If parents are keen on the welfare of their kids, they must set good examples. And if they make a connection with God, sky is the limit, writes AJIT KUMAR BISHNOI
Most parents will say that they do. Do they really? My answer is no. I will explain why I made such an assertion and you will agree. When a child is born, who does the child see most of the time, if not all the time, especially in today’s nuclear family culture? The child’s parents, of course. Then, the child will learn from or ape his parents only, because we, human beings, mostly learn by seeing, especially as far as our behaviour goes. I am talking about the formative years of a child when the foundation for behaviour is laid. Now the important question: Are the parents on perfect behaviour? What do you think the answer is?
You know the answer but I will still like to remind everyone about what we actually do. Let me start with speaking. How many of us can claim to be truthful all the time? The answer will be: “We try but it is not always practical.” Is this what the child should learn, ie speak lies when it suits him. Same is true about honesty. Are we really honest in our dealings. I will admit that many are but that still leaves a large chunk of the population. How about raising our voice or getting angry between parents? What are we teaching our young wards? That it is alright to get nasty with your loved ones? The child does that as he grows up; there are good chances of it.
Somebody may like to challenge me on my assertion that young children learn mostly from their parents as far as behaviour goes. What does the Gita inform us? That whatever a superior person does, in our case a parent, other people, in our case children, follow that. Whatever standard a common man establishes, a child tries to emulate that. (3.21) I don’t think that there can be a better proof than that.
So now we can continue with what parents mostly do. Let me take up eating. What determines what people mostly eat? The answer is taste. There is nothing wrong with it. The Gita also recommends it, when it tells us, “Tasty, delicious foods, which enhance life-span; promote vitality; give strength, health, joy; and which are conducive to cheerfulness are dear to people in goodness.” (17.8) However, there is an important difference. We are supposed to eat those foods which do a lot of other good things, as mentioned, besides being tasty. Do parents follow such wisdom? The child learns what parents do and is burdened with bad habits for the rest of his life.
What do parents watch on television? Are they selective in what they see? Or they see something which is full of passion, even hate, sensuous, horror, etc? Yes, children start with cartoons but the foundation has been laid for what they will watch later in their lives. Does it not place a lot of responsibility on parents to be role models for their beloved children? Shouldn’t they be highly disciplined in whatever they do? Living together rubs off a lot on one another.
Let me take up another important activity, ie exercising. Why are children in India becoming obese in larger numbers like in the West? Because parents simply do not care. If they were doing asans, pranayam, etc regularly, will the children not be influenced by such practices and benefit for the rest of their lives? How about doing your own work? I blame mothers for this; they are in too much love to act sensibly.
Whether we like it or not, our role as parents is crucial to make a success of the lives of our children. The growing child sees his parents as sample human beings. Does it not place a lot of responsibility on parents to act sensibly at all times? If they are really keen on the welfare of their wards, they must set good examples. This is expected if they really wish the very best for their loved ones. And if the parents make connection with God, sky is the limit.
Bishnoi is a spiritual writer and can be reached at email@example.com