Wednesday, March 9, 2016

How much intolerance

There is lot of discussion and debate on the topic of intolerance in the society and at times some people make us realise as this is something new which has come up in the last few years. The fact is that this was there in the past and might not be eradicated completely and so will exist in future also. Before we get into the details, let us try to understand the meaning of tolerance. The idea of accommodating the views and thoughts of all the people around us who may not think the same way as we do may be the laymen understanding of tolerance. Those who think the opposite or contrary to this will be treated as intolerant. Another issue to be pondered upon is that the ones who are in majority or power, do they need to be more tolerant as the others want them to be? In our society this is visible in almost all situations and I would like to cite some examples of the same. If a person driving a car gets involved in an accident with a motorcycle rider, in that case mostly the car driver is blamed for the accident though the fault may be entirely on the part of bike rider. Similarly, if the accident involves bike rider and cycle rider, then bike rider is usually blamed for it. If it happens between cycle rider and pedestrian, then the cycle rider is blamed while the fault may be of the pedestrian. Similarly, in the classroom if something goes wrong between the teacher and the student, then mostly the blame comes on the teacher though he/she may not be guilty at all and the list of such examples is endless.
The question here is: should the perception dominate the reality and the cases be generalised? We belong to the country where the parents and teachers were remembered ahead of God. The sons and daughters sacrificed their everything on the command of their parents. Here we have many examples starting from Lord Ram to Krishna, Jesus Christ to Bhishma Pitamah to Samrat  Ashok to Maharan Pratap to Gandhiji to Shivaji to APJ Abdul Kalam and  again the list is endless. The same has been the relationship between the teacher and the taught. Relationship between Guru Vashistha and the sons of Raja Dashrath, between Guru Dronocharya and Arjun are the eternal examples followed by many till the last few decades and are still existing in our societies where the students follow their teachers and succeed in their life. You might get surprised by my mention of these examples here and might question about the relevance in context of the topic being discussed. But there is very important reason for the same. We all agree and accept that the change is law of nature and nobody can stop it. True, but does the change mean doing away completely with the previously followed traditions? Or do we need to change only the branches keeping the roots intact so that the improvement is affected for the good of the human race and the nature both? This is true that no society has been perfect because even during Dwapur and Trerta era, there were problems of having people with evil design and thoughts. Every society has some set norms to be followed by all the citizens. In today`s time every country has its own constitution and the same applies to both government and the citizens. In our country, this is considered equivalent to Gita and Bible. As mentioned before that changes can be made but the soul must not be disturbed and the same has happened with our constitution also in the form of many amendments incorporated in the last sixty six years. Everything was going fine with us but all of sudden in the name of development, globalisation and modernisation, things took turn and fast changes in the thoughts of the people emerged and the same was given impetus by the marketing strategy of the multinationals whose sole purpose was to earn money. All our traditions have been hit by them. The festivals as on today have become market driven and in the process the values got lost somewhere. Initially, the people were enjoying their rights with a lot of responsibility but now the things have got into reverse gear and the people are trying to enjoy their right with a lot of might and the word responsibility is lost in the debate of intolerance. I am to ask a question here, whether asking to follow traditions and the constitution of the country intolerance? If the father of a child asks him/her to come home in time and study and eat healthy food, is it intolerance? If the teacher asks the students to study and learn and follow rules, is it intolerance? We began with some issues where the parents and teachers allowed their children to put forward their views and that was the right thing done but this did not stop and now the situation has become alarming where the children have started questioning everything the parents and teachers ask them to do. This may not be the universal truth but a general perception. The government also has contributed in this by implementing certain laws in reaction to some unfortunate incident. I have always been for the welfare of the children and all possible positive and safe environs for them in the school and at home but that does not mean that our children should not be taught respect for the parents, teachers and the constitution. What happened in one of the prestigious universities in the name of “freedom of speech” seems to be the result of ignoring the things in the past. The saying- what shall you sow, so shall you reap, is proving to be true. If a child disrespects the parents or the teachers and he/she is told that it is immoral, is it intolerance? This still can be ignored and pardoned in case of a small child but can the grown ups who form government be allowed to indulge in such uncanny debate of tolerance-intolerance. The fact is that intolerance in some cases is necessary. We should not tolerate the onslaught and destruction of nature. We should also not tolerate the attack on the culture of this great nation. We should not tolerate the insult to our forefathers who gave their life for the freedom of this county. They wanted a free country where all could live in peace and harmony but did not give their life for those who want to divide this country into pieces. Tolerance is a two way gesture and not one way signal. One cannot keep abusing others and expect no reaction ever because there is limit of everything because even the most elastic body breaks if stretched beyond elastic limit. If this debate is to be reached some conclusive stage then we must ensure that mere power, money and personal vendetta should not overpower the welfare of the society and the nation. Let the government make study of constitution mandatory in all schools and the colleges so that the children and the youth remain well aware of what they are supposed to do for our country and not only the responsibility of the nation towards the citizens. One more request that even in this debate where we do not agree with each other on any issue (this is natural and must be appreciated) but the language used should be such that it is tolerated by all. Dear parents and teachers, our constitution needs to be followed. We feel hurt when the PMs of the country are called names by the people in power and this becomes tolerable.  

Wednesday, March 2, 2016

Attitude of contradiction in children

Pondering upon the contradictory behaviour of children, one is in a state of dilemma whether to understand the influence of external environment or home environment. In an outrage, one tends to behave differently without realizing the impact of the same on other people or surroundings. This can not be justified as situational behaviour as the adults are expected to have a strong control over their wrath rather than being in its control. The recent incident of a girl leaving her home because of the scuffle between her parents’ is an eye opener for most of the couples, who perhaps do not want to adjust or change themselves according to the situation. The girl was in such a great distress that she just never wanted to come back home, but rather wished to be at some other place from where she could manage to attend her school regularly. How often do we realize the impact of adult behaviour on the nascent mind of children? The words spoken to each other in anger, the verbal fights, the indifferent attitude, a humiliating environment at home and many other such negativities arising from different corners and ultimately disturbing the child psyche. The parents, by putting themselves in controversies and by making mountains out of mole hills, rarely understand that the children have to bear the brunt of such activities, resulting in the feeling of insecurity among them. Their dreams shatter, they lose faith, their capacity to think about future ceases.
The children are taught to follow certain norms such as honesty, truthfulness, hard work, empathy etc; but ironically, they get ample examples which go contradictory to the norms and in coherence with the prevailing circumstances. Adults in the family or society or even on roads do not confirm the same norms no matter they may violate them themselves. Furthermore, they at times approach the school and plead teachers to look into the changing behaviour of the child, asking them to solve their crisis. As the child does not listen to the parents, the parents are also baffled at such a stage, so to seek solutions, they take the teachers into confidence. I have mentioned about all this in my previous article, however, today’s focus is the behaviour of parents’ at home or in the society which is emulated by children with absolutely no hesitation. Hence, the parents will have to display maturity in front of their children by putting the ego hassles on the back burner.
Another act which is insidious to the nurturing of childish brain is to contradict each other in front of the child. Let’s take the example of birthday celebration. Sometimes, the father may refuse for the celebration in a restaurant whereas the mother usually agrees to what the child wishes. Now, the seed of contradiction arises from this petty issue and the parents start fighting and opposing each other, realizing less what impact this might have on the child’s mind. This does not stop here. They carry the same argument further and getting into a brawl becomes a daily routine for them. The pertinent question here is- who suffers? It is the child obviously as the child listens to the heated arguments and absorbs everything silently. Feelings of insecurity crop-up in such an environment which is full of negative emotions and hatred for the people around, particularly the parents. The child then believes that he has been subjected to such a misery without actually being at any fault. These feeling then surface significantly at a certain point of time, as the child starts having saturation to existing circumstances. Unless there is love, respect, unity of opinion, care and concern, parents can never set a perfect example of life for their children. They here need to understand the right behaviour to be projected in front of their children and settle their argument within themselves, lest the children should suffer from other psychosomatic problems. Then they get addicted to gadgets or fall in bad company, thereby creating challenges for parents at home and others in society. Certainly their academic performance also is doomed in such situations.  And then begins the saga of unending problems. According to a study conducted in California, Many children seek not a friend but a guide in their parents. There are innumerable cases of domestic violence, in which the mother is a silent sufferer. She does not gather enough courage to go up against her husband, hence, keeps tolerating the belligerent chauvinism. This then becomes a routine affair and the silent sufferer role shifts to the child who witnesses the hostile violence between parents. The blossoming mind of the child might suffer grossly from such episodes, resorting to extreme steps of repulsion from dear ones, leaving homes, withdrawal or suicidal symptoms. These children lose their ability to rationalize resulting in low levels of confidence, low self esteem, low morale and even low performance in academics. Their minds always struggle to remain steady, they display gloom through their gestures. At times, they start involving themselves in such disparaging activities, the repercussions of which are unpredictable.
Parents have to critically analyse their behaviour and actions as this kind of environment turns the child into a violent human being. It is not only the furore between parents but also within the family members like mother and son, daughter-in-law and mother-in-law or any such relation. So to find some solace, attention seeking activities increase. Such children bear split personalities and can not have a balanced mindset, which is required in life to grow. The adults in the family will have to be careful not to criticize, blame or incite anybody in the presence of children as it will sow the seed of negativity in nature. A father should not talk to his father disrespectfully or argue with him. Similarly a mother should be polite and respectful for her mother-in-law and other adults of the family to teach her children those values that are often found missing.  This would be leading by examples, which is imperative for a united and happy home.  The popular story of blanket proves to be so true here, in which, when the father purchases a blanket for his father, the son asks him to buy two blankets. Baffled, the father asks him the reason, which the son states that when he (his father) grows old and is sent to old age home, he would need it just as his grandfather requires it.

Teachers here should identify the problem and deal with it by drawing the children in conversations that are motivating, solicitous and guiding, this will transmit positivity. Since the teacher is also aware of the behavioural challenges, she can give concrete counselling to the child as well to his parents by taking them into confidence. The feeling of isolation that surrounds the child at any age, whether five or fifteen, can take the child into self-condemnation and other predicaments, which might be challenging in life. The teachers and the parents have to understand these changes and act sensibly. They need to guide and support them, nurture their talents, hone their skills and lead them with examples. No doubt these children are the store houses of colossal energy that needs to be directed with utmost precision.  Although, children fantasise about sports champions, actors or freedom fighters as their role models yet, parents top this list. So, assist your children to adopt a balanced approach rather than being contradictory, realize your roles and help your children to become humble and worthy citizens of the country.