Sunday, 5 May 2013

Children Not Our Own

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 “You may give children 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.”- Kahlil Gibran

 What a prophecy and how clairvoyant is Gibran! For, today’s youth have their own anarchy of dreams and fantasies, which defy comprehension. Regrettably, they have lost their ideals and gone far away from their moorings pursuing the mirage of their own make-believe thoughts and perceptions. Mesmerized by some bad movies and, growing in a no-holds-barred, ultra-tech world which preaches a neo-culture, the twenty-first century youth grows like shrubs in the wilderness not wanting others to tend their growth.

 Recently, two eight-year-old boys in Chennai staged their own kidnapping drama taking a cue from a movie they had seen. They did this because they did not digest the admonitions of their fathers over their erratic behavior. A twenty-three-year- old Pawan Varma from Delhi enacted a scene of kidnapping and demanded a ransom of Rs.5 lac from his father because the boy wanted to go to a picnic spot and he had no money.

 We have these disturbing trends going on for some time. Youngsters, yielding to their impulsive whims and fancies, resort to such extreme steps just to grab the attention of their parents and family members. The movies they watch, and sorts of strange and bizarre culture they are exposed to in the society convince them that they could turn their parents’ attention to them only through such extreme and abnormal means.

 Poor parents! Since they are always engaged to earn bread and butter for the family and satiate every essential need of their wards, they are left with no time to give proper attention to their children.  Pitifully, most parents find it hard to strike a balance between their work and personal lives. In fact, they don’t have chances to spend quality time with their wards who always feel an alien in their home.

 The advent of the nuclear family is always thought to be a safe haven for young couples as they have their long-felt luxury of privacy. That it has its own hazards too is known to them only after some time when their children start growing up. For, the nuclear family leaves no adequate support system for the kids. Lonely youngsters upset over the lack of parental attention and company resort to extreme actions like their own stage-managed kidnapping because they want to tell their parents that there exist a young soul at home who wish to be with his/her parents for at least some time a day and share their pains and pleasures. The education system too, with its antiquated curriculum, fails to shape the youth.

 Another reason, according to psychologists, that make children abnormal and defiant is the parents’ controlling. It is appreciable that parents always want the best for their children. Their expectation to see their kids grow as good and responsible citizens is also natural. However, in the name of controlling, some parents go overboard and cruelly punish their defiant children not knowing that it only affect their ward’s psyche. I know one of my relatives always brutally punish his 10-year-old son even for his small mistakes. He would strike the boy with anything he could lay his hands on: brooms, spoons, leather belts, and hairbrushes, et al, without knowing that such brutal punishment teaches only revenge to the boy.

 Nuclear family, parents’ controlling, bad movies and an emerging unpalatable culture in the society may be the reasons for making children defiant and delinquent. It is high time for parents and teachers to take cognizance of the malaise and find ways and means to cure them. Good communications between parents and children will always help ease bad situations since the kids have opportunities to open their minds either to the mother or the father. Parents should understand that kids, too, need their own space and can’t be forced. For their parts, kids need to be made to understand that parents are always for them.

 Gone are the days when we had ‘moral’ classes in schools where teachers taught us all the finer values and ideals of life. Since teachers were our role models then, we grew up as Good Samaritans avoiding all pitfalls of life. However, schools had since long transformed themselves from educational institutions into business concerns. They now stop with churning out children who are only academically brilliant, but morally fake.

 It is heartening to note that The Education Department in Tamil Nadu recently urged schools to pay more attention to students’ behavior and necessary corrective measures. They advised teachers not to stop with producing results, but work on strengthening the value system of the community by instilling values in students. Behavioral scientists say that the teacher is the core point. They should become the role-models for the students and integrate value education with classroom teaching.

 Will teachers or for that matter parent’s wake up to the new responsibilities imposed on them by a sudden and swift change in the behavioral patterns of students and prevent them from becoming moral bankrupts? That is really a ten million dollar question on which hinges the future of the Generation Y or Z.

Image courtesy: Google