By George Merlo Pallath
The biggest blessing for a child is to have loving parents . Parents create the proper environment for the child to grow up. Just like a promoter promotes a company, a farmer preserves and protects his plants, parents provide protection, security, love and understanding for their children. True, parenting is a great challenge. But the tragedy is most of the parents have no idea about parenting. They just follow the crowd, try to emulate their parents, peers and friends. The power and influence of the parents in shaping the whole outlook and mind of the child cannot ever be underestimated. They have a huge responsibility to bring up the next generation. The future of the society lies in their hands. We are taught all subjects in schools and colleges. We are also taught to obtain jobs, make money. But nobody teaches us how to be a good parent. Unfortunately knowingly or unknowingly, these parents who are clueless about parenting, about bringing up the child, having their own false, pre conditioned prejudices and views, do a bad job of parenting. For most of the ills of society, the root cause is the conditioning that these people underwent from their parents, how they bring up their children, how they mold the very mind and outlook of their kids.
Recently I saw a poster of a pathetic child on which is written “ I was born an atheist, until someone started telling me lies”. Right from the infancy of their children, in all good faith, believing that they are doing what’s best for their children, they label their children as Hindu, Christian , Muslim and starts to indoctrinate them. Filling up those fresh innocent minds with the conditioned views and prejudices of the parents. The fresh brand new uncluttered mind with endless, infinite power is thus conditioned and their young unpolluted mind is filled up with all kinds of beliefs, stories and trash. It is like putting in a lot of unwanted junk software into a brand new computer. Their originality and their capacity to see things in their true perspective are lost forever. They start to believe in all kinds of superstitions, they are taught to be afraid. They learn the meaning of “fear”. Thus these kids with infinite godly powers are limited, secured and sequestered into robotic clones of their parents. They are reduced into people with tunnel vision instead of the wide angle vision that they were born with.
Obesity is a major problem in all developed countries and even developing countries. It is becoming a major problem in Kerala also. The seeds of obesity are laid by the propensity of parents to over feed their children so that they look plump and cute during infancy. Overfeeding is the major cause for development of obesity in adulthood. In a cartoon the father exclaims “ Honey we are killing our kids” referring to over feeding. The parents must become aware of the problems of over feeding at an early age, its effects on the child’s health and its effects on their future.
After that, these children are inculcated to respect their elders, that the elders are always correct, wise and unquestionable. True, there is nothing wrong in respecting their elders. But this puts some brakes on the children’s thought process. They are taught to unconditionally accept whatever that the elders say as true and correct. Elders are always right. Elders know best. Questioning is discouraged. Past is more respected than the present. Past is revered. Present is considered inferior. Original thinking is discouraged. The net result is that the new generation’s capacity for original thinking, questioning and improving on the past is lost. They are reduced into a smaller clones of their mediocre elders. All the creativity and inquisitiveness of the fresh minds are suppressed. After 10 years of rigorous schooling, all are ironed out into mediocre, conditioned minds only good for repetition and memorizing. Instead of allowing them to soar like eagles over the clouds, they are confined to becoming mere parrots or mimicry artists.
Our society is witness to rising atrocities against women, rapes and sexual molestation are the order of the day. Where does the blame lie? It begins in each house, Where the parents condition their children right from infancy to believe that males are superior. Females are inferior and the females must be subjugated. From a very young age itself, the males are taught to dominate, to see females as inferiors to be exploited as wives, maids, sex toys and always to be browbeaten. No wonder there are so much rapes and sexual molestation in our society. The parents are the first persons who should treat both males and females as equals and promote them as equals. Again the role of sex education. The new generation gets a wrong impression about sex through their exposure to porn movies and regular movies. The only sex education that they receive are from movies. Sex is taboo in the house and in schools. Nobody should talk about it. This has contributed in a large measure to these kids having a deformed idea about sex and women. If we can create awareness in all children that they are equal regardless of their gender, at least we can expect that the coming society will improve on the present. This is the only solution for all the atrocities against women.
Our society is full of engineers and MBA graduates running from pillar to post for getting employment. But for other skilled jobs there are plenty of vacancies. Everybody wants to be a white collar worker. Again the parents choose what subject their children should study and whether they should become an engineers or doctors or IAS or C.A or some other white collar jobs. These kids having absolutely no interest in math find themselves studying for engineering, no interest in biology studying for MBBS, etc. All other activities of the children are curtailed. They are programmed to just study, pore over the chemistry, physics and math subjects. No sports and games, No cultural activities. Parents go to great lengths to teach their kids to make them score the maximum marks, to get “A” grade, to get their wards admitted to prestigious institutions, all for their future. What future? A future of work ,work and more work. Make money, money and more money. The More the better, even at the cost of family life and health. It almost makes one wonder whether we are all born to study, work and make money only and nothing else. Is this world only worth for study, work and make money?
Our courts are overflowing with matrimonial & criminal cases. Cases in connection with atrocities against women, dowry related abuses, divorces, custody and maintenance. More than 20,000 cases of divorce pending in Kerala Courts alone. Where does the trouble lie? As a lawyer for more than 27 years and as a mediator for more than 6 years, I can personally vouch that parental pressure plays a huge part in the break up of marriages in India. In more than 60% of the divorce cases, the culprits are the parents on both sides, their personal egos, their over protection of their child, money, cash and kind. These parents unwittingly contribute a huge part in creating the havoc and breakups of marriages and personal relationships. Recently the Delhi High Court took judicial notice of this phenomenon and observed that “ parental intrusion is ruining young couples lives”.
All the above are just illustrations of the problems with over parenting, over protecting our kids, not allowing the children to grow up as free individuals. The next generation kids are forced to become clones of their parents. Follow the tradition, religion, petty casteism, outlook, beliefs and superstition. The next generation are programmed into narrow minded and singular tunnel vision individuals. Then how will there be improvement over the past? Only if we bring up the new generation as free thinking individuals, who are capable of thinking on their own, solving problems and being confident in their abilities, will there be real change in India. The immense responsibility must be understood by the parents before they choose to be parents. Let all parents understand this and allow their kids to grow unhindered and unconditioned by the outlook of their parents. The governments must also understand the importance of bringing up the next generation with a world view, unhindered by any conditioning. We should understand that if we want our society to improve, then the new generation must be allowed to grow up with a free mind and free outlook uncluttered by the conditioning of the past and burdened by all the “isms” of their parents. They must be allowed to choose their destiny, to identify their individual interests and build up their lives as they want, not as extensions of their parents ego or fulfilling the unfulfilled dreams of their parents. Our society sorely need more liberal, cultured individuals without any conditioning and clutter in their minds that can see the world as it is rather than through their parents eyes. They must be allowed to soar on their own individual capabilities and talents. We must let their minds grow like the banyan tree and spread their branches wide. We need more free thinkers, novelists, creative, inventive, original people, instead of just white collared robots. We must allow our kids to flower individually in as diverse and brilliant manner as the valley of flowers in the Himalayas.