We are denizens of an age when most people consider it a delight to have children for company, especially when the children are not your own. Bringing up children as responsible, sensible and sensitive adults can be a tall task in contemporary times.
The increasingly changing society, with its new-fangled electronic devices, has made the world of children much more tantalising than ever before. Even children who belong to lower-income groups are exposed to or have access to the latest gizmos and the Internet, to which they have been introduced at schools.
The reading habit and playtime have taken a brutal beating as a result of this extensive exposure. Yet, parents and teachers feel that though these drawbacks have introduced many lifestyle issues, an acute shortage of general knowledge and a dip in sensibilities, they have definitely not made the children any less smart.
It is high time we, as a society, come to terms with the fact that today’s children are born into a new world, where there is a radical change in the way everything works. Their lives are very different from those of us who are more than two decades old.
They have many more miles of challenges, insecurities and indiscreet exposure than we ever dreamt of. It is but natural that they learn, play, respond and function according to
We, as responsible adults, should remember this sea change and work towards channelising children towards developing a balanced personality. We need to be conscious that these youngsters are observant and learn more from what transpires around them than from any other source.
Therefore, logic must become the driving force when convincing young minds of what is good for them. While old world values like truth and compassion should be passed on in an undiluted manner, we must spell out the sub-clauses of certain other values.
For instance, children sho-uld be taught to be respectful and obliging towards elders but they must also be aware of the difference between a good touch and a bad touch.
Children must be sensitised to the futility of violence, but should also be mentally prepared to punch their abductor or abuser on the face when necessary.
No sensible adult should give in to the noisy tantrums of a child; yet, the young ones must be taught that it is okay to scream murder if their
modesty or lives happen to be in danger. Children should soak up lessons on the joys of sharing, but should also know how to hold back passwords and pin numbers lest they are duped or fleeced.
Youngsters must be allowed to handle money to manage emergencies but must exercise self-control and not waste away their body and lives on tobacco, alcohol or drugs. Since we are leaving an almost barren and polluted earth for our children, we must ensure that they imbibe green practices for life.
Even as families around the world are shrinking in size, we must remember that children blossom best when they grow up with other children. They learn the basics of healthy competition and mature faster mentally when they learn to share, accept and acknowledge differences without being judgmental.
Pediatricians and psychologists feel that while society overrates sibling rivalry as a negative trait, it can still be tweaked into a healthy one under parental supervision.
As babes toddle out of infancy and step into childhood, they realise that a whole new world lies beyond their snug homes, exciting their curiosity. They experiment with a range of new experiences that life offers them with a certain amount of timidity and temerity for the next few years.
These formative years have to be cautiously monitored for it is better to be safe than sorry. However, at no cost should we try to become the architects of their lives because as Khalil Gibran said of children:
“You may give them your love but not your thoughts.
For they have their own thoughts.
You may house their bodies but not their souls,For their souls dwell in the house of tomorrow, which you cannot visit, not even in your dreams.
You may strive to be like them, but seek not to make them like you.
For life goes not backward nor tarries with yesterday.
You are the bows from which your children as living arrows are sent forth.”