Health & Nutrition - - READERS’ PULSE - Colonel R D Singh (Retd.), Haryana [email protected]­

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.

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