‘The child is the father of man’ never was this adage as true as it holds today. Given the fast paced changes in the socio-cultural milieu with the rapid technological upheavals, the task of bringing up children is becoming all the more daunting. The best way one handles situations is on the basis of prior experience. The parents of today would go back to their experiences of being parented and try to imitate the disciplining measures that they had to go through. But sadly today, they say, things have changed. They are told that the parent should be friends of their children and so in an attempt to toe the line and be a ‘friend’ of the ‘modern techno savvy child’ the poor parent falls prey to buying the new age toys for their kids – gaming consoles, mobiles, ipads, iphones, the list takes an increasing upward curve on the pocket. The worst situation arises because we the parents are not aware of the hazards that this internet enabled mobiles or these addictive gaming consoles are to our kids. These are new to us, we do not understand the ‘new’ ways of the world, and so in an attempt to be called our kids’ ‘friends’ we fall prey to these baits. The problem worsens when we have then to monitor their gaming time for by then they are addicted to them.
The ‘Facebook’ is the new social world that our children are living in and now with ‘Whats App’, everything that my teenager does is broadcast to the world. We the ‘outdated’ parent either are oblivious to the happenings of the internet world that my youth is engrossed in or to make things worse some of us are so enamoured by these gadgets that we ourselves are immersed in self proclamation through these social networking sites.
The ‘I, me, myself’ culture is the predominant culture of the times and it is indeed very difficult to free oneself from enticing clutches of this culture. To teach the youth today is much more difficult when I myself am not following what I try to preach and thus the youth of today do not find a role model to emulate. We have not left them enough role models in the outer world and thus the task of becoming the role model for my ‘child’ is all the more an arduous task.
We complain of our youth clamouring for more, we grumble that they are not satisfied with what they have, that they are never ‘happy’ with what they have. I would suggest let us as parents reflect if ‘we’ have ever been ‘happy’ about what we have had. Have been ‘content’ with what life had to offer me. If I never cribbed about the world around, if I always had a smile on my face no matter what I faced in my personal life only then will my child learn these things from me. I cannot expect them from my kids if I do not give it to them.
I would make only one resolve as a parent today let me ‘mend’ myself if I wish to transform the youth of tomorrow. For the words of Carl Jung, the famous psychologist cannot be slighted: “Children are educated by what the grown-up is and not by his talk.”