A very distressed neighbor shared that he had driven home after a long day at work. As he entered, he saw his wife in bed with fever. She had laid out his dinner on a tray. Everything was there just as he wanted it. The dal, vegetables, salad, green chutney, papad and pickles... "How caring," he thought, "Even when she is unwell, she finds the strength to do everything for me."
As he sat down to eat, he realised that something was missing. He looked up at his grown up daughter who was watching TV and said, "Beta (child), can you get me my medicine and a glass of water, please?" She rolled up her eyeballs to show her displeasure at being disturbed, but did the favour nevertheless.
A minute later he realised that salt was missing in the dal.
He said, "Sorry beta, can you please get me some salt?"
She said, "Ufff!" and got the salt but her stomping shoes made it clear that she did not appreciate the disruption.
A few minutes later he said, "Beta ..."
She banged the TV remote on the table and said, "What is it now Dad? How many times will you make me get up? I too am tired; I had a long day at work!"
The man said, "I'm so sorry beta..."
The man got up and placed the dishes in the kitchen sink and quietly wiped the tear escaping his eye.
My heart wept... I often wonder; Why is it that the youngsters of the so called modern world behave like this? Have we given them too much freedom to express? Have we failed to discipline and give them the right values?
Is it right to treat children as friends? Think of it this way, they have lots of friends. But they have only one set of parents. If they don't do 'parenting', who will?
Today the 'self-esteem' of even a new born or an infant is being talked about; but what about the self-esteem of the parents? Are they supposed to just fan the egos of their children, while the children don't care two hoots about theirs?
Often parents say, "Aajkal ke bachhe sunte kahaan hain (Where will you find obedient children in these times)?" Why?
The other day, we were at a dinner party. All the seats were occupied except for one bean bag. One of our fifty-something friends told his teenaged daughter to move to the bean bag, so that he could sit on the high back chair she occupied.
She said, "Why can't you sit on the bean bag?"
I was zapped; we all knew that the father had a back ailment, and even otherwise... Well!
Later as everyone was taking leave of the host, the same guy realised that he had left his car keys inside. He asked his daughter to go and get them.
"Why can't you go and get them yourself? I am not your maid!"
I looked away in disgust and disbelief. The poor guy had no option but to make light of the situation saying, "Ya, Ya, but Daddy is your eternal servant my princess!"
He went inside to fetch the car keys. This is what our social behaviour has become! Why?
If we need to teach children about self-respect, self-esteem and self-confidence, we also need to tell them that howsoever big and rich and famous they may be, their parents shall always be their parents... children can never be their equals, let alone be their bosses!
Remember to Pay RENT - Respect, Empathy, Niceness, and Time!