There’s a definite change in the way children are brought up today. Being an educationist, I am often accosted by parents and asked for help and advice. The words often used are… “: my child doesn’t listen, or has no feeling of guilt…. Refuses to respond to my shoutings….is willful rude and arrogant….takes what is given for granted….has little value for what is given….is threatening me…..” and the like.
Now let’s go back a little to the previous generations and take a look at their reactions and what they have to say about such behavior. One will often hear them say…” We didn’t behave this way…we respected our parents…never talked back or argued…touched their feet every day….were obedient and followed their lead…. took their advice …didn’t oppose or be belligerent and understood their wisdom…” and son and so forth.
Well both are facts that was and is the case respectively. Then what changed, what is different that has resulted in the total turnabout in the behavioral patterns and how is one to select the right pattern of bringing up children?
Children are susceptible to environment, they often play follow the leader in the sense they see watch and learn, often not even understanding what they are thinking, or doing ,. More often than not they ape the elders and have little foundation for acting so… it’s the copycat attitude…. Of course this is all part of the natural learning process
What is not natural is what they see, when they see and understand about what they see….. And the elders actually add fuel to fire by publicly acknowledging adult behavior and attitude in children and endorse it by smiling or praising it with wonder and pride.
There was a constant reprimand from the elders in the earlier days when the children were bound by rules of behavior with a large number of do’s and don’ts and the child could brook no argument about it, it had to be followed unquestioningly and the child agreed and followed without ire or confrontation as tradition ad societal boundaries forbade such behavior….. respecting the elders, not raising one’s voice to the teacher, touching the teachers feet with reverence and paying homage to the great people and the bedtime stories full of morals that taught about a value based way of life and a way to think to be a good citizen ….all of which supported a more quiet and value based life full of reverence and thankfulness. We could call these the traditional mode of teaching where the children were not new to physical beating in a mild way in extreme cases, and to a good shouting to push the point home.
This is how we grew up, the teachers shouted, beat us with rulers, though this happened rarely, as the teachings from home sufficed to be good students. We were given according to our needs and not before time and above all not before we had earned it. Thus love was more balanced and not materialistic. It was not a destructive or guilt ridden love.
Above all the parents were not a tired lot and the mothers usually stayed at home and even if they worked there were always the grandparents and so the child had mature people to look up to and follow and the parents were careful what they said in front of the child. The absence of junk food and a more healthy diet did lead to students, although not introduced or well versed in gadgets, who could do math’s and science and all the other subjects even more efficiently than the present day students, the competition was healthy and materialism was the last thing on the minds of the students. Not only did we have sufficient time to play in the open air, there was plenty of home work and there was time to do that too as we were not herded to large number of classes and burdened with knowledge too soon or before the brain had the maturity to take it in in the right spirit.
The modern times took a real turn and things have changed to such an extent that the parents have lost control on the child. The children are given to arguments and tantrums, they are adamant without reason and insist on living a unhealthy life style, most of the time the same as the parents…. the late hours, getting up late, no disciplined life style and the constant indulgence of toys and play things to remove the guilt and the constant visits to malls….the child’s sense of right and wrong has become skewed. It wants the jazzy life style…prefers the skeleton wafers to proper homemade snacks, wants fashionable shoes even before it can walk properly, wear scanty clothes even before it can write the word fashion, is too color conscious without knowing the spelling of color. Of course can use the keys on the I- pad and play aggressive noisy games on play station watch TV endlessly and thus learns to be rude to the extreme, disrespects both parents and teachers, has little value of what it gets and thinks it it’s right to get all these things …….. After all what are the parents there for? Isn’t it their duty to look after the children and then again what is the duty of the children? To live at the cost of the parents, harass them till they are pulling out their hairs, be least bothered or sensitive to ensure and just be users and at the cost of the parent…look how intelligent and clever they are…they have made slaves of the parent and the parents are proud to be their slaves!…Then what are they complaining about! Why are they complaining when they celebrated the same before…ah yes now things are out of control…who is responsible? Who did not nip it in the bud, who should have put a stop to it…and now it’s too late…there is no going back…the child has been destroyed by the proud parent!
Ah yes the schools hands are tied too ….the parents have made sure of that… a few stray cases doesn’t mean that all teachers are bad,…there is bad element everywhere even in each family ……so does that mean all good teachers ….and there are many……have to be written off?. Now the schools and teachers don’t want to have anything to do with mentoring…they are hauled to police stations and courts at the smallest of reprimands…less work for schools and teachers…more tension for the parents……well one gets what one wants…now why complain?
The schools do have a value education class at least once a week. However is it penetrating these small minds at all….a lot is said about the intelligence of the modern generation…but is that really so or is it just the surface knowledge of a lot without real understanding the basics. A mere parroting of what is read and herd and discussed vehemently without reason or rationality.
A child need to behave like a child and mature in mind and body in steps as nature wanted it to….this way the body and mind develop in a balanced and healthy way with proper diet and proper understanding…, a foundation needs to be created first before the top floors are built….if the house is built all at once jumping the stages without curing then obviously it’s going to fall down at the merest hint of a shakeup……………… and that is what is happening to today’s child.
Everybody is running a race. Without knowing the destination…it’s a race to nowhere and materialism is taking its toll. Things are becoming more important than character and personality. A value based existence is a thing of the past…it’s more about coveting, collecting, keeping up with or bettering the Joneses and equating better materialistic lifestyle to intelligence…the so called fast life where the night has become day and the days are spent sleeping, there is no contemplation as there is no time out from the rat race that the humans have created for themselves…and above all the irony is that in all this flurry of activity life just passed them by and at the end of it there is nothing to show, just misery and a hollow achievement that is soon forgotten as we say…. next!
Where is the time for any one, leave alone children…. The psychologists feed a lot of stories, there are theories galore on how the child thinks, there are psychologists for the merest of imbalance…never mind that actually it was not so …who has the time to think…pay the psychologist instead…after all everything can be bought by money these days and everything is on sale…all available over the counter so to speak!
Is this progress or are we really regressing. We were solid, thinking species that lived with a strong set of values that brought good results, there was thought behind action and everything was weighed and studied and implemented to perfection. Now it’s all packaging, glitter and glossing over by beautiful words and promising advertisements with beautiful faces and self-promotion… a lot of jabber and soliloquizing and preaching but little to show for it in terms of real enhancement.
I think what is tried and tested and works well and brings results should not be discarded in the name of modernism otherwise the generations that follow will be merely gadget ridden species who without them would be useless and will know a lot about nothing! Leave alone implementing.
What is required is a proper blend of the traditional with the modern…after all it’s all about building quality of the mind that is balanced, rational, perceptive and to promote wisdom in keeping with the age and the requirements of that age…..it’s time to let children be children and not be overgrown and over exposed immature minds living on borrowed thought sans thinking, sans true intelligence, sans wisdom!