“Childhood is a golden phase of life laced with innocence – try to keep it intact”.
When I look at the kids of this generation (yeah I can use this word “generation” as I am already over three decades) I find them very smart, competitive and raring to go. Be it studies or other than that, there is always a rush. And I have this question at back of my mind “What’s the rush?” Why is there a rush to win at any cost? Why is there a rush to grow up too fast too soon? Who is prompting it after all?
I am 31 years old and strongly feel that I belong to a different era. An era of Tom and Jerry, Jungle book on Sundays; an era of carrom board games during the day time and badminton in the evenings during summer vacations. And the most important and beautiful aspect of that era is “innocence”. Fights were there but sans guns, questions were there but relevant to the age and never absurd, competition was there but never ugly.
Now when I see kids of this generation, I am amazed and sometimes agonized too. They are way smarter and informed than what we used to be. A six-year-old kid of this generation is a pro in surfing net than me and you. A ten-year old kid talks about a girlfriend-boyfriend relationship, a fifteen year old is old enough to experience smoking and by the time eighteenth year arrives, well they are already ADULTS! I can bet on that. Is it the smartness or loss of innocence or childhood or an era of adulteration where the proportion of purity of innocence is disappearing with every passing generation?
Thanks to the nuclear family set ups, intrusion of internet in lives, impact of television, never-ending chase of goals resulting in less family time, peer pressure…. Our kids are at risk of losing their childhood faster.
I would like to support my argument with an example. Yesterday I was watching a random movie which showed a kid of around ten-year old teaching hero of the movie tricks to woo a girl. I was irked by that because this is something unexpected from such a young one. In an article from the social media that I read about a month back, an Eighth class student poisoned a classmate just because the classmate happened to score more marks in examinations. This is outright repulsive and disturbing. Increase in number of Juvenile Crime Cases of all sorts all over the world by leaps and bounds is an indicator of the issue that is grave and needs to be addressed.
What and Who is responsible?
Television, I am not kidding: Talking about the impact of television on young minds, it is really worrisome that most of the cartoons viewed by children showcase guns and wars and nothing is funny about them. This provokes the violent streak in them. Recently while surfing the net I came across few articles that showcased the concern of parents whose kids are watching a particular cartoon called “Peppa Pig”. The central character of the series is a very spoilt and ill-mannered child of a dysfunctional family. And imitation which comes naturally to kids are imitating Peppa and it’s unacceptable (read rude) tone and behaviour. This is concerning the kids of younger age when they have a more fertile and impressionable minds. It’s nothing short of polluting their minds and thoughts.
Parents please don’t push your kids too hard: It’s all about competition nowadays. Too much emphasis on competing is making it unhealthy for the kids. Parents want their kids to excel in every activity. You may be thinking how it could be considered as something harmful. There is nothing wrong in letting a child pursue his or her interests. There is nothing wrong in letting them compete or participate in events concerning their interests as long as it is only meant to boost their confidence and develop their interests to the perfection. In this perspective, I would like to mention about the plethora of reality shows which showcase kids of as young as 3 years doing stuff like dancing, acting, singing etc. in the full glare of camera. Purpose – to be famous; to earn money; to rate your talent. I condemn it wholeheartedly. I don’t see a reason why the burden of parents’ dreams are dumped upon tender shoulders. It is simply denying their right to live their childhood. It irks me to no end that kids who haven’t even started speaking properly are given dialogues that they can’t even mouth. Believe it or not they are made to smile, laugh, play even cry for the perfect shot to be captured in camera as everything is scripted. Isn’t it cringe worthy?
Result: Just like steroids induce unnatural growth and a child matures way before he or she is supposed to in due course of time, it has nothing much to do with circumstances other than the aspirations of parents. Isn’t it a kind of adulteration?
There’s nothing wrong to be mature and informed. In fact our preceding generation might hold the same view about us as we do for our next generation. Then where lied the difference?
The major factor that made and could make a whole lot of difference is “family time”. I still remember no matter how busy the day was my father always made it a point to spend quality time with us (me and my brother), enquiring how our day was, how our studies are going; we used to have one time family meal together, cook for us occasionally, play with us. Such simple gestures make a lot of difference. That strengthens bond between parents and children and could refrain them from going haywire.
A glance at current situation presents a weird picture. In a family of four, everyone is busy with their respective gadgets on dining table, communication is more or less about Facebook updates, concept of individual space is so twisted that questioning is considered an intrusion into personal space. And when there is no tab and secrets dwell within, there is every possibility of children being misled and misguided be it by social media, television or a person.
Therefore believe it or not, the role of parents is of utmost importance when children and their future is in question.
- Talk to them
- Listen to them
- Try to understand them
- Stand with and for them
Remember one thing always: your gifts may go obsolete with time but not values imparted. It’s on us to keep the innocence and childhood intact.
Here are quite a few things that parents need to understand ASAP:
- Teach your kids to be happy at first place. Let them grow up at their own pace. Let them enjoy their childhood, don’t force them to grow up out-of-the-way.
- Know the difference between literacy and education: If a person can read and write and sign his or her name he or she is merely literate. Education in true sense imparts values and wisdom. Give education to your kids, that would count in the long run as it would help them to differentiate between what’s wrong and what’s right, period.
- Let their interests blossom before you pluck the fruit. To compete or not, should be a child’s prerogative. Never ever force your decision and whims and fancies on your child.
A lot more has been said already in this context and a lot more will be said after this and the question will be same every time, “Have we realized yet or not?”