The author of this post, Jairam Mohan is somebody who pores over excel spreadsheets and power point presentations in his day job, but believes that his true calling lies in boring people to their deaths. That is the sole aim of him updating his blog Mahabore's Mumblings quite frequently. Between him and his wife, they nurture and bring up their two year old daughter as well as the blog.
That's what he has to say for himself. Now for what I think.
Jairam Mohan is a whirlwind-of-a-writer. Two posts on a good day and three on an even better day (God bless him!). The top bar in Mahabore's Mumblings says it all - Bhagvatham, Movies, Fiction, Parenting, Book review and of course 'winning posts'. Each post of Jairam's stands testimony to what he thinks and lives by - be it pieces of 'faction' where fact meets fiction through his fantastic imagination, or parenting ideas and anecdotes sans air-brushing. His writing is novel, honest and refreshing and his blog speaks to you like few others can. And I will keep wondering why he calls himself a 'mahabore'!
Projecting Parental Expectations
I love my Michael Jackson songs, McDonald's French Fries and lounging around in my boxer shorts at home. I hate rap songs with explicit racy music videos, self help books and people who spit in public places. The above is a small subset of my likes and dislikes and how I perceive the world. But the question is should my little two year old daughter also share the same likes and dislikes?
I have had conversations with young kids who have informed me that Sachin Tendulkar was delaying his retirement and that was causing a lot of damage to Indian cricket, and that the Congress government is probably the worst thing that India could have ever wished for, at an age when the kid did not even know the difference between the business end of a bat and what a democracy really was. And when I was left wondering as to how smart kids nowadays were, the realization dawned upon me that it was probably their parents who had projected their perceptions on them.
Given that when they are young, kids are extremely receptive to their surroundings and the people they interact with on a regular basis, it is but natural that they pick up a few habits and traits from us. It therefore becomes imperative that as parents and caregivers to our children, we must all be extremely conscious of our words, actions and deeds, more so when the kids are watching us. If I am the kind of father that comes home from work, plonks myself on the sofa with my shoes on and starts munching potato chips straight out of a packet, my daughter will naturally believe that such behavior is quite Ok, and it won’t be too long before she comes home from school, plonks herself on the sofa with her school uniform and shoes on and starts munching whatever snack she wants from the fridge. If on the other hand, she sees her parents taking off their footwear outside the house, washing their hands and feet as soon as they enter the house, then these are the habits she will pick up, inculcate and make her own.
In fact I realized that kids are so receptive only when I saw my daughter pick up a few of these unconscious traits from me and my wife. While she has picked up on this wonderful reading habit from my wife, who tries to spend as much of her free time reading books, the funny thing that my daughter picked up from me is to put her hand on the backside of her neck and start scratching the same. It was only when I saw my daughter persistently doing this did I realize that this was something that I was unconsciously doing whenever she was on the “seat” downloading her “torrents” (if you know what I am referring to). It took more than quite a bit of correcting and flicking away of her hands whenever she did it going forward to make her get rid of that irritating habit and now I am that much more conscious of my body language whenever I am around her.
While my daughter is still a little one and probably picks up only on visual and verbal cues that we provide her, I am more than sure that children who are a little older, say around 10-15 yr olds will surely have their world views influenced by their parents. And that is something that I tend to think that I have a problem with. In my opinion, while parents are more than welcome (and it is probably their duty as well) to imbibe their kids with the right value systems, I think it is wrong of them to project their perceptions of the world on their kids.
So what if I don’t enjoy Chinese cuisine very much, should I discourage my daughter from trying it out and having more of it if she actually likes it? I don’t think so. So what if I don’t think Salman Khan movies match my cinematic sensibilities, should I stop my daughter from watching and enjoying them? I don’t think so. So what if I think MMS is a stooge and just nods his head to whatever Madam says, should I stop my daughter from believing that he actually has a spine and can stand up for himself…well, that one I will have serious issues with.
Anyway, the point I am trying to make is that as parents while it is our duty to guide our children on the tough journey called life and equip them with all the right tools and techniques to assist them, we should not project our perceptions of the world on them. Let them experience things for themselves and develop a world view of their own. So what if it differs from our own view of things, after all, variety is the spice of life, isn’t it?
I fully agree with this parenting idea. Even as we consciously guide our children through the everyday, we need to keep in mind if we are colouring their minds a certain way too. What was relevant in our yesterday may not be in their tomorrows. And coming to think of it, we could learn and unlearn a lot from our children's perspectives too. This way, every body in the house would be growing-up, and not just growing old, together!
What do you think?
What do you think?