mistakes?
forego some very important routines (like putting off the lights when leaving the room) as we are too tired?
tolerate his undisciplined conduct lest he would scream and bring the roof down?
allow him to watch the TV late into the night saying “anyway tomorrow is a holiday”?
“Arise, awake, stop not till the goal is reached!” said Swami Vivekananda, the great Hindu missionary of India. Let us wake up, too, to these small details of child-upbringing. Very soon, your child’s school, society and later the world at large will shower admiration and praise for you by awarding him a commendable rank.
Enjoy these unique years of innocence and happiness and turn them into a lasting era of parental Bliss.