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These are very unusual times. Something of this kind had not happened in the living memories of the last 2-3 generations. Situations both outside the homes and inside, are vastly different from the usual. Strangely, nothing much is happening outside. Roads are nearly empty, all public places that in ordinary course attracted thousands of people from all age groups are shut. Malls, cinema halls, parks, sports fields all wear a deserted look. This is at the ground level. Not much action is happening up in the air as well. Even the immediate neighbourhood of an airport has gone silent.
Sporadic activity happening at some random places is also shorn of any visible activity or excitement. It appears thin but more disciplined. The decibel levels of sound are markedly subdued and the total energy in the environment, (both positive and negative) has diminished perceptibly.
Most importantly, children today, have nowhere to go. They are not used to this strange phenomenon, nor do they fully comprehend an almost weirdly paranoid behaviour of the grown-ups. In normal times, the most common and most frequently used ‘word’ in a house that has young children, was always “NO”. So the seeds of negativity are sown right in the beginning. Many things and activities were largely forbidden. It was not as if the children were always doing wrong things. But parents were themselves low on confidence, carrying similar edicts that they had received from their parents which were rigidly stored in their sub-conscious. Secondly, the present generation leads a more stressful life in comparison to their counterparts in the previous generation. Also, it is easier to say NO and be done with it. Saying Yes, adds to the responsibility of parenting. They need to spend more time with the children, in order to carry the implications of saying yes to its logical conclusion. They are then required to actively participate.
And that indeed, is the biggest problem with the parents today. Firstly, they are short on time and consequently, short on patience. But something that escapes their attention(perhaps it is happening for a long time with all parents) really is the amount of negativity being bred and generated in the early years of a child’s growth. Situation today, has created confusion worse confounded. The threat of the spread of virus has gone absolutely viral. Today the number of nays therefore, are far more than that of ayes, and hence the negativity wins hands down.
The first task of parents today therefore, is to correct this imbalance. Everyone is spending (albeit forced) more time with one another. There is a greater physical proximity amongst all members of the household, and that must be fully leveraged to create greater positivity in the home environment.
So, Let us use more of YES than NO at home. If No has to be used in a rare situation, than explain the reasons. This will effectively reduce the usage of NO.
Today, everyone is wondering why have all us been locked within the four walls of our homes. The grown-ups perhaps understand, the young ones do not, not fully. The grown-ups stay inside more because of fear than a correct appreciation of the reasons that have led to this situation. Notwithstanding different levels of understanding, the fact is that the entire external environment, including all animate and inanimate things have become hostile to one another and, indeed dangerous. It has become extremely difficult to trust others. Everyone else has become a pariah, an untouchable.
Do human beings have a role in damaging the environment and bringing it to a level that it not only is a health hazard (lesser levels) as in the days of pollution, but is downright dangerous, a killer. The first thing is the acceptance of the fact that it is dangerous, which is self-evident or we would be moving around freely. The second part is the acknowledgement of the fact that all of us played a role in damaging it and bringing it to a state that we dread going out.
So the next important thing that we all need to teach our kids is to clean up the environment and do nothing to damage it further. In fact, children have a bigger stake in this. Parents must lead from the front in this endeavour. If we continue to treat the environment the way we have been doing it, we may have to spend many more days inside the home than outside. I am sure nobody is going to like that.
Actually, nature and the environment’s resilience to bounce back in a short span and restore itself is noteworthy. One month of lockdown and everything is beginning to look fresh, brighter and cleaner. But for the threat of the virus, it is great time to step out.
Parenting today must take on a new role. The most important part of that responsibility has to be, to create deep sensitivity towards nature and all its creation. We must teach them to be kind to our fellow beings, treat everyone as equal (Corona virus has demonstrated that). It is equally important to be kind to all creations of nature. We must understand that everything in the universe has a purpose and every entity has its own life span, determined by nature and its order. We have no right to terminate it prematurely, either out of fear, hatred or self gratification.
Spirit of love and collaboration are two essential qualities that need to be transmitted. This will make them acceptable, secure and a leader in their own right.
Scholastic learning can be justify to the school and teachers. Parents should focus on building strong values and teach them the value of happiness, and not of money or success. Everything else will be picked by them on their own. Children today are smarter than all previous generations.
You only need to make them sensitive and sensible.
Written By – Mr. Vinod Malhotra
Director – Corporate Relations, Seth Anandram Jaipuria Group