What We Want Our Kids To Be?
143 per cent increase in the number of rapes by juveniles…
87 per cent increase in the murders committed by minors…
72 per cent of the cases against minors between 2007 and 2012 were for theft, burglary and causing hurt…
A whopping 500 per cent increase in the number of kidnappings of women and girls by minors…
Scary, Isn’t it! These are the figures exhibited by National Crime Records Bureau (NCRB) on juvenile crime from 2002 to 2012. The forum is about parenting and not a crime show. So what am I trying to imply? The intention to share these grim figures above, is not to scare the hell out of anyone but to realise the impact and act accordingly. Act in whatever individual possible way for betterment. So what is that we as a parent can do or rather are doing to produce better kids and in turn a better future or a safe, sane society for our children to live?
My son AB is my latest pursuit and amuse. AB who is six now, is a bundle of hurricane… bright, nimble, mischievous, curious and seeks attention like any other kids of his age. With great labour comes greater joy… and that’s what my son AB is to me… pure unbound joy. Few days back with his ever eager attitude, AB asked me “Mom, Why is it that for good behaviour we get rewarded whereas for our bad deeds we are punished?”
The question from the six year old was simple yet profound in its implication. As I am nothing less than a mommypedia(a mother with all answers intact or a mom version of encyclopaedia) to AB, I was bound to acknowledge and respond to him. With my whatsoever capacity and in simple terms I responded with a hypothesis in a little playful manner by saying, “What if! you just helped your 5pm friend who is pretty hurt while playing with you in the neighbourhood park in reaching his home, guided and handed him over to his mother. In return she reprimands you or lashes out on you. How will you feel?” Pat came the reply from my lil boy, “But that’s not fair mama!” Behold it’s not fair indeed as you expected some accolades or gracious behaviour in return to your good, kind gesture. This is how the world works son, for good deeds, you are applauded and bad ones, you are punished, I retorted. But this occurrence stirred my mind to think a bit deeper on this topic.
Every child is born with a capacity to be moral and virtuous provided the energy being channelised with proper guidance by parents, schools and society at large. Man indeed is a social animal. Even if we live for ourself somewhere we are accountable for our actions and behaviour being a part of the community. Somewhere in this cutthroat-competitive society to make our kids stand out and succeed, we are neglecting and compromising on other fundamental attributes for sound emotional foundation and character building such as – Endurance, Compassion, Sharing, Empathy, Accountability and many so forth.
So how do we show the kids the difference between good and evil, the after-effect of a good and bad conduct. Let’s dig into certain leads based on ideas to inculcate the consciousness among kids between right and wrong :
- “To educate a person in the mind but not in morals is to educate a menace to society.” ― Theodore Roosevelt
The role of school is tremendous in terms of imparting life skills for character building such as equality, righteousness, responsibility apart from academic curricula. Every school should have community service programmes and reward schemes for inculcating these moral values practically. In AB’s school, they have Social Awareness Programme called SAP to instill awareness of social issues in students and help them to contribute towards lesser privileged in society at their formative age. Visits to old age homes, orphanages, government primary schools and thereby by spending some time with the needy and donating in some ways, are part of this drive. I am glad his school provides this opportunity and I just hope other schools who are not, should consider these kind of efforts for the wholesome growth of a child.
- “Children need models rather than critics.” — Joseph Joubert
The best way to ingrain any form of values let it be moral or behavioural is to walk the talk as a parent. Our action is the true reflection of our character. Kids learn right from wrong through their parents and other influential authority figures at home. They imbibe more by aping than preaching. Recognition and praise for a child for being generous, fair, and helpful will motivate the kid and over time the moral choices will become a part of his/her behavioural life skills.
- “So far, about morals, I know only that what is moral is what you feel good after and what is immoral is what you feel bad after.”― Ernest Hemingway
Kids should be involved in activities in day to day life which reflect values. For instance, allowing age appropriate chores make them responsible and helpful. Community services lend them the values like compassion and benevolence. Celebrations like Mother’s Day/Father’s Day or Thanksgiving nurtures the spirit of giving and sharing and love and respect towards parents. Media plays a major role in today’s routine life. Let’s be little selective about the videos, movies and books our child is exposed to as it makes a lasting impression on their supple mind. Shows that contains or promotes violence and other immoral behaviour should be avoided at a tender age.
- “Fear is the mother of morality.” – Friedrich Nietzsche
When it comes to parenting, there’s no magic pill or easy way out. Discipline is important while infusing moral standards in child’s psyche at a tender age. Discipline is totally misunderstood as an act of retribution, dominance, strictness and restraint when it comes to parenting. Discipline is a must for any child to grow into a balanced and responsible adult. But, discipline should focus more on guidance, being consistent, mentoring or acting as a role model and setting pragmatic rules, taking into cognizance moral values for children to follow; which in turn will help them in coping with real life issues once grown up. When dealing with discipline, we have to understand first that whether the breach of conduct is related to an ethical issue or a social convention, and then we have to act subsequently.
- “The hands that help are far better than lips that pray.” – Robert G Ingersoll
Spiritualism, not religion per se, believes in the presence of that supreme divine power which guides us in the struggle between good vs evil and provides us a sense of purpose. Introducing Spiritualism in early life, which directs towards a more tolerant and benevolent society with equality and justice for all, will provide a strong moral foundation to the child.
- “If you don’t know the trees you may be lost in the forest, but if you don’t know the stories you may be lost in life.” —Siberian Elder
Story telling is a simple yet powerful tool in childhood, which with it’s ethereal power of imagination inspires and amuses a child. The impressive characters, well defined plots, moral dilemmas and the enchanting presentation builds a magical realm and absorbs a kid’s innermost self; and that’s where we should interweave the values through good choices of stories from Ramayana, Panchatantra to Fairy Tales with certain life lessons. And there are many more powerful pieces I can list here, which is endless.
Few of my favourites are:
- A Little Princess by Frances Hodgson Burnett
- The Little Brute Family by Russell Hoban
- Horton Hatches the Egg by Dr. Seuss
- The Enormous Crocodile by Roald Dahl
- Pablo’s Tree by Pat Mora
All these years we have espied and realised the significance of IQ and EQ in our kid’s developmental stage, but now is the time that we give heed to yet another relevant but underrated facet of behavioural science and I would like to term it as MQ. Quite pertinently, MQ which stands for Moral Quotient is not only the corrective measure towards evolving our child to a better human being but also will lead us to a safer and secure world. Parenting is just not just about raising kids. It’s more than that. It’s about raising morally responsible, sensible and compassionate human beings and nurturing the right share of MQ will come to our aid.
As I finish these lines, I leave you with an afterthought by Mahatma Gandhi with a brooding question to contemplate for us, as a parent:
What do we want our kids to be?
Do we want our kids to be so-called successful but with no moral values:
Seven Deadly Sins by Mahatma Gandhi:
What use of life is if we have,
- Wealth without work
- Pleasure without conscience
- Science without humanity
- Knowledge without character
- Politics without principle
- Commerce without morality
- Worship without sacrifice.
Think about it and act accordingly as we prepare our little ones for the next generation.
Now a Freelance Writer and Blogger, previously worked with a leading media and publishing house, she loves life. A daughter, a wife, a mother, a sister, a friend…you tag her whatever you want to, she is a quintessential woman . Writing for her is not only an art of self expression but something that affects eternity as it has the tremendous power to influence minds and culture. And she believes that Life is the most alluring gift by god and she is still in the journey of unwrapping it. Each day, each moment with fellow beings and own self reveals to her varied human emotions and life experiences. Her blog ‘Love, Life and Whatever‘ is an humble endeavour to capture and encompass this disposition.