Life

It is easier to build strong children than to repair broken men

Post from last year

As the birthday draws closer, you’d think that the maternal instinct would make an appearance by now. It hasn’t. And with good reason. I have not looked at any parent and wanted what they have. I see kids at malls and at church-I do not like what I see. Almost every child I see these days is in want of a generous dose of Vitamin D- discipline. Like all nutrients, it’s good for them in the long run.  This whole new world ‘children are people and need the freedom of expression and choice’ is overrated. They are people in the making, works in progress and it’s up to the parents to create an end product that doesn’t make one question the future of humanity. To be fair, children are only reflections of their parents and the environment in which they’re raised.

Nothing gets my goat more than kids in reality shows. Something Indian parents never tire of. Last I checked the nauseating sexualization of a 5 year old dressed in a 2 piece Ghagra gyrating to ‘chikni chameli’ is no one’s definition of cute.  These kids are probably going to grow up thinking that their bodies are the only potential they have worth exploring. These shows don’t introduce the kids to a career in the musical adaptation of ‘Cats’. These shows are the first step towards an adult going berserk on national TV for their two minutes of fame via a Big Boss stint.

And then there’s the other set of parents who shunt their children from school to tuition classes that tutor their kids from the exact books their teachers referred to twenty minutes earlier. Then there’s the “extra curricular activities” of music and sport. Parents don’t seem to realize that if they just about managed long division in Class 12, the child won’t exactly be quantum mechanics material. Genetics doesn’t work like math- a negative doesn’t do the nasty with another negative to produce a positive. Also, if you’re tone deaf, the chances of your child being able to play symphony number 25 in G minor is so slim that it’s anorexic. Projecting one’s unfulfilled ambitions onto the child is painful and just does disservice to the child.

Children should be given the resources to help them identify their strengths but also to understand their limitations. Instead of creating narcissistic little horrors, I don’t understand why parents can’t spend time helping their children develop a healthy interest in the world. Teach them convictions and to stand up for what they believe in. Teach them to be comfortable in their own skin but to know that the world doesn’t revolve around them. Teach them that it’s OK to fail and that it’s OK to be different. That the source of money is important and that the end doesn’t always justify the means. Teach them self control and that there is a world beyond their mobiles and iPads. Teach them to be good hosts and to make polite conversation. That being civil even when disagreed with isn’t hypocrisy. Teach them to be ambitious but to also make peace with someone else’s success. Teach them that it’s OK to be vulnerable and that it’s OK to have irrational fears. Work with them to overcome those fears; don’t coerce it out of them. That the number of likes on Facebook isn’t the validation they need to seek out and neither is it a reflection of their self worth. Teach them to respect the other person- their time, space, property and beliefs. But more important teach them kindness, compassion and empathy.