Responsible Parenting — What is that we are not doing for our beloved Children

I came across news about 3 incidents which happened in the recent past ; they are 3 very different types of incidents , happened in 3 different cities and yet something struck me as a common thread running through them all .

It is not important to recount vivid details of what happened , for reference I just do a quick recap here :

(i)   4 Young college going friends died in Bangalore in car crash in what appears a case of reckless driving (ii) Accident which happened in a road tunnel in Jaipur , where many cars passed without stopping by the dead body of the lady killed in an accident  (iii) Recent gang rape in Delhi … victim lying below flyover with passersby not bothering to help .

 Many disturbing questions in the aftermath …. Who’s responsible for the death of students in the car crash …… the students themselves for reckless driving or their Parents who thought giving car was a better gift than the wisdom to handle it in a responsible manner ?

Why is it easy for us to quietly slip through in the comfortable confines of our car than stop by to help a dying woman on the road  ?

What has blunted our senses , our sensibilities & our values that we are no longer moved to help a hapless crime victim lying on the road  ?

Are we unfit for community living or are we completely insensitive to what is happening around , as long as it does not affect us as an individual or as a family ?

 Were we always like that or are we changing ( for worse ) ?

 The evolution of grey matter over my head reminds me that we were NOT always like this . We were probably not as uncaring , as insensitive , as self centered , with uncouth / unruly social behaviour as some of the recent incidents bear out .

What has caused this change . It is not unreasonable to believe that neither our physical constitution nor genetic composition has changed much . Neither our education level or Urbanisation or so called Prosperity has dwindled .

Yes may be our ‘ Wealth quotient ‘ has gone up & as a trade off our ‘ Values quotient ‘ has deteriorated . The ‘ Value transition ‘ across generations seem to have diluted from what my & prior to my generations have received from their elders . Sense of right / wrong , sense of social consciousness , society living , mutual respect , human dignity has seen rapid deterioration .

 If we are unhappy at what is going around our society , especially in our social behaviour …. We need to think hard as to who is responsible – where is the root cause . It is not the children / young generation , but their parents who are fully responsible for the outcome we see on the road . We can’t blame children for not displaying something ( discipline , social behaviour ) that they don’t know . we can’t hold them responsible for not knowing what they don’t know , because we didn’t tell them .

If we think that today’s generation has lost sense of what is right / what is wrong , it’s their parents who have failed miserably to develop the sense of discretion in them in the formative years — Parents have failed because they did not have time or mind space for transmitting Values , because that time & mind space was fully occupied with a single minded pursuit of amassing wealth in an illusion as the only asset they thought their children need  

 This sense of right / wrong , social consciousness is not ‘ innate ‘ , nobody carries it through genetic inheritance … this is a matter of habit formation , which intrinsically means that someone elder need to imbibe this into growing children , need to orient them , equip them to grow into alert , sensitive , responsible citizens .

Unfortunately when we are proving our superior aping ability to copy Western lifestyle , we have not copied from them the good values like Discipline , Work ethics , Community living , Human dignity .

 Who needs to do this ? In growing up phase two biggest exposures & hence influencers for a child are : Home & School . Schools never had it on agenda — it’s not really an academic curriculum – It was Parents ( Grandparents in Joint families ) who used to do that . Today’s parents , like for everything else they do , seem to have ‘ outsourced ‘ this responsibility of inculcating social / moral values to no one . With money becoming common substitute for all our emotions and expressions , there is no space for Values , parents have ‘ no time ‘ for this .

 Finally we as Parents need to introspect as to what do we really want to give to our next generation in inheritance …. Is it only Money / material wealth ….but then even the next generation is capable of making lots of money . Or is it the Values / “ Sanskaars ” that we want to gift —  Helping children develop a sense of right / wrong , to be able to grow as responsible citizen of this country , a responsible community person ?

In sum if we feel there is deterioration in our social behaviour & we need to change it — I’m fully convinced that we need to hit at the root cause . To create Responsible citizens of tomorrow we need to first develop Responsible Parents —- What do you feel ?

Vaalya to Rishi Valmiki — Coaching Journey of Life

To me , Naradmuni is World’s first & most Pioneering Coach who made a profound impact on world history with one of his most talked about human transformations – which turned Vaalya , the roadside dacoit to Valmiki who went on to become one of the most revered Sages , who wrote Ramayan .  :

  • For the lesser initiated on the matter , here goes the story :
    • Vaalya used to loot / kill unsuspecting passers by in Jungle as his way of earning & feeding self & family . One day Naradmuni happened to pass by , when Vaalya caught him & asked for money . Naradmuni said ‘ I have nothing on me that can serve your purpose – you’ll be wasting your time on me ‘ . He asked Vaalya as to why is he doing all these supposedly wrong things – looting / robbing  , killing . Vaalya had a quick reply – “ I do it for my family “ , he said . This is when in a typical Coaching approach , Naradmuni asked him if he thinks , whether this is what his family too expects from him . Without hesitation , Vaalya replied in affirmative . Naradmuni challenged Vaalya to check out with the family if they too think so . When Vaalya asked his family , to his surprise he found out that none of his family members was either supportive of his ‘ profession ‘ or wanted to be a partner in his ‘ sin ‘ .
    • This brought in the realization . He was not only in his self created illusion ( about what he felt his family wants ) but he realized the irrelevance of what he was doing . The impact of that awareness was such that it brought about almost 180 degree transformation from a dacoit to a Sage …. The rest is history , as he went on to write Ramayan .
  • I find very high relevance of this story today . If I liken us with Vaalya , I’m sure most of us would feel outraged … I most certainly don’t mean to refer to anyone as Vaalya in literal sense ( as a roadside robber ) However the zeal with which I see many of us work single mindedly to amass material wealth , the speed with which I see greed replacing need as the driver in life and the amazing route we are taking where Money , at the exclusion of everything else , is becoming the Purpose of Life ( PoL ) scares me to think which way are we heading . And on top of it , when I see most of us ( sincerely ) believe that the single minded pursuit of material wealth at the cost of health , family time & purity of soul is guided by our concern for the family — this is what we are doing “ for the family “  …… no other analogy hits me better than that of Vaalya’s self created illusion of what he thought his family wanted .
  • In a way hence , I see that many of us in our lust for money have lost touch with both reality & life . Like Vaalya we have become “ awareness blind “ … we are in dire need for a Naradmuni coach in our life to bring in a larger awareness about priorities in life …. If that helps here are some self soul searching questions :
    • What do I want from life  , What will bring real joy to me and my family
    • What do my spouse , my children really need from me
    • What is the best gift I can give to my family ,  What is that can really make difference to their life
    • What is the best inheritance I can plan for my children … if it’s the material wealth , what makes me believe that my children are not as capable as I was in generating this much wealth & more on their own
    • When I retire from active life , what is that one thing I’d yearn for . Looking back from a retired stage , what is that one thing I’d not like to regret
  • While it’s all about awareness , finally it’s your life – your choice . You have to take a call to start your life journey from Vaalya to Valmiki …. The sooner it occurs to you is better for you . You can certainly do it on your own , however should you need me to be your Naradmuni , I’d be more than happy … after all it’s not just my Joy , but also my Job !