Constructive Parenting – Two important questionsJune 11th, 2011
Parenting a child is like constructing a multi-storied building. When I am careless in making the foundation I can cover it up by filling the pit. When I am careless in the construction of the first few floors, it will not show up then and there.
But as the building rises beyond the initial floors, the slight bend in the first floors will be revealed and it will be for everyone to see that the building is tilted. As the building goes through a little pressure, the inherent weakness in the foundation will be revealed in cracks and the building might collapse. If the foundation is weak, there is no way the structure can hold strong and steady.
If you were staying in this building that is tilted and has cracks all over, how comfortable would you feel? Will you be able to sleep with peace of mind ever? Will you not feel insecure even if the builders claim that nothing untoward is going to happen? Will you want to believe claims that with time, things will become ok?
When it comes to a constructed building we understand the importance of a strong foundation. We also understand care has to be taken in every phase of construction. Isn’t it the same with human lives too?
All of us know the importance of a strong foundation in our lives. To a large extent we are shaped in our childhood. In a way beyond what I realize, I leave my impact on the future of a child. When I give them a strong foundation, tomorrow they will face the world adequately. Otherwise, they are stranded on the highway of life; bewildered, insecure, the animal in them more pronounced than the man; fiercely fighting or mutedly hoping for survival.
But things can be rectified later on also, isn’t it? Oh yes, they can be rectified later on also. But visualize the efforts required to straighten a bent building. Visualize the efforts of making that building strong which has a weak foundation. It may be possible but who would like to take up the task? And why should I expect anybody else to rectify my mistakes in the first place?
With a little extra care and understanding the next generation can be created as masterpieces. Or should I say we playing our part as parents, adequately, could reveal the masterpiece in them to the world. Anybody who understands this creation in the smallest way understands that every child born is a miracle. Each child has in them the potential of greatness. However most parents, schools and the society, in a joint effort, systematically but unintentionally murder the possibilities of the child living to its potentialities of greatness.
What can be done?
THREE major factors influence a child mightily. They are, THE SCHOOL where the child is supposed to get formal academic education, the SOCIETY that is supposed to be the exploration grounds for the child, and of course the FAMILY.
Based on the inputs the child receives from these places and people, the child responds to the world either to ‘HIDE’ or to ‘SEEK’.
Parents do send the child to the best school possible for them. However the inputs in the school are not always enough for the complete development of the child. Teachers may at times not know how to deal with their own frustrations and it may be vented out on a child. The child after such repeated behaviours may go into a shell. The sight of the teacher creates fear in the child.
The student friends may be teasing the child too often resulting in the child withdrawing from society. You end up thinking your child is not smart enough. The actual reason is the child does not find the environment to its favour.
Ironically, you may have sent the child to school for them to learn how to progress in life. The school authorities are indeed doing their best. However, they cannot monitor everything that happens. The very school may end up as the cause for the child losing interest in doing anything meaningful in life.
So can be the case of the society. The neighbouring children may be bullying the child, the cousins may be ignoring the child, and the relatives may be always comparing the child. This again leads to situations where the child finds the environment is not to its favour.
The clear understanding is that though the parents may provide the best for the child, they may not be able to control the society and the school’s inputs to a very large extent.
Otherwise a ‘Gautam, the Buddha’ may have never happened. Hitler, Osama, Dawood would have never happened. So many of our movies show how the world corrupts innocent youngsters. Those lives and those movies would not have happened.
In this scenario the only place on the planet where the child may feel security is in its home. If there is one place where the child should and can always get only positive inputs it should naturally be the family.
If the behaviour and communication of family members denote favourable environment to the child, then the child overcomes the negative impact of the world’s inputs on it. If on the other hand the behaviour and communication of family members present a hostile environment, then the child goes through a big crisis of identity. Sometimes the negative impact of the childhood is never overcome at all.
Based on the inputs the child gets, they answer two questions.
1. What kind of a person am I?
2. Is the surrounding world favourable or unfavourable?
Based on the answer every child receives on these two questions, they will respond to the world.
If the child believes they are good but the environment is not favourable, they will not stay good long enough. If the child believes they are not good but the world is favourable, they will become guilty. If the child believes the world is favourable only when they are bad, they behave accordingly. If the child believes it is bad and the environment hostile, we have a serious situation on hand.
Inside our home, the child is being guided in which direction by our behaviour and communication? Does our communication make the child believe in itself? Does our body language make the child believe that the environment is hostile? Do we always catch our child doing a mistake or do we catch and reward it for the right things done? Do we call the child as a member of various animal’s kingdom or do we call the child as an angel of god? Do we call the child as a source of our troubles or do we make it believe it is the source of our blessings?
What according to the child is a favourable environment? When the child is not beaten up nor shouted at, the child sees the environment as favourable. Added to this the child should feel whenever they make a mistake things will be explained to them and not imposed on them. They should see, hear and feel joy in the air. These, put together, are ‘favourable environment’ to the child.
When your child asks this question to himself or herself, “What kind of a person I am?”, what kind of an answer will flash? Based on the answer, understand the kind of parent you are. When your child asks “Is the environment favorable to me or not?”, what thoughts will flash in that little head of theirs. Based on the answer, understand what kind of a person you are!
As parents the impact that we have on the psyche and therefore the emerging personality of the child is tremendous. We have a brilliant opportunity is presenting to this world a masterpiece. Most parents of this world are so involved with their own inadequacies they waste this stunning opportunity. Most parents see bringing up a child as a chore and not as a delight. To me it is a crime to waste this opportunity as we are doing injustice to the child and the society.
I believe our children should be the leaders that our country needs today. They should be the good citizens that our country needs today. And we should be the role models to them.
Parenting can be the most fulfilling experience that anyone can ever experience in life. We can be the most effective mechanism for the child to cope up with the world. The inputs by the world are never in our control. But the inputs by us are absolutely in our control. Our inputs will be the most powerful inputs for the child. More than anything else we will be able to shape the thinking of our child. Let the answers to the two questions discussed be resounding positive answers.
Knowing a legend makes us feel great about ourselves. How about creating one?
With love, prayers and best wishes,
As I live..I learn