May 16, 2013

Shaping our Stalwarts

Posted in Generosity tagged , , , , , , , , , , , at 1:15 pm by Venus Viswambharan

 

strong and free2 I was waiting for my lil daughter just outside her drama class. As I waited I saw a few little men having a grave discussion. One 4-year old sitting inside his van that drops him home, says  to another boy waiting outside “ How old are you ? “ very proudly the fella states “5 years old” . The boy in the van with his chest swelling points to another little friend and replies “well my mate here is 6 years old , right ? aren’t you elder to him? “. At this the 5-year old who couldn’t bear to be any less  grapples for data from his memory and shoots “ my sister is 10 years old!” and the boy in the van retorts with certain indignation “but my sister is 20 “ . The 5-year old pauses for a second, then retorts ” no she can’t be !” And the discussion goes  on…

What does one infer? They are just 4-6 year olds? Why would they want to be better than the other ? Does making another feel inferior make them mighty? Kids of that age were to be full of unbridled energy , fun and joy… when one hurt and healed quickly ,very resilient … Sound of bubbly  laughter and such images are what flood my eyes when I close them….

It bought back a little memory a few weeks old :

One particular girl was ostracized from a whole set of kids who were playing a zippy game of Kho  Kho because she was calling them names. The other girls very emphatically refused to let her play because she was the archetypal “ bad” kid. In fact they stated clear conditions to me saying if they were to continue playing they very clearly did not want the “bad” kid joining in.

some thought lingering in my mind:

What is Bad and good? Was the girl bad or were her actions bad? Do we handle the “bad” by snubbing or cutting off people? What happened to simple wholesome communication? why are we unable to reach out and tell some one they have hurt us without hurting them or giving it back to them in equal or stronger measure?

Still more memories float in …

A few months back I had watched 2 parents sling words at each other because their kids fought :

Each parent tallying the number of times the other parent’s kid humiliated , hurt or misbehaved with her own kid . Each parent boorishly ,contemptuously and very publicly  faced the other . Eventually they began blaming and garnering the hate they held against each other . Each raked their own dark , fetid recesses of  storage devices – their memory , for all the past blunders and faults the other committed and conclusively cut off relations with each other and barred their kids to continue any semblance of acquaintanceship with each other

Questions I ask myself:

Aren’t we as adults supposed to support, strengthen and build stalwarts? We glorify and applaud the” brave”. But is being brave being overbearing , being a bully, being mighty?

Aren’t we supposed to nurture tenacious adults , With the strength of tolerating each others’ difference, with the patience and courage to look into the eyes of the friend and seek where they are coming from , what is it that their dear friend is carrying, why their friend is behaving way they do?

Aren’t we supposed to instill humility in these kids to be able to hold back the importance of “me” for a few moments so as to enable reaching out to hold up this other friend – who is also an integral part of this “me”?

When did running off , exiling someone or cutting off relations emerge as a solution? Are these the characteristics of a dauntless sturdy individual?

And since when did we see “our kid” as our sole responsibility? We have always endorsed and adulated  “charity” but are unable to hold our child’s friend and give him /her strength to face a situation , to explain . We are incapable of a little benevolence to be able to ourselves reach out, to tolerate and in the process pour these qualities into their little hearts?

When our child is hurting , hurting with them is understandable , but turning that to hate , when did that become a solution? What does that heal?

What is it our children are learning? Don’t they emulate sharply just what we portray?

How can we  contribute towards shaping young, robust Stalwarts?

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32 Comments »

  1. Very well written! In fact, I witnessed something similar recently. Last weekend I was home, a 5 year old girl, daughter of someone we know was visiting. She went to play out side and the other girl kids didn’t play with her because of her dark complexion. I was shocked on how kids are changing. We never thought/spoke about that when we were kids. 😐 This gap in explaining/correcting things at his age results in the future attitude towards life/people.

    • Thank you Mohit for taking the time to read and write a few words too. It’s you are youth who will make our tomorrow. It’s refreshing to see that you already feel strongly about 🙂 . It’s right I think that gap where most people are confused. Parents too believe not saying anything is being a supportive parent. But saying it in the right way and listening to them too is what makes confident adults

  2. shagun paul said,

    same is happening in our society but here the reason which i feel is parents giving attention to just one kid and the girl kid is neglected and when the boy hits her, parents in return scold the girl child only so the girl has started hitting other kids , when a parent tried to confront the parents about her hitting other kids , there was a fight so now all the parents have stopped their kids to play with the girl , but what is the solution to it , you may say try to talk to the girl , that too has been done but she still hits other kids so no kid wants to play with her

  3. Heer said,

    Very well written Venus…often we ignore the little thins in life..our kids should be a reflection of our upbringing. In fact, sometimes its scary how mean kids can be…so callous! Society is changing and so are kids and its so important we teach them the difference between right and wrong so they can in turn create a better world for the future. Very interesting read..tnx for sharing 🙂

    • Thanks Heer for taking the time to read . Yes it’s true we need to take some time to sit with our kids , to listen to them , in fact just doing that much helps and it’s amazing they themselves will be quite vocal of what is right, peaceful and harmonious

  4. Sharon Richardson said,

    What a heart touching message this is to all of us. We who are parents of young children and even those whose families are grown, need to be awakened to this trend to “be better” then others. So many “games” encourage this kind of thinking i.e. football, school sports of every kind, etc. It’s always who runs the fastest, who’s the smartest, the prettiest, the skinnest. How can we or our precious children ever feel good about ourselves 😦 Please, let us turn this kind of thinking around to uplifting each other. Accepting and loving each other regardless of age, race, religion or creed. Regardless of our mental and physical challenges. We are certainly all part of the ONE. The One who created us and loves us ALL equally and without exception. Thank you my dear friend, Venus for sharing this message and helping to open our eyes to acceptance, caring for each other and most of all LOVE. That is what we truely need for ourselves and for eachother.

    • Thank you Sharon, for taking the time. so rightly said , we are competing continually and now have sown the seeds even in little young ones we are drawing boundaries and growing apart and only weakening in the process. Thank you for spreading love always and most importantly having faith in every soul , that each are inherently loving .

  5. Reeyaa Chauhan said,

    Well i loved each word you wrote ..its absolutly the truth …honestly i feel that in todays generation parents dont have much time for their own children ..even if some of them do they dont want to see where they are going wrong ..Three days back i met my cousins who are quite younger to me first of all they just refused to come and see us in their drawing room and when they were forcefully asked to they dint bother to wish any of us ..both the girls were feeling shy which is alright but feeling shy bcoz they were in their school dress bcoz they were not dressed was kind of shocking for me ..i recalled my time when we were kids we were taught how to behave when guests come over ..how to wish and greet everyone ..infact we use to be so over excited and curious without any botheration of how we looked ..im amazed to see how things r changing around us ..who is to be blamed ?

    • Riya thank you for sharing your experiences, it’s a very good question. We as adults and parents need to, with love and patience steer the kids in the right way. There is a whole lot of influences and examples that today’s kids and youth are exposed to , I don’t believe it’s the fault of the kids. But yes if they are exposed to honest communication and strength of spirit at home itself,then when they are to face these choices outside of home they are much better conditioned to make intelligent choices on their own.

  6. ushma said,

    Nice article venu….I feel in this busy world where everybody wanna be perfect, we dont understand about small things which actually is base for reaching perfect. n more important a good human..
    we end up ignoring it.
    i am actually happy to b part of discussion ….

  7. Mayank said,

    Nicely put! We are genetically coded for ‘Flight or Fight’ and these responses are manifestatrions of such primal emotions / hard-wiring!

  8. Joann said,

    This makes so much sense, very good reading for all of us bringing up little ones.

    • Thank you Joann for taking the time to read and pen a few words .just trying to share deeply felt experiences with all

  9. Children learn more through absorption than through teaching. A father who talks at home about how some colleague was misbehaving and how he deserved to get fired is also teaching the kid. A mother who is gossiping over the phone about her neighbour being bad because she does not have the time to clean up her house is also teaching her kid. Unconscious values are deeper than consciously instilled messages. Children learn from the very being of a person. Like dogs, cats, they are picking up energy signals and these later turn into verbal constructs such as: “Keeping a messy house makes me a bad person”. “It is not okay to show my anger”, etc. Parenting takes no effort – a child is born and one is a parent. Conscious parenting takes one to sit down with one’s own thoughts and weeding them out. Conscious parenting isn’t about the child. It is only about the person who calls himself/herself a parent.
    Thank you for sharing these examples. Hope you observe more and learn more and love more. Love and light 🙂

    • Thank you dear Deepti for taking the time to share such vivid examples! It’s so true parenting is the ability to first look within and search “ourselves” as we are the silent searing beacons for our off springs and the next generation!

  10. poonamgupta said,

    very difficult to say what is right or wrong specially when dealing with kids. In the first scenario, I think this is a pretty normal response. Most humans want to excel and kids have the same tendency. I remember in my childhood, the boasting went very high to achieve one upmanship. In the kho-kho incidence, I feel if a child is using bad words, then he/she is picking them up from their immediate environment – school/home/playground etc. In such a case, I feel adults need to go into the depth of the cause, provided the parents are interested in solving the issue of that child. It is difficult to make kids understand that this particular child does not have bad intentions per say vis-a-vis a kid/adult with nefarious intentions. We as parents have to be clear cut in making our kids understand what language/behaviour is acceptable and what is not. Kids are influenced very fast, specially from their playmates. What we can make them understand is to come and tell us about their day activities and to have patience to listen to them and then go ahead with how to guide them further. I have seen some kids in school who are bullies due to a stressful/abusive environment at home. On one hand isolating that kid will further damage his/her persona, but than allowing our kids to interact with such a kid sometimes creates lot of confusion and negative influence in our kids (depending on age). So, in such a case, the role of teachers, parents and psychologists is crucial. In fact I feel every school should have a good team of child psychologists. One of my friend’s got separated from her husband and her elder daughter (10 years) got affected a lot. She was in Mumbai at that time. The school psychologist was able to help the child a lot without making it obvious to the child. So, as I said, every situation has to be dealt individually and very delicately cos it shapes the future of our child. Hope

    • Dr ( Maj Gen ) Rishi K Gupta, MBBS (AIIMS), MD ( Paed) said,

      Very well written comments, we all observe children undergo many behavioural changes as they grow up from Toddler to adoloscence, and have different problems. I would like to stress the role of parents we must analyse our own behaviour, I shall recommend following books for grown up,
      1. Games people Play by Eric Berne MD ( The psychology of human relationship)
      2. I am OK, you are OK by Thomas a harris MD,
      these reading will help us in being better parents

      • Thank you Dr Gupta , for taking the time to read comment and give options to us all to read and make changes in ourselves so as to enable creating a stronger generation that is following and emulating everything we do

  11. poonamgupta said,

    I agree with you venus. ostracising a child is not the solution. I take an extreme example of rape. When an adolescent (less than 16 years) rapes a minor or anyone, all our sympathies are ONLY for the victim. Don’t get me wrong, what the victim has gone through is unforgivable and is going to affect her/him psychologically and physically. But in such a case, we also need to go into the psychology of the young rapist, instead of casting him as an extreme villian. There comes in the role of parents, psychologists and society. In such cases, there is usually an underlying cause which if found out, one can try to deal so that the particular individual does not become permanent criminal or getting more psychologically warped.
    The other case when the parents are fighting with each other on the actions of kids, I have usually found that the parents usually try to sheild their child of the fault and as a defense are fighting. First of all, it is setting a bad example to the child if the parents also fight. Second, mostly such issues can usually be resolved by listening to both children with a stable mind. What I have found is that most parents try to hide their child’s fault, mostly publically. This again is tricky. (I remember my mom telling us that she will never hide any of our mistakes from dad (who was pretty strict). This she said was for our own benefit, cause once she makes excuses for us, we will be tempted to repeat the same mistake.) So, in such a situation best is to correct the children separately, so that the kids can maintain their ego and also know that they cannot go away by doing anything wrong.
    I totally agree with you, the key is spending time with the children. Even if the child is brought up in a joint family (with grand-parents), it is the parents who need to sit and listen to the child’s thoughts and feelings.

    • This is exactly what I keep saying ! A child is not born a rapist , and I wish more of us would understand and take a lil time to reach out to other kids too… Some charity! This belief that my kid is the best and the other kid will make my child a bad kid is so weakening to the child that we are raising! How can my child become “bad “if we are with him through open honest communication? And if they don’t have a test of character by these other kids how can he get stronger? And that is also specifically the time he can reach out and lift up this other kid right? Muah muah muah you made my day with your thoughts!

  12. Viswambharan said,

    Venus, very good. Keep it up.

  13. Vasantha said,

    Hi Veenach, “just beautiful” Drops of water makes ocean.
    Values bring everything you need in life…..lots of love &. Blessings. Mom

    • Thank you mom and dad for all the support and guidance you have given me and continue to do give

  14. R Giridharan said,

    Excellent article,Venus..As so ably demonstrated by you, children mirror the values we espouse.If oneupmanship is the dearest thing in our life, then our offsprings will follow suit. In the incident you mentioned,the boys apart from competing were also probably lying.The latter thought is evenmore profound. If we stop avoiding the inconvenient, where do we go?I cannot agree more on the issue of wholesome communication, which is lost and we need a Venus to remind us. Finally, the aspects of parents slugging out for their children. I suppose, it is far better to listen calmly, take feedback and reflect.
    All in all an eyeopener for all of us. Wonderful article. Wrrite more.

    • Thank you so much for taking the time to read and for your your kind words , I truly am motivated to pen more. It’s true avoiding is not an option , actually even just being an active and engaged parent helps children confidently make the right choices which include being honest, caring and courageous.

      • R Giridharan said,

        Now , that i have access to ur archives, I will go through all of them.. I am sure they will be equally thought provoking.

  15. Dear Venus, your Million $ article is worth reading and an eye opener for parents and where did we leave behind the family values? I am watching my Grand kids and Kauser/Shakeel devote ample time towards their day to day affairs as well giving enough time and space to the kids to feel at ease. I have seen your upbringing and you know the difference with this generation. Today’s parents have tough times with the kids as they are too much exposed to media and internet which was contrary to our times. So you need extra ordinary brains to handle the present generation kids with their multiple demands.
    Keep it up with such thought provoking articles. I wish I could have published in my magazine which is mainly for Electronics students.

  16. Venus, you might want to come to Pune for the Learning Societies Unconference. They are flexible on dates as well as they run on gift economy. A lot of homeschoolers, people into alternative education systems, etc collect there. They look at all these issues of bringing up children, schooling etc. You can even offer a talk, a lecture, a workshop or a session because there are a lot of such opportunities available in that space. Do see if you can come. The FB link is here: https://www.facebook.com/groups/496124037108670/?hc_location=stream
    Take care.


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