It started as a thought and came out as an introspective alarming blog.
In one of my workshops in a much sought after, new age school, I noticed some thing about our children. I happened to quote an example from Ramayana, and to my utter disbelief not even half the class could relate with the epic. Not many of them could identify with the stories in Panchatantra
“What was exactly the fault of Ravana?”
“So why did Rama went for Banwas. Why didn’t he say No?”
“Was it okay for Rama Lakshman to hit a woman?”
Quite Pragmatic questions.
In fact, that workshop I had to put lot of effort to distract them and bring them back to where the focus was.
Before you take guesses it was grade seventh. I came back and kept thinking about my experience. In fact I conducted my own mini research on children around me, including my daughter and her friends.
To amaze myself even the ones in college fell in the same bracket. They had no perspective on literature. Our Children lack perspective, sensitivity and aesthetic bent of mind.
Research papers backed my mini observation with similar trends worldwide. Unfortunately, I concluded that there are lot of things we have left behind in our education system.
Mentioning those facts here would have been repetitive and I didn’t feel the need. Google and the reports line up from Times of India, Indian Express, The Guardian(International Daily) and all major publications.
There are reports from our own education ministry, NGOs, screaming downright that our education portfolio is on a sharp decline.
There is rise in admissions but there is a steep decline in reading and mathematical skills. One of the surveys say that reading for pleasure is hardly seen in teenagers. In fact even parents have no time to read.
The most gory proof of which is a fall in circulation of newspapers. News has become electronic and no more have you to wait. Everything is there on apps so whats the need of newspaper.
Reading Apps somehow manage to engage and not for nothing likes of Harry Potter made so much of money. However, I would like to cast it aside as a super freak case. Moreover it had a superhero effect of the modern era and was equally picked up by adults. The next biggest hit, that I know of was Fifty Shades of Grey.
I hear parents telling children to read. I haven’t seen many picking up a book with a motive behind it or a message. Any famous contemporary book that should be picked is brought home.
Reading is not complete till the time a child is taught to understand and enjoy the magical world of storytelling. Reading should connect with imagination and not with a plug in socket below the table. Its scary that children today get easily bored. They fall easily ill and quite a few haven’t danced in rain.
Even before they get there language right they know the brands and start associating self worth with the same. Thanks to heavily growing child centric advertising.
The outer appearance wins hands down. The generation is losing out on passion, the intensity of emotions and integrity of character. Though we all would like to close our eyes on this but statistics show a high raise in electronic gadget theft in the age group of teenage school going children. Teenage sex is on rise and so is the count of STDs. We as parents are busy, too busy to emotionally connect with our children. Providing for them and charting a disciplined routine gearing towards academic intelligence is not the only thing they need. Teen Suicide is rising with leaps slapping us right across our faces.
What could go so wrong that a young life decides to quit. It refuses to see the beautiful life it is gifted with.
Our children are in a tragic emotional state, a vulnerable environment moving towards a digitally charged virtual life.
HOW MUCH MORE DATA WE NEED BEFORE WE TAKE ACTION
HOW MANY MORE LIVES
HOW MANY MORE SMILES
ITS TIME TO ACT
We as parents are confused. We have transiting morals, indulgent lifestyles, sedentary habits, quick fix attitude, brand craze, lack of sleep, lack of discipline and a self implied sense of parenting full of guilt, assumptions and fear. The only people benefiting out of this state is brands designing themselves to exploit such parenting.
Its never too late. We need to sit back, take a day out and analyse our collective values. Even Supreme Court has issued an order to make Moral Science compulsory. Now moral science is not moral policing.
I would rather explain it like that. It is like an anchor that holds the ship back. We don’t want to stop the generation from exploring. They are smart with evolution kicking in with brighter minds, increased IQs.
We need to churn out some hidden gems from our basics. We need to pass the legacy on. Its like when I got married, I was gifted or allowed to accumulate everything new. Yet there was this one gold armlet that my Mom passed on to me. She told me that it has been getting passed on through older generations. Her Mom got it from hers and she gifted it to my mom. My mom to me and I am waiting with lot of affection to pass it on to my daughter on some important occasion of her life. Marriage not being the only one nowadays. Having said that, the emotional quotient of that one armlet weighs much more than any other ornament I own. Thats how you pass legacy.
We need to bring yoga and meditation in the lives of our children. Somewhere the generation is getting misaligned from the Earth’s centre. Science shows that meditation affects on children’s brain and behaviour ( will talk about this in another article).
We need to relook into the food they eat. Let them cry, let them go hungry but make sure they eat whatever is served on the parameters of nutrition.
Teach them to appreciate nature. Introduce and bring to their attention the colours and grandeur that mother nature boasts off
Keep atlas 20 minutes of family interaction everyday, in whatever form or shape. It could be a run together, a story together or simply having food together.
Don’t over-protect them from small failures. Don’t let them learn that crying can get them anything. They should know life has failures, rejections and that LIFE DOES AT TIMES GIVE NO FOR AN ANSWER.
Get back the damn newspaper. It might do nothing but it will reinforce the idea that certain things are done as a ritual.
Respect elders, make them connect with grandparents even if you are in nuclear family. They should know the old age. They should see you doing certain things even when you are pressed against time. They would learn to do the same for you.
We need to act fast.
“A mode of thinking is being lost,” in Neil Postman’s words, whose book, “Amusing Ourselves to Death,” is a warning about the consequences of a falloff in reading. I totally echo these words, a sense to apply common sense, unbiased logic and to see things in a multidimensional way is disappearing.
We are the ones who can fill their canvass with colours before its too late and the entire generation is robotic and medicated for anxiety and depression disorders.
Lastly hug and kiss more often. Share your stories and paint the walls of your house with the colours of laughter. Storytelling is the oldest art that has no match when it comes to connecting hearts. Nothing should keep magic away for long.