Sun, 22 Sep, 2019

Children Learn What They Live With

By Bidish Acharya

Couple of weeks ago, when I was attending a public speaking workshop, I had to speak on this very topic in an impromptu speech. I could not think of anything to say. All that would hit my head was the story of a movie ‘Perfume’, where the main actor was thrown into a smelly surrounding right after he was born and he went on to become someone who could identify people just by their smell. Another example that I was able to relate to was Arjun Tendulkar, living in a legacy of Sachin Tendulkar, went on to become a really promising and aspiring cricketer for the Indian National Team. These two might have just touched the topic but was not able to give a well required analogy and didn’t fulfill the purpose of the speech.

However, now that I think of it, I seem to have noticed some of the real life examples that prevail in our society which can back this statement.

First up, the way most children are being brought up in Nepal is pretty much the same. From their early age, they will be drummed up by a belief that successful people are none other than the ones who become either doctors or an engineers (and yeah, also the ones who live abroad). They live with their elders praising, “Falano’s son became an engineer. He made his parents proud”; commenting, “So he changed his field to arts? I knew he couldn’t study science. You, study now or you will be like him”; and comparing, “Why is she always the first? Next time, you must get good grades than her.” And the worst of all, children should not go far to find their elders gossiping and bad-mouthing other people which will eventually program their mind to be a best fit for this cynical world.

Similarly, children grow up with the fear of failure and ‘making mistakes’ ruling their mind. Why? Because, if they drop a cup of tea on the floor, they’ll be scolded like it’s the end of the world. Of course, being scolded is not pleasing. And as they grow, they will develop a habit of lying and making excuses every time they fail or make mistakes; because that’ll somehow save them from being punished or scolded. That fear grows to the time when they’re matured and they are afraid to try new and challenging things in their life because of the fear of failure that was rooted in their mind when they were just a kid.

I strongly believe that children need to be influenced to do good things in life, which will eventually help them become a better person in the future. Children should be made to realize the fact that failure is not ‘failing in life’ and they should be encouraged and boosted up every time they fail or make mistakes. Because let’s face it, nobody likes to fail, but to have someone beside you, who is not pointing at you when you fail at something is going to give you all the confidence you need. Success is after all, the journey of failures.

The best way we can influence children to do good things is by leading ourselves to do good things so they can have someone to look up to. Next time your small brother permanently deletes your most important document, instead of yelling at him, realize that mistake is already done and treat him in a supportive way so he won’t have to break ice the next time he has to ask for your pc to play games on. This might sound ideal, but if you believe that ideals don’t work in real world, and look up to the practical things in life (which most of the times is  disappointing); you are never going to get through many disappointing practices that prevail. As offensive or candid as it might sound, it is equally true that we learnt to whine, complain, and worry about every little thing in life, when we were a kid. We learnt that being yelled at by pinging someone in a bad mood is actually our fault because the guy was not humble enough to say “I’m in a bad mood. I will get back to you later.”

Wrapping it up, I really want you guys to take a look at yourself, realize what your bad habits are, and work on rooting them out, because each and every thing you do, is influencing children around you. Here’s what occurred to me some months ago: I was buying an ice cream for my little sister and thanked the shopkeeper after paying. After we were out of the shop, my sister questioned me, “Why did you say ‘thank you’ when we actually paid the money for ice cream?” She learnt something really valuable that day, but the point I’m making here is, your acts will influence children around you, and you don’t want to radiate bad habits, do you?