Children and sensitivity

Several years ago, when my boys were young, a relative visited us for a couple of days. Her son was the same age my older one and daughter was a few years older than the younger one. One day, we were watching a TV programme that featured emaciated children playing in the dust.  The children were playing some board game on the other side of the room. Suddenly seeing her daughter, aged about 11 looking at the TV, the lady got up agitatedly and took  the girl out of the room. She didn’t come back for some time and thinking that something was wrong I went to investigate.

‘What is the matter?’ I asked her.  ‘I didn’t want her to see those children, on TV’ she whispered, giving surreptitious looks at the girl who was reading a book.  ‘She is so sensitive and if she sawthe programme, she will be very upset and depressed,’ she added.

It was about that time that the younger one had watched a feature about children working in Sivakasi fireworks factories and that sight if not the words exactly had impacted his mind to such an extent that he had given up firecrackers. He was seven at that time. And I didn’t see that he was depressed – though he felt upset that his friends and even grown-ups didn’t listen to him and stop lighting firecrackers because it involved child labour! We told him that he should not get upset if they didn’t listen to him but try telling them all the same and that he need never touch a firecracker again if he didn’t want to.

I didn’t want to argue with her at that time, especially since she was a guest. But I wondered then and I wonder now, if we are trying to shield our children too much from the realities of life. So much so that,  I often wonder if children of well-to-do families even pause to look at the poorer children around them – the children of the maids, the beggar children on the streets, the ‘mundus’ employed with such callousness by their parents or neighbours. Not just see them, but look at them as children like them, who are not so fortunate as they are.

I can understand the need to protect children from visuals of violence and perversion that are aired and published with such impunity by the irresponsible media. But the plight of the poor and powerless is not something that needs to be kept hidden from our children. How else would they come to know of the other side of the society? Wouldn’t they grow up into believing that only Chhota Bhim and Dora’s world are real and cute and the maid’s child is ‘dirty’ ? And wouldn’t they thus grow into insensitive adults who shun such realities to avoid being ‘depressed’?

I know of even adults who avoid looking at or reading about anything ‘depressing’ (meaning reality) and prefer living in a utopian world where there is no sorrow or want. Is it any wonder that they don’t teach their children the value of empathy?

When I was a little girl, I remember being told that if I wasted any food, the goddess Annapurani would sit on the banks of the Ganga and weep (she is the goddess who supposedly feeds the world). The mere thought of the goddess weeping would make me finish all the food on my plate without any fuss. I could not imagine inflicting the pain on someone. I know such things are passe in today’s parenting, so I don’t think I am advocating it.

I remember a friend telling me: ‘I told my son he should not waste any food as there are so many starving children in the world, he replied that I should give it to those children, instead of forcing him to eat.’ She had used his own suggestion to make him learn the value of sharing with the less fortunate ones and feeding the hungry. Apparently he had begun looking at the poor with compassion after that episode.

Xtreme Childhood — Courtesy Deepak Amembal

I am told that brats today often turn around and ask their parents, ‘Why did you have me if you can’t give me the things I want?’ And many parents feel guilty about that! I am truly appalled. Whatever happened to telling stories to our children about being thankful for not having shoes while there are some who have no feet? Or would that put ‘negative’ feelings in them? I used to tell my children that story ad nauseam. And when they grew a little older they also got to hear the phrase, ‘there go I, but for the grace of God,’ when we saw some unfortunate child in tatters or hungry and cold. The term God can be substituted by anything you like – luck, good fortune, karma…, but the gist remains the same. It helps children appreciate what they have that much more and also look at those who don’t have what they do. And let me tell you, it certainly will not make them depressed as many imagine.

Though poverty, the fortunate and the less fortunate — have all always been there, the gulf between the two is wider now. Our outlook has changed. Our priorities have changed. In our quest for advancement, we have donned blinkers and so have lost the peripheral vision that encompasses the larger picture of society. We would rather look towards those who are better off than us and crib and feel compelled to equal or outdo them – in our jobs, our children’s education, assets, achievements and what not — but wouldn’t bring ourselves to look at those who have less than us in every respect.

Children learn by observing their elders. One of my neighbours proudly talks of her five-year-old son asking their maid not to bring her toddler to their home because she is dirty and cries a lot and that he ‘can’t’ share his toys with her. This same woman haggles with the woman selling vessels and other stuff in exchange for old clothes. They are very well to do people with the husband running a successful business. When the child sees his mother doing this instead of giving them away to their maid or other needy people, how can he be expected to share his toys with the maid’s child? More importantly, what kind of person will he grow up into?

It is not just enough to teach children to share with the needy, but to do it with love and empathy. The giving should be born out of caring, to enjoy seeing the happiness of the receiver and not just as a dole, which might just make the giver feel good but not make another human being happy to receive it. The giving can be the time, the energy, material things – or just love but the children should learn the joys of sharing them.

Charity with a heart is noble, but without that, it is reduced to merely alms and hence demeaning to the receiver. Read about my grandparents’ wonderful gift of sharing with the less fortunate here.

We often assume the superior stature of the benefactor and look down on the beneficiaries as lesser human beings in some way, or as objects of pity if not contempt.  We feel self-congratulatory when we give them our discards and left-overs. We talk proudly of how we ‘allow’ them some privileges in our homes. We do it with lots of arrogance and superiority. And then we talk of how ‘ungrateful’ they are and do not ‘appreciate’ our gestures. In our superior status of ‘givers’ we forget that they are not beggars, but people who have simply not had our good luck or opportunities since they were born on the other side of the fence. This is what we need our children to see and learn about the society and the world at large.

 

Images  courtesy: Homepage: opportunityindia.org. This page: http://mumbai-eyed.blogspot.com/

113 comments

  1. The thing that freaks me out most is households that employ children to clean and cook and then, ill-treat them for the most trivial reasons. I am lucky I grew up learning to be compassionate and luckier that my son is, too. 🙂 I too grew up with stories of Annapurni being sad.

    With all the awareness, it is so sad to see that for some people, core habits don’t change. I’ve noticed how parents change channels or shoo their kids off the room at the slightest sign of scenes like the one you described. Heaven knows that children learn so much more outside the house when they interact with their school mates and friends and shielding them under false assumptions makes no sense.

    Economic disparities is such a hurtful thing. I am thinking of those who will spend hundreds on a pizza and waste half of it, while pushing away someone who has no idea where the next meal will come from.

    Such a beautiful post. Who will change them?

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    1. I don’t know who will change them, Vidya, and it upsets me no end. Doing my bit assuages the guilt a little bit but it is too small to make any difference. I sometimes wish there were a giant eraser that can erase the years after our Independence and that we put a different system in place that took care of inclusive development to create an equal nation — well at least somewhat equal nation.

      We have skewed sense of priorities and yardsticks for raising kids. That should change too.

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      1. True. I fantasize about that giant eraser too. And look at the news headlines – so utterly saddening and gross. It is the real world we live in. Just endorses my belief that for my part, I’ll try my best to be loving and kind.

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  2. This is such a beautiful post! Heartily agree with everything you say. I have seen parents like that too – who want to shield their children from all that is ‘bad’ in the world. Who is to judge what is good and what is bad?

    I had been thinking of the very same thing after noticing a few incidents around me. Wasn’t able to give a coherent form to my thoughts, but you have put it across so beautifully. I would love to come to you with my parenting dilemmas when we get around to being parents. If you will allow it, of course. 🙂

    Well, the incidents that I noticed and which left me with mixed feelings are:

    1. I know of a parent who will not allow her children to eat outside or play outside for fear that their health will be affected. She doesn’t even have a TV in the house so that the kids do not get exposed to it. Is this a good or bad practice? Is it right to not let a kid watch TV or eat out AT ALL? What is wrong if it is done in moderation? How else will the child get exposed to different tastes, or different ways of life? How else will they know of the world outside their homes?

    2. I have read of a lot of parents who do not take their kids to malls because they want to buy all the stuff over there, and stuff in malls is expensive. I am no one to judge the choices that parents make for their children, but I couldn’t stop wondering at this – What would I have done in such a situation? Is that the right thing to do? Is it better not to take a kid to a mall at all, or take him/her and teach them the value of money by helping them select the right things to buy and not buy?

    3. The mother of a 6-7-year old remarked that she feels embarrassed when an advertisement for a sanitary pad comes up on TV, and her son is watching it. Her curious son wants to know what is the ad all about. Is it better to shield the child from such ads or inform them, in a child’s terms, about the workings of the human body? And if you do shield your children from such ads and information you don’t want them to know about, won’t they come to know on their own, from other not-so-reliable sources? Wouldn’t you rather talk to them clearly yourself?

    4. The mother of a 7-8-year old was embarrassed when her daughter asked her about the trailer of Vicky Donor. She wanted to know what the film was all about. The mother was of the opinion that such blatant trailers shouldn’t be shown on TV. Is that the right way to go about things?

    Would love to know your opinion on these issues.

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    1. Hey, I am just a grandmother who has raised two boys, not a professional parenting expert 🙂 As I never tire of saying, every child is different and needs to be handled individually just keeping the main points in mind. The mother who is cocooning her children is doing a disservice to her children since they would catch an infection at the drop of a hat and would run away from anything sad or sordid, unable to face it. In short, they would be misfits in society. As for trailers of A films, I agree with the mother that these should be shown only during late hours. But when shows like Big Boss are aired for all children to watch, what can one say? Children of 7 and 8 need not get such ‘lessons’ from the TV. The parents of course can regulate what is being watched, can’t they?

      The sanitary napkin thing used to irritate me a lot when my boys were young too and since we used to get magazines at home, they could see them in print too. So I had explained about them in the language they would understand and what would satisfy them. otherwise, they would just learn it all wrong from other sources, you are so right about it.

      I agree that parents should expose their children to all experiences with proper perspectives so that they can understand their circumstances and their parents’ principles and follow them. And this includes the mall experiences too. I sure would love to be in touch with you and exchange our views and perspectives. 🙂

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  3. This is what I call hitting the nail on the head! The world today is increasingly getting mired in selfishness and self centeredness but seldom do we stop to ponder and ask the reason, why? This post does just that and kudos to you for raising this topic!

    I recall whenever my grandfather used to give something and the other person used to thank him back, he always said – ‘Why do you thank me, what have I done. Its HE (re: God) who is giving, you who are taking it; I am just acting as the medium.’ That is what my mom inherited once she came here and we kids heard this statement invariably over and over again right from a very young age.

    It feels so good to be here after such a long time and what a welcome I’ve had, a brilliant post (as always) and a topic close to my heart! 🙂

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    1. Hey, it is nice to see you back 🙂 When I see your name, I remember the smile that goes with it and it brings a smile to my face too 😀

      Spiritual lessons used to start early when we were children. But even today there are many parents who subtly teach these little life lessons in their daily interactions with their children, which is why we still have many young people, parents especially who are raising their children to be empathetic human beings. The concept of God is so beautiful if used properly. Unfortunately, it is being hijacked by the mercenaries of religion and many youngsters are losing faith in faith per se. I know you will be a great parent when you become one 😀

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  4. The last para left me wincing. A benefactor is not necessarily superior but simply a tool to alleviate the misery of the less fortunate.

    Hoping that I’ve been able to raise a daughter capable of empathy.

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    1. Alas, Purba! That is not how the ‘superior benefactor’ feels while giving away something. And the worst part is, the receiver can sense that and feels either cheapened or brazen. The former, when they are not beggars and the latter when they are. I am sure Tee is a warm hearted girl. So don’t worry. 🙂

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  5. BlogwatiG · · Reply

    Super post Zephyr and yes I could see a dozen parents swimming in front of my eyes as suitable candidates for every rightly made accusation. I don’t blame the kids because the parents have let them to be that way! It is us who nurture them. A simple example of this is my daughter, she once asked me to buy something random from a mall when she was 4. I refused as she did not need it. She did not throw a tantrum but kept trying her luck every time we visited a mall and I never relented. Now she is all of 10. She never asks me for anything unless she knows she needs it. I know of kids in her school who insist on having a Mercedes just because their friends own one. The sad part is the goddamn parents oblige! So if the kids are not turning out the way they should, it is because the parents are screwing them up. Birthday parties are lavish………and how. Two years back, my daughter did not take gifts from her friends, instead we asked for stationary to be gifted and then donated the same to needy kids. She enjoyed that bit. I am not saying to completely not indulge the kids, but yes within parameters and boundaries or else they won’t know to respect rules or work within frameworks in the future.

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    1. That’s the way to go about it. Be firm and don’t change the rules if it is the same kind of thing. That way the children get the message faster, even if they do throw a tantrum (you were lucky she didn’t 🙂 ) We want to anesthetise our children so much fearing a contamination of their bodies and minds that we forget that we are making them highly vulnerable to not only germs but also harsh realities. They become so fragile especially that they go to pieces when they ultimately come fact to face with them or at least turn completely indifferent because they can’t relate to it in a real way. I see many parents doing this — asking for contributions for a cause instead of gifts. What a wonderful way to teach sharing! Children choose their own boundaries in these matters and make us proud, believe me 🙂

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  6. […] another lesson in compassion and I was thrilled to experience it especially after just having read Zephyr’s post about it. Rate this:Share this:TwitterDiggEmailFacebookMorePrintStumbleUponRedditLike this:LikeBe […]

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  7. Zephyr ,the syndrome you mention in the post is so much more prevalent in Delhi.
    Kids reared with no contact with the real world in real life settings probly turn blind to the misery of others while having a heightened sense of entitlement .

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    1. I liked the term, ‘sense of entitlement.’ It is as if their birthright to ride roughshod over everyone to be up there, first, and unchallenged. And no Varsha, it is not a Delhi phenomenon. It can be seen in other metros, smaller towns and even villages. The divide is too deep and no one is bothered.

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  8. It’s so true that children need to be sensitized towards the harsh realities. It’s the responsibility of the family and parents to do this consciously and not wait for life to unfurl the parallel world that exists.

    However, I have seen a new generation of children who are more sensible than their parents and can teach a lesson or two to their folks about being compassionate towards others. And it’s not just about being compassionate towards the less fortunate ones but towards strangers, friends and acquaintances as well. Parents today are so protective of their children that they keep them in the cocoon for far too long. They are almost blinded by selfishness of keeping their children away from anything that can be a possible sore sight. But children today grow up faster than the parents know and sometimes look deeper than they ought to.

    Just yesterday I saw a man of 25 yrs standing with an older man, his father’s age alongside me on the road. We were all waiting for an auto rickshaw. It was about to rain. When an empty one came, the boy and I made way for the older man to take the auto. However, the auto-wallah declined to go where the old man wanted to go and looked at the boy, with inquiring eyes. He agreed to take the boy to the said destination. But our young man was feeling so guilty in going away and keeping an old man waiting, he insisted that he drop the old man half way. When the old man politely refused with a smile on his face, the young chap insisted that he should drop the old man.. “at least somewhere, sir..”

    Sharing wealth and riches with others may not be possible always and sometimes that is not what other are seeking from us. Just being respectful and kind to those who we come in contact with also counts a great deal. And that’s what we should teach our children too. Or probably learn from them!

    The old man could not refuse and sat in the auto with a smile in his eyes.

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    1. I understand what you are trying to say, Swati. First of all, we need to have empathy for our fellow beings regardless of their status and then the differences in status will automatically disappear. Ah, but the likes of the young man you have spoken about are so few and far between that sometimes I despair. We are all too busy to bother about our fellow beings aren’t we? I have seen older women push children to get in first into lifts in public buildings and fathers talking rudely to the gardener or watchmen in front of their children, underlining their ‘superior’ status. How then can the young ones learn? Maybe the courteous ones have parents who behave civilly thereby having passed on the legacy of love. And the chain of kindness gets stronger with every act of kindness. 🙂

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  9. This post really resonated with me, Zephyr. I don’t have kids but I’m often startled at parents who bring up children to be so insensitive to the plight of the poor, especially poor children. I can never forget the sight of a five year old girl all dressed up and going to the bus stop and her bag being carried by a poor child in tattered clothes who look exactly the same age!

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    1. You can see that in countless households across the country, Corinne. We don’t value human beings as human beings but want a price and status tag on them to evaluate them. I have seen children who are younger than their ‘masters’ and the sight turns my stomach big time. I guess I will share the post I had written about this, next.

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  10. I love to read the discussion on your posts as much as I love to read your posts, Zephyr. And what a wonderful thread this has been. It’s funny, isn’t it that parents (some of them at least) have no qualms about buying violent video games for their children, but would want to shield their children from the realities of an unequal society. I also feel that the concept of empathy is linked to the idea of sharing. If children are not encouraged to share, they will never develop empathy for someone who is deprived.

    I do know that parents have to show the lead towards sensitising their children, but I’d like to share an instance where the child was instrumental in sensitising the family. This child, is an only child and a fairly grounded one at that. From an early age she liked reading newspapers, and human interest stories was something that she always appealed to her. She harangued her parents to contribute money for people/causes, till it became part of their household monthly budget. Today, she is 18 and is working part-time in an NGO for children. She has donated 50% of first salary for a child who needed open heart surgery. She has actually been an inspiration for my family. Yes, she is my niece. 🙂

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    1. That is a wonderful example of the child taking the lead. And I am sure that if your brother and bhabhi had stopped her from reading those human interest stories, she might not have understood the concept of deprivation and want. What a lovely niece you have Sudha! This post is unearthing a lot of such children even on other forums. Violence in games and films is ‘allowed’ by parents probably because of the unreal nature of these. But poverty is real and has to be faced. So they want to shield their children from it, I guess. How I wish more children were like your niece. And hey, she wouldn’t have done what she has, had your family not been grounded. So ultimately, in an indirect way, you have all had a hand in her sensitization 🙂

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  11. Hi sister,

    Great. You have touched the heart of an issue which in actual fact is only the feet of the torpid system that defines what India is. Have you noticed the foremost Indian spirit of existence is decided by the me- and the -other syndrome. My individuality is projected on the basis of not who I am but how i am distinct from the other in terms of everything that I can conjure up in this world.:)).

    Children learn by example, not by words. yes there was an India a sensible India before it was swallowed up by a corrupt religious madness. Teachings of that time says treat your child like a king; respect him or her, her personality means he or she is already a person a thinking person in its own way.

    But the adults/parents of India who think they know everything think they can create a vicious prototype of themselves in their child. In fact they think that is in fact parenthood, and nationhood. Poor children. What a punishment to go through such a maddened situation.

    I am living actually between two countries- the other country is south Africa that has become free from the most atrocious apartheid. That was in 1994. in less than twenty years what this country has achieved in terms of nation building based on humanity and human respect, Indian at this rate will never achieve. Because India has no leaders either at homes, society or at the nation level.

    sorry, if my words are strong, it is only out of my frustration. What I consider the biggest asset in my life is that my children got the opportunity to grow up in this country. They are two people, two individuals. We parents alone could not have done that.

    thanks a lot for your post. gave me a chance to express my opinion :)))

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    1. The me and the other syndrome is a very pertinent point. We have assumed identities either of our making or of others’ making and subject our relationships to this personality. If you look at the world, all countries that got independence along with us or even after us have made great progress, excpet maybe our neighbours and even here, I would not include Sri Lanka. So it is little wonder that SA is way ahead in development at least in the human scale. We are not yet fully out of the caste system and here we have created a new apartheid — the poor — who are untouchable in so many respects. Thanks for your comment. Why not blog about it and link it back. We already have four posts in the chain and could add to it. 🙂

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  12. well, i personally feel that most of the parents are too possessive about theirr kids these days…and this is not something needed….and its all bcoz there is an increasing trend of nuclear family these days and kids somehow miss proper parenting as in most of the cases both of their parents are working and in turn what they have for their kids is money and a lavish life there is no one to teach moral values of life to these kids…….whatever may be the shortcomings of a joint family but when it comes to upbringing a child, there is nothing better than that bcoz here that child learns to share his things with others….

    A wonderful post by you….. 🙂

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    1. Thanks for your comment Irfan 🙂 Parents are becoming very possessive indeed and one of the reasons is that they opt for single child families. When I see some mothers today who dote on their children I wonder how they will behave when the children get married. The same young women who crib about mama’s boys would certainly be such mamas themselves, don’t you think? As for the demise of joint families, it is a truth of the times but I wouldn’t blame its demise as the sole cause of children growing up without empathy, rather their parents also having grown up insensitive. Growing up with cousins and relatives is of course, the best solution, but alas, there are too many factors hindering this.

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  13. Wow.. Truly outstanding post! There are so many life lessons here for all of us to imbibe. You brought out the deep undercurrent that has always been a bane for our society. Most people love to say they are very considerate and empathize with poor but deep down they always consider themselves superior. This is a sad truth most people know but don’t want to hear. Most people would prefer to pay any price for articles in a mall or outlet without a single question or grumble but would pride themselves of haggling and striking a bargain with the poor vegetable vendor or road side shop wala.

    I have always believed and have at many times argued that our society is moving more and more towards materialism which is the root cause of us giving importance to people’s financial and social status much more than their value status. Though I am digressing from the crux of your post, you had shed ample light on the aspect of being human which is getting less and less prevalent. Helping someone should bring you happiness and not just a boasting opportunity. The smile of the person you are helping should matter more than the praise of your neighbor.

    And you brought out the essence of good parenting. Our children will see what we show them and will become what we make them. We should let see the world as it is (agree with filtering of certain essentials as you mentioned) and become aware and sensitive to everything around and to have compassion in their hearts for everyone. We should try to raise them to become good humans in this world. Your post is a great eye opener indeed and is a priceless guide to one and all.

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    1. Lives are becoming insular, individualistic and success driven. None of these are conducive for looking at others and empathising. There is no time, no inclination or even atmosphere for the same. And yet we propagate this, rooting for nuclear families and success at all costs asking for more and more. Little wonder then that children are growing up so selfish and intolerant. Far from poverty making them depressed, it is the rejection of their wants that makes today’s children depressed enough to assault and even kill — themselves or others. It is a very sad thing, isn’t it? And yes, in this scheme of things, status plays a great part. when parents buy gifts for their children’s friends’ birthday parties, they take special care of this fact and the children are getting lessons from them!

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  14. Nice post. I like this new initiative of government making it mandatory to admit poor children in every school. I principle I agree with this move in spite of all criticism.

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    1. And to think that when we and even our children were growing up, there was not so much of a divide, at least in schools. The presswala’s son was my son’s classmate and they shared notes. Today we have to make rules and regulations to get the slum kid into an ‘international school!’

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  15. Kudos for writing such a detailed post.Hiding the harsh realities from the kids will do more harm than exposing them to the real world scenes.

    More about it,you can read it here
    http://heyithinkthisway.wordpress.com/2010/07/12/irresponsible-spoiled/

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    1. Read and also posted a comment there, Bhavia 🙂 How have you been? Missed you here!

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      1. I’m doing great Zephyr 🙂
        Happy to know that you did miss me around..a lot of posts pending to read..weekend tasks 🙂

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        1. Of course I miss you. Did you know that I read all your blog posts? 🙂

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          1. OMG!!
            that’s an honor..
            thanks a ton!!
            rest of the conversation offline 😉

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  16. Hi Zephyr

    That was a straight from the heart post…Very touching and thought provoking…In a way kids that grow outside of our country I mean the NRI ones dont get to see much of the hardships in society which we grew up witnessing….I totally agree….Empathy and Love within our hearts will lead to everything else needed. Its very important to mould the next generation with the same, as you said. And loved that fact about your son saying No to fireworks…..A pat on his back from me 🙂

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  17. Children learn from actions more than from sermons and lectutures. We’ve to lead by example. If we as elders show care and sensitivity tor the less privileged, our children will certainly grow up realising the importance of such values.
    Brilliant post !

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  18. It is important to explain the situation to a kid. One cannot hide or protect a child from exposure to certain situations. The media is so relentless in bringing all the negative stories, a child will always get exposed.

    Apart from the exposure to TV channels etc, the behaviour by parents also impacts and gets imprinted in the child ego state. So it is important to explain the context, lest something negative gets imprinted in the subconscious of the child.

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    1. Welcome here Sabyasachi. Children are very good at grasping and holding on to things. They only need to be pointed in the right direction, but if the parents are not concerned or are insensitive themselves, it becomes difficult. Jas and Indu’s comments are proof of this. Nothing negative can come out of empathy. If a child wants to share his toys or sweets with another child, what is wrong? We teach them to ‘share’ jams and cakes with friends and family, why can’t we do the same with the son of the maid or the urchin on the road?

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  19. We need more grandmothers like you around 🙂

    When I have kids, I nominate you as the godmother 😀

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    1. You mean god-grandma 🙂

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    2. In the earlier generation people had more time to spare. They taught their children the right values, spend time with them, showed them right from wrong.

      I cannot generalize, but a growing trend in this generation is that parents have more money and less time to spare. The guilt is assagued by giving kids money to spend – more money than they know what to do with. In the process, the kids lose out on the actual learning that should help them get through life. It’s sad really.

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      1. God-grandma … yep 🙂 I stand corrected.

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  20. What a brilliant post Nag aunty! I am going to email it to a few relatives 🙂

    I agree kids are shielded from reality and made to believe that they live in a utopian world. At the same time I feel they should be made to face it at appropriate time.

    An elderly relative passed away some months back. Our family didn’t let his grandson see him. Would you call that shielding from reality? I am in two minds about this.

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    1. You know Maddie, we used to talk about god and how when people die, they go to god or become stars in the sky. But today, we don’t believe in such parenting, but want to explain things in detail to the child which the child might not be in a position to understand and so we pick and choose things to expose them to. Which is not a wise or correct thing to do. Death can be explained as I have told above. Likewise poverty and hunger which can be simply explained.

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  21. Well written mam. You know this is what makes me angry and I feel say people are hypocrite.. they will employ a mundu a kid to do there work but won’t want there own son to go through it, but then talk about child labour.. I find it so wrong…
    It’s like I have seen many families hire a girl to look after the baby , if a family goes for an outing the maid comes to look after the baby as parents can’t enjoy if baby is there.. why they had the baby in first place..

    True we are shielding our kids a lot, parents are and shud be responsible for their child always, a child picks from parents a lot. I hate wasting food and I make it a point to point it out to kids even if I am a guest at someone’s house.

    But most people will donate some money AND want their name to be told , why I ask them.. as such I believe that when we give money majority of it is used up for personal benefit by charity organizations.. but that’s my personal belief.

    In UK currently their is a very good thing going on of fostering a kid for some time or help a family to foster a kid. Which is very good I think if one can’t do it 100% like me I spend all the time out working etc.. they can help a family who can foster but don’t have resources… I am aure you would have seen lot of billboard here..

    Like

    1. Foster parenting is a great way of integrating the various sections of society, but the need for this is not poverty, but another malady of the society — broken homes. But the fact remains that we tend to look down on the less fortunate thinking of ourselves as something superior, which we are not. That is the reason why the donors want their names in marbles and newspapers.

      Like

  22. Wonderful post!

    Teaching the children that It is not giving but sharing with others , less fortunate than us, will go a long way. If the parents are compassionate and sharing the children learn directly.

    Instead we find adults setting a bad example, by excluding them from watching about poor, or sheltering them , bringing them up in unreal world.

    I have also seen people who do not allow,(shut the doors of the kitchen/dining) the maid/their children near the kitchen during meal times. 😦

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    1. That is the most horrible thing to do — shutting the door and all. It is as bad as giving them poor or stale food. I routinely give my maid fruits that we eat since I know she can never afford to buy and eat them.

      Adults should set the example, but if they themselves are insensitive, then? Time for a crash course in empathy. Any takers?

      Sorry Pats, the comment had somehow gone into spam and I just rescued it. 🙂

      Like

      1. Yeah, sometimes the comments go into spam! I am tech challenged, so I simply look in spam and retrieve.:-).
        Your page also does not open directly. There must be something wrong in my gmail inbox:-)

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  23. Your post is one-sided. Showing one side of the fence to the kids doesn’t mean that we are on the other side. we’re required to be the fence and teach them how to grow as an individual with required amounts of empathy, compassion, tolerance, and sober stuff like that to keep him rooted to the ground. But what is the use? A good individual is born out of an open mind – open, immune to popular opinion, and capable of being self-driven.
    drawing parallels to our society now, we have children who sure are self-driven, but they’re not immune to popular opinion, there by causing a serious lack of empathy. the foundation for this is laid out neatly by the closed atmosphere by parents, the reasons for which could be many. they could be over cautious leading to a scenario as you’ve described, or could be simply naive and forced into parenthood by their parents, who again, fall into the category that you’ve described.
    So, please make sure that the child is rooted to the ground, while (s)he’s able to let his/her mind fly in the air. A mind that can see the world at large and a foot that can only cross the path available, can render the child sensitive and still be handle all those sensitivities by oneself.

    PS : your plugin that disables selecting and copying text has made editing the comment a pain, difficult to forget!

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    1. That is very good. We should be the fence, but the fences are already being perpetuated by society and like untouchability earlier, poverty today divides the society neatly into two. I agree that those who had learnt this apartheid continue with it, but shouldn’t some generation break it? Didn’t we have reformers doing it for us? Only, we need economists to bring this change. I am sorry about the copy paste feature, but I had some company lifting my blog posts and putting them up as their own not that this might stop plagiarism, but at least we hope to reduce it. Please bear with me.

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      1. We humans are prone to divide and rule. So, your rant is not without reason. Religious reformers were successful cementing a lot of craters in the Indian Society. Although large number of noticeable cracks remain, education and emergence of broad-mindedness are closing those cracks slowly.
        But Money is a bigger evil than Religion. Religious superiority was just in the minds of people and could be reasoned with, as being born in a particular religion isn’t our choice. But a pun goes like “if your dad is poor, it ain’t your fault, but if your father-in-law is, then it IS your fault.”
        Rather than opportunity, skill and hard work that make a person rich, it is only the money that lures others and creates the gap. The younger the child is when exposed to this lure, greater the risk.

        I have had a good time reading your blog and commenting on it. So, I can bear with you. Glad that the Paste feature works.. at least! 🙂

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        1. Hey Su, that was not a rant but an angst ridden call from the gut. Unfortunately poverty is being treated as something of an apartheid though the divide between the rich and the poor has been created by ‘development’ and ‘progress’.

          And thanks for liking my blog enough to bear with me 😀

          Like

  24. Brilliantly thoughtful.
    I feel really frustrated when people merge charity and alms and sing about it loud. Wprse is when they expect returns..yes they do.

    It is in our country that poeple engrave marbles with their names and amount donated to be plaqued on temple walls. Start scholarships with the name tag. Strange but true.

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    1. Even charity is losing its heart but only for commemorating their names and deeds for posterity. Alms of course gives the giver a sense of superiority or a feeling of pity for the receiver.

      Like

  25. All parents should read this. We need to build awareness of the inequities that we have allowed to grow into our system and the best time to do this is during childhood. The discussions and posts that have spun off the volunteering posts are extremely important if we want to reverse the damage we have caused. Thanks for putting it so beautifully and powerfully. And best wishes for today too!

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    1. We have awareness camps for a lot of things. Has anyone thought of doing an awareness camp — not a visit to the slum — to make children come face to face with their poor counterparts? How talented they are, how much they struggle and so on. Children can be very compassionate if they are given the right inputs. I can only write personal posts but professionals like Bhavana can do wonders. Good to have you here Subho. And best wishes for today???

      Like

      1. i was under the impression that 26th was a special day for you. something i noticed in an older discussion thread.

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        1. You are not only perceptive but have a great memory too 🙂 Yes, it was, thank you 😀

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  26. One thing I’m indebted to my parents for, we were never allowed to call the maid or other household help by their names. They were always called didi and bhaiya and accorded the respect those terms carry. There was no question of treating them as lesser beings because of the work they do. DD’s school insists that the school custodian’s name be prefaced with a Mr. When you accord a title to an individual you automatically learn to respect them

    The annapurni story, DD’s heard it several million times. She’s also been told that if she doesn’t like what’s being cooked she’s welcome to go out, earn a living and cook for herself. That always does the trick. All parents should be required to take training on how to raise sensitive, caring, empathetic individuals. When the job’s given to us without a check on our being qualified to do the same, the least we can do is make ourselves capable of the job.

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    1. How true! Parenting is no more a learn by trial thing. So unless one is fully capable of handling another human being one should not bring it into the world. that apart, like learning to drive and doing other things, one can also get training in sensitivity. I must ask Bhavana for that post! And I loved your advice to DD to earn and cook for herself 🙂

      Like

  27. beautiful post, Zephyr!! i told samhith that annapurna would cry if he wasted food too..and then of course, our maids kids come home all the time, so he does know that they never have enough so he is not supposed to waste stuff…. and it did work…. till he also came up with the same idea as ur friends kid… dont give me so much food then or food i dont like. give it to those kids who have no food! and we have already entered the phase of ‘there, but for the grace of god, go I”

    i let him read and see whatever is around, but usually talk to him about it….yet there are times it backfires! and how!! we had been reading something about child labour in the papers and he asked me what it was.. so i explained….. he seemed to understand, though it didnt have much of an impact.. probably because i was telling him, and he wasnt seeing it on tv like your son did…. but about a month later, he was at a friends place and her kid, about 3 yrs younger,,, was bored and clearing out her cupboard…she finished that, and asked her mom for something else to do… so she gave her some other work to do…. and this chap gets up and says ” you are making her do your work, so this is child labour!” we were all stunned and didnt know what to say for a moment… it was only after a while that i remembered our conversation, and asked him why he had said that… and he says… if i do something by myself, its all right, but if u make me do something, then it should be child labour, na? even if you dont pay me, you are forcing me to do what i dont want to do!!!! hows that for a 9 year olds logic?? well, anyways, we then had another looooong discussion on the subject, but god alone knows what he has taken from that one!

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    1. Why a nine year old, many ‘inspectors’ of child labour do the same and boost up the figure even when there is none. I know he must have heard from someone about it that one should not be forced to do work for I know the kind of parent you are and would take all precaution to explain things properly. I am sure that he will learn all right by looking at you and learning from your values. 🙂

      Like

  28. AlkaGurha · · Reply

    True, children love by observing their elders. Such a sensitive post about sensitizing our children towards those who are not so privileged. One has to feel for such issues to create awareness.

    Like

    1. Creating awareness among parents seems to be in order now considering the kids are learning from them. 🙂

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  29. Zephyr, what a wonderful post.

    I started the comment, which threatened to become a post. So I did a post on my blog instead.

    Passing on ….

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    1. Read and commented too. Why don’t you provide a link to this post as I have linked Bhavana’s posts?

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      1. The link to this post was already there in the first line of my post !

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        1. Shuck, sorry for missing it 🙂

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  30. You said it Zephyr!
    Wonder how many readers squirmed while reading this. 🙂

    Bravo!!

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    1. If they squirmed, there is still hope for our country and its people. Thanks for the image. It is beautiful. 🙂

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  31. Brilliant! Powerful!! Thought provoking!!!

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    1. Thank you Amit.

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  32. Very true zephyr, we need to make children exposed to both poor and rich, so they know how much privileged they are.. in fact it is in my mind for long long too.. I wanted to make sure that, I take my daughter to orphanage on her every b’day, and provide one day meal there, and give off all her that year toys and clothes. So, she will learnt sharing, and also know importance of giving away..

    Other day I saw my colleague’s daughter demanding doll house. Her mother said she didn’t have money. But the daughter says, chalo take the car, we can withdraw in ATM (there is an understanding that when both the parents work, they don’t run short of money). Later it was difficult to make her understand that she won’t get everything what she demands, they are so many under privileged people around..

    Like

    1. no reply to my comment alone..:(

      please accept my this award to u..

      http://ashreyamom.wordpress.com/2012/06/29/first-award-2/#comment-504

      Like

      1. I am so sorry Ashreyamom. I really don’t know how I missed the two comments, while I had replied the other one of yours. And thanks for the award. Hope it doesn’t involve tagging anyone, because I find that hard. 🙂

        Like

    2. We are actually to blame when we try to give our children a lot of things — gifts, eats and clothes — so that they have no value for them anymore. And they think that all they need to do is to demand and get it. Your idea of celebrating her birthday in an orphanage is wonderful,for that would not only make her understand the value of sharing and her being better off, but also make the kids look forward to her birthday next year, which is actually a lot of positive vibes 🙂 Giving away toys and clothes regularly with her knowledge also is a good way.

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  33. Zephyr, I had mentioned on Bhavana’s post and am repeating again that ‘ Walking the talk’ is more important by anyone who wants to be a part of social activity or even sensitizing children. Rarely parents do so and where they do, the children also emulate and carry on the tradition. I feel sensitizing the adults and correcting their perceptions and beliefs is far more important and the rest would fall in place!You have already touched most of the aspects already:)

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  34. Zephyr ,coming from you,no post can be anything but excellent.This one comes with an uncanny timing with what i see every day in a park in front of my home.Children are being given karate classes every evening.Right nearby are the jhuggies of some construction laborers -their small children watch from a distance,one is intrepid enough to go nearer.If only the organizer of this class had called these children over,perhaps they could have been motivated to aspire for a better standard of personal care,and learnt some discipline.This would not have burdened her with any extra expense but perhaps the regular students would have turned up their noses & refused to come.She lost a valuable opportunity to inculcate some moral values in her students.I cannot interfere in her venture but i am still struggling as to how i can teach these kids some basic rules of hygiene first of all.I think luring them with attractive eatables is one way.What do you say ?

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    1. That was sad. She indeed lost a valuable opportunity to teach those kids some values. Maybe she was herself not so empathetic or maybe she was afraid of the parents’ reaction if she had. You certainly could teach them values of hygiene, but Indu, those kids might not even have the luxury of water to wash with or wash their clothes with 😦

      Like

      1. Zephyr those kids are SO dirty i have never seen any like them.I am willing to provide them soap & all but it is the inclination that is missing.Anyhow i shall keep trying.
        Thanks for your reply.

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  35. What a lovely post, Zephyr! And thought-provoking too.

    I agree that children are far too sheltered nowadays.

    Yes, I have had similar experiences with parents turning off television programmes which would ‘upset’ their kids.

    Some children from affluent families live in an air-conditioned home, travel in air-conditioned cars, study in air-conditioned schools, and spend their leisure time in air-conditioned malls. Living their ‘bubbled’ life, they do not even experience the summer heat! How can we expect them to know about children not from their own ‘circle’?

    Parents should teach their children to give- not just by telling them to do so but by being givers themselves. Charity benefits those who receive, but those who give benefit even more!

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    1. LOL they live in an antiseptic, air conditioned world and where want and hunger are not heard of. The servants and their children are their minions and so have no need for any empathy or even acknowledgement. Charity today benefits the givers in that 80 G certificate and the ‘feel good’ factor. It is about them, not those whom they are helping. Of course, I am not making a blanket statement here.

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  36. Parents must set an example of goodness and charity… how else will kids learn? They imbibe by example of those most significant to them.

    Like

    1. Exactly! That is why today’s trend of keeping away grandparents at by is worrying. They will be surely repeated by the children who are seeing it. Young parents forget that they will become old one day and even invalid. If they at least do not provide emotional support to their elders, they will be in the same boat in the not too distant future.

      Like

      1. Oh well…. I don’t support the joint family system, as it has the potential inspire more friction than good in today’s world. But yes, i DO believe that *both* the nana-nani and dada-dadi need lots of love, attention, care and support from the family. What we usually see in Indian families is only the nana-nani being kept at bay, which is not quite fair in my opinion.

        Do read my post on this at http://e-pinion.blogspot.in/2012/06/in-law-dilemma.html

        Like

        1. On the contrary, Ash. In single child families it is accepted that since the boys’ parents have been enjoying the benefits for so many centuries, it is the turn of the nana nanis to benefit and let the other set suffer. This is becoming more and more the norm today. Not that I am in favour of the joint family system, since I value my own time and freedom to live as I please. What the proponents are forgetting is that when the grandparents are really old, what will they do with them? Do what the Red Indians and Japanese did, perhaps? 😦

          Like

          1. My nana and nani lived with my mum and dad till they day they left this earth… my dad regarded them both as his parents, and we kids just adored them… Yes, I totally agree parents must be taken proper care of when they are too old to manage…. I can’t dream of leaving mine to fend for themselves.

            Your point that grandparents must be cared for is super and I stand by it…. What I object to is that dada and dadi get houseroom in Indian society, while nana and nani rarely do. Sad fact, but highly prevalent 😦 …. this generation needs to change that.

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  37. Few days back I was in the park and I saw two children pushing a poor kid away. I asked them why are you pushing him. And blatantly they said, “kyonki woh garib hai!” and these kids were just 5 and 6 year olds. I was appalled at how they got this in their head.

    Parents do that and as you said children learn from parents. It is also very important to teach children that charity does not mean to look lowly at the underprivileged. There should sensitivity and empathy instead of sympathy.

    I must say you have written it brilliantly and given me a lot of fodder for thought.

    Like

    1. Unfortunately, Jas, poverty is the new unaccountability factor in our country today and so I can understand how those kids pushed the poor kid away. We unconsciously do this kind of pushing away and the kids learn it, but when it is done purposely, one can imagine the damage it is causing.

      Like

  38. A must read for every parent to remind them of their responsibility in raising the kids. Wonderfully expressed as always. I know there are many parents who don’t want their kids to get exposed to the ‘depressed’ reality. I don’t know if I am doing the right thing, whenever my son fusses over something, I immediately say, there are 100s and 1000s of kids your age who don’t have these. So, be blessed. I think he is slowly understanding it as he is just 9. Now, he doesn’t argue when I repeat. I think, he thinks, she is going to quote the same examples anyway.
    Coming to wastage of food, as kids, we were never ever allowed to trash food. So, even if the food isn’t tasty at school, we were made to eat it after coming home. Now, I see that I don’t waste a grain. I follow the same thing with my son. So, whenever he leaves food, he opens his lunch box in the car as soon as we pick him up and starts eating without a word. He knows he wont get dinner without finishing it.
    And my 3 yr old who is on a vacation in India right now, hugs and plays with our watchman’s kids the whole day and am absolutely happy about it. Whenever I call her, she says, she’s playing with her fens(friends)..:) I hope she has the same attitude even when she grows up.
    Last but not least, the last para…I want to read it again and again. Sorry, if my comment is longer than your post..:) Loved it.

    Like

    1. Many parents do what you do and point out tp the kids that there are starving people in the world and so they shouldn’t waste food or be kind to them. As I have written about a friend in my post, that can even be the start of a journey of empathy. If your parents are allowing him to play with the watchman’s child, he is already getting the right values, so don’t worry 🙂 And Latha, comments, especially long ones are welcome. And look at Suranga! She has done a post on her blog!

      Like

  39. You hit the nail right on the head and I agree with you. Charity begins at home and parents need to teach their children compassion and love for the less fortunate. Shielding your child from the realities of life will only harm him/her as they will be so removed from reality.

    Like

    1. Such protected children not only are harmed by it, but also end up harming others as Renu has rightly pointed out. Charity but with a heart, begins at home 🙂

      Like

  40. First of all, a post from the heart and simply brilliant in the message it conveys. Charity or anything else always begins from home, and our foot soldiers are our children. Some points that I would like to share are:
    Do these parents have empathy to share in the first place? When we have the maalik approach towards our helpers or care givers, will children pick up anything more?
    Discipline is the bad word. Because, the parents are busy and the commitment lacks in parenting, it is money that they can shower not values.
    Values come from doing and not preaching! Kids will embody the things you do not the things you say.

    That said, I did not expose my elder son to the “realities” of life like female foeticide, women being ill treated etc. But, these days we have long discussions why the world is unequal. Why there are poor etc. The younger one is too young to understand these things at 5. I think each parent must first be sensitive themselves and then sensitize their kids. How they do it is up to us? I think this is the fourth post where I am saying that there is no one perfect method of parenting. And, there is no right age or right time to do certain things. I potty trained my child earlier, someone may do it later and that is perfectly okay too. Instead of judging methods, let us hope that the important values in child rearing are not missed out.

    About food being wasted, I use a simple strategy. I know by now what portions my kids have and who is the fussy eater. I give them a little less so that I can give a second helping if needed. I don’t want to push food down their throat by using threats or examples so that they start despising the very experience of eating. There might be times when they can’t finish all that is there on their plate, and that is okay too if it is not everyday. With obesity and bad eating habits, it is better to teach a child to listen to his stomach instead of overeating to finish all the food on his plate. Yes, I do tell them that kids go hungry or they see that there are many poor kids. But, since they have never experienced hunger or have been deprived, they don’t have the sensitivity yet towards understanding it. But, I am sure they will get there.

    Like

    1. I think I had italisized the para where I have said that shielding children from violence and perversity is perfectly ok but poverty doesn’t fall in its ambit. So female foeticide and such don’t fall in a child’s purview at all. But poor children and want certainly do. I know you will do the right thing at the right time, Rachna. As for wasting food, I should have made it clear that it is not about eating more than one can, but eating everything without fussing about disliking something. Of course again, I don’t mean disliking pasta or pancakes, but the basic dal chawal, roti. Wasting those is not on, since there is so much hunger around.

      Bhavana has indeed done a wonderful job with her posts and I merely connected the two, since this post was in the making for a long time. 🙂

      Like

  41. what you have written is so true..giving with heart is all that matters, and shielding children unnecessarily is making them a unfit in the society, thats the reason we read everyday about some child attempting a suicide because someone scolded him or some child killing someone in aggression.

    Like

    1. We are not only shielding our children, but also inflating their egos to monstrous proportions and so they turn suicidal and aggressive when their fragile egos are hurt.

      Like

  42. Brilliant post…something to be read by EVERY parent…you are a word magician Zephyr…I loved loved loved the way you have put across this point…

    The other day, a friend and I were talking about how kids now a days seem to have everything in life…so much that there is nothing to look forward to..like how we used to wait for our birthdays for new clothes or once in six months treat in the hotel 😦

    I wonder how parents shield their children from poverty pictures, but are absolutely ready to let them watch and play those violent games with gun shots and gory images??

    Like

    1. Agree RM, that parents have no qualms about their children watching everything except social realities. There is a hue and cry about gender issues, but is there anyone talking about the poor of this country? Are they something that can be wished away and which is why parents can’t see them and sensitise their children to their plight? And yes, parents have a great role in spoiling their kids with everything.

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  43. Often parents tend to over react to children being exposed to realities of life including fighting etc, forgetting that they come to know of those reality elsewhere say in school, play field or even in market place. Children have become sensitive and even a small cause of worry or failure makes them unsecure and depressed.

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    1. Children overreact and get depressed because they are so shielded from hardships and difficulties of life. So much so that they can’t take a scolding from their parents or teachers when they are disciplined. The parents should understand that they can’t shield them forever and are in fact taking away the coping capabilities of the child of which each one is naturally adapted to.

      Like

  44. Thank you so much for this post!!! I whole-heartedly agree with every aspect and would love to link to this in one of my later posts!
    I feel the same concern for my sons, especially since they are growing up in the US and have no concept yet about poverty. However, there are homeless people here too and when they are a bit older, I am determined to take them to the many volunteer programs so that they can see how there are so many people much less fortunate than themselves. I remember that when my older son visited India when he was 3, he was intrigued by all the poor children who came up to the car to beg; he could not imagine that they were actually without food, clothes and toys! I want to keep this awareness going and hopefully, compassion will follow.

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    1. I hope you had talked to your three year old child in the language he could understand about being nice to these poor children. Because that would stay with him even longer than the images. Did you know that in Israel, there is compulsory military training after school for all children> Before they go to college or take up a job, they come to India for a break. According one friend, many parents want them to come to India to get an experience pf life in all its glory and sordidness, so that they remain grounded.

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  45. Anilkumar Kurup · · Reply

    “I stooped crying that I had no shoes when I met a man without feet..”

    Condescending is part of the mean habit that people generally have.
    Your post has mentioned quite a few valid points. The parents in their false pride and vanity inject in children apathy to the plight of a fellow being.. They grow up lacking commiseration and empathy of hardship and suffering of the less privileged.
    Many people see women and men who do run errands and hose hold chores as a lot with gauche and are kept at bay. A kind of apartheid..

    Like

    1. It is the callousness of the parents that the children see and learn. They learn the prejudices, the hatred and the apartheid that you talk of. Which is why it is necessary to sensitise our children early in life, so that they learn empathy and care for those less fortunate than them. Unfortunately parents don’t understand the walking the talk as Rahul puts it.

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  46. This may look a bit illogical but I feel that life is the same in both sides of the fences. God created happiness, but he/she made it relative a concept. It is not like richer are always happier and poorer are always sad. Think about this: It takes a lot to make a rich person happy, but it takes so much little to make a poor person happy. That’s relativity. I love God for making happiness relative. Otherwise, some rich people would have ruled happiness with all their might, power and arrogance.

    Destination Infinity

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    1. This is not about happiness. We can all find happiness in many things and the poor are indeed happier than the rich under many circumstances. It is about empathy and love in our hearts for those who have less than us, instead of shunning them. No one can say that a man or a child can be singing happily on an empty stomach, can one? It is this kind of poverty and want that I am talking about. And yes, it is good that the money can’t buy happiness else all will be with the rich 🙂

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  47. Zephyr, who but you could have written this brilliant get-to-the-heart powerful post!!! It is so good that I had to read twice to suck in all the words and integrate into my system.
    Because this post tells us how change happens in the society–not through slogan shouting, protesting, signing internet campaigns, but quietly in the home, every day, every year as that future citizen develops under our eyes and in the shadow of our hearts.
    Because this post gets to to the root of exactly how equality is to be enacted in our lives–not by merely donating sums of money and bragging about it, not even by large scale volunteering, but by simply having empathy and love. When in our hearts the “other” has a space, all else eases. How not to cry when a poor unkempt man falls in the road and bleeds, how not to tremble when a child peeps and asks you to buy her goodies instead of going to school, how not to long to bring a twinkle in that cynical girl’s eyes…
    Thank you most humbly for mentioning my posts, Zephyr. Your post takes Rachna and my attempts to a more deeper and more fruitful level. At some level, our blogging is leading to more meaningful and more profound results. That gives so much joy, Zephyr! Thank you!

    Like

    1. Unfortunately, I see that even those who are educated and socially aware are not bothered about letting their children see the real world around them. They live in a cocoon and they are pulling their children into a cocoon too, to live cosily without being touched by anything unpleasant and bad and believe that they are doing the best for themselves and their children, even arguing that they have earned the money and not taken anyone’s money for their lifestyle. Children naturally imbibe these values. Many of these also donate for charity primarily to get tax deductions. IF only they had love in their hearts, they can pass it on to their children instead of filling their heads with the same thought processes.

      I agree about the spirit of blogging going to new levels. And Suranga has come up with a beautiful post indeed.

      Like

  48. Janice · · Reply

    There is so much truth in what you wrote. I see children among my relatives and I see this happen. Shielding children from reality and making them in a utopian world is such a common thing.it is better that they see reality and come to terms with it and be better persons. I agree with you totally.

    Like

    1. Reality is a relative term, that is why I have specifically talked about poverty and its allied connotations here. While we can’t allow children to see gruesome murder and other such violent things, we should let them see the truth of haves and have nots. That is how the world is and we should learn to live with those less fortunate with compassion and care.

      Like

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