CALL TO ELDERS
Elders should take the young out for a walk! I felt sad to read a news item on the front page of an English daily - ‘At job rallies, Army to test Punjab youths for dope’. I wondered where have all those ‘gabroo jawans’ of this hardy state vanished! I got reminded of my days as the Adjutant of 4 Horse in 1979 -80, which predominantly had Sikh troops. What a joy it was to command these brave boys from Punjab, who were full of strength and stamina, apart from their usual zest for life. When it came to inter - unit sports, these troops were way ahead of others in cross country, boxing, and athletics. They were tall and well built, ready to carry out the toughest tasks. And today, a stage has come when these same men cannot even complete the 1.6 Km run! I never imagined that a day would come when dope tests are carried out at recruitment rallies! It is OK to blame the politicians, drug mafias, etc. But what about the parents? Why have they failed in checking their children? They say many are working parents who have little time for their wards. They can give bundles of money and swanky cars to their young sons but cannot pass on a healthy life. I think here comes the role of grandparents, and this applies across the board rather than only to Punjab. The veterans need to take charge of the youth today, right from their school days. Let me suggest one simple method of bonding with the young, and communicating with them, enabling a healthy life. The elders should take out their grand children, both boys and girls, for a daily walk. It can be morning or evening as per the convenience of both. Let it be a walk for about 45 minutes to an hour, over a road/path which is peaceful, with minimum traffic. Every day, during the walk, the child/children, should be given a topic to talk on, freely and frankly. To begin, allow the child to talk on any topic that he/ she likes to express views on. There will be hesitations and resistance. But encourage the child, with language being no barrier. It can be Hindi, English or even the mother tongue. As he/she feels more confident, then give a current topic of GK which he/she is interested in. As a grandparent/parent, you can moderate his/her views to see that thinking is logical and positive. Also, encourage the children to develop the habit of reading, and please subscribe a good newspaper at home. It just costs about four rupees, which is cheaper than even a cup of tea. Once children read, they will be able to converse better, and keep their minds off the unwanted issues. It will also help you to pick up the topic of the day, mainly from the editorial page. This is also the time when you should make your child open up about his/ her personal problems, things that bother them in the school/ college etc. As he/ she shares his / her feelings with you (Dada – Dadi, Nana – Nani), you will be able to gauge the actual problem, guide them, and nip the problem in the bud. Then, the children will not feel the necessity of going to others, or falling in the wrong company. You would have opened the communication channel for them. This is the perfect time for you to pass on your rich experience to the children, and also walk the talk on moral values. It will be such a natural and free and frank way of learning the right things from elders whom they love. Parents should join the walk whenever they can. Let it be a family walk – leading to a happy and well knit family. It will also keep the family healthy and fit. I say so out of personal experience. Please try it out.