Recently, I was out with my cousins to a restaurant when something caught my attention. A mother was engrossed in a conversation with a group of people. Her daughter kept pulling at her shawl, asking her something. The mother would keep brushing her off, too caught up in the conversation. Ultimately, the child lost her energy and went to a corner of the room and sat quietly. The mother may not have realized it but the child was so obviously craving for her attention. And how disappointed she was when she didn’t get it.
Children are so innocent. We’ve all been told this but have we really realized the implications of their innocence? They’re like a clean blackboard. What they grow up into is a result of what we, as adults, write on those blackboards.
I have friends who are parents and I have seen the difference between children of working parents and children who have atleast one parent at home. I have observed that children who have been bought up by aayas or maids or just grandparents have this strange insecurity and attention seeking issues. These children do just about anything to get a little attention from parents and these children grow up into adults who are insecure about people, relationships and begin to do really weird things just to get attention. The slightest dent on their emotional side could make them lose their confidence and so on. On the other hand, children who have been bought up basking in attention by parents grow up to be confident, secure and bold individuals. They know to get what they want and does not need any motivation or boost of confidence.
Now let’s come to our education system. It’s based on rote learning and not on analysis. As a student, I was weak in Mathematics. Before I could wrap my mind around a concept the teacher would move on to the next point and I was lost. After a while I would give up trying to understand. I’d think to myself that I’d go home and work it out myself. But of course, this was too difficult for me. And I never had the courage to raise my hand or go to the teacher after class and ask her to explain it to me.
Are children of today also facing this difficulty?
As a society, our education system encourages rote learning. I remember mugging chapters of History for my 10th boards – the independence movement, the partition of the country, the constitution of India. But did I really think about all those events? Did I wonder why Gandhi’s strategy of non-violence worked so well in India? Did I empathise with Lord Mountbatten’s herculean task of smoothly transitioning power from Britain to India?
We need to teach the children of today how to think and behave. We need to spend time with them, play with them, listen to them and make them understand how to treat one another with respect. Parents need to imbibe the qualities of honesty, respect and patience in children at a young age. Boys need to be taught to treat girls with respect, they need to be told to protect themselves as well as the girls, they need to be taught the value of money, the sense of equality, the importance of education etc. At the same time, girls need to be taught to protect themselves, react to anything that they dont feel comfotable about, value of money,patience and most importantly education.
I think its time we took a stand to make our next generation a little more armed in terms of personal security and lets tell them to react and say no when you have to and to treat each other as equals and with respect. Lets teach them qualities that would nurture them as good human beings. Lets listen to them and spend time with them for a change.I think that would make the whole difference.