Pro­vid­ing is not par­ent­ing

The Sunday Guardian - - & Comment Analysis - By Prarthna Saran

Most par­ents to­day are busy pro­vid­ing, not par­ent­ing. The in­cul­cat­ing of obe­di­ence and dis­ci­pline in chil­dren is a ma­jor part of par­ent­ing. Chil­dren must first learn to obey be­fore learn­ing to or­der. Brazenly flout­ing parental or­ders, act­ing with­out per­mis­sion, or even se­cretly, is com­mon. If not checked early, this be­hav­iour gen­er­ally goes out of hand. Swami Te­jo­mayanan­daji says, “A young plant has to be nur­tured and pro­tected; once it be­comes a tree, it can give pro­tec­tion to oth­ers too.” Chil­dren be­ing im­ma­ture lack dis­crim­i­na­tion. They fol­low their likes and dis­likes with­out know­ing the dan­gers in­her­ent in in­dis­ci­plined ac­tion. There­fore parental guid­ance and con­trol is a must. Par­ents have to live the val­ues them­selves. Silent teach­ings are con­veyed ev­ery­day through parental con­duct. Thus the scrip­tures call par­ent­ing a “Maha yag­nya”.

Par­ents pro­vide rich toys, gad­getries and ex­pen­sive hol­i­days, but rarely teach sim­plic­ity and con­trol. Chil­dren learn to spend be­fore they learn to earn.! Why strive, par­ents will pro­vide. Good par­ent­ing must teach chil­dren to sac­ri­fice, to give, to help and to sup­port, through set­ting ex­am­ples them­selves. Per­mit­ted to do what­so­ever he likes, he will soon rebel at things he dis­likes. Strong likes and dis­likes take root and en­slave the child. Weak­ened by his con­stant in­abil­ity to ac­cept dis­likes as part of life , his de­vel­op­ment be­comes lop­sided. Scrip­tures ad­vise early guid­ance on equipoise and an in­tel­li­gent con­trol of likes and dis­likes as a ma­jor train­ing in child­hood. A child em­u­lates the el­der he looks up to and re­lies on. There­fore the fa­mous verse that teaches chil­dren: ‘Ma­tra devo bhava, pitra devo bhava, acharya devo bhava’ Thus the par­ent fig­ures also have to be ‘devas’ (noble souls) and the child must hon­our them and sub­mit to their ma­ture and ben­e­fi­cial dis­ci­pline. So, in Hin­duism, the char­ac­ter build­ing mother, fa­ther and teacher are wor­thy of wor­ship.

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