Encourage the children to speak up..

There was this very rude teacher in my school who would not think twice before speaking rudely to a student. I remember how once he had humiliated a very brilliant boy in my class and for no rhyme or reason dragged his father in between. As was in our times, the boy kept quiet and the teacher kept on insulting him and his father.

Today when a boy took a stand and questioned a professor when he called the student a terrorist for being a Muslim in front of the entire class, it made me happy. Children should be taught to question any kind of uncalled for remark or behavior, be it anyone. We were taught to keep quiet, not question or answer back the elders, and that didn’t help in life. You need to take a stand for yourself, your self-respect, and let’s not equate that to being selfish or ill mannered always.

Along with academics, teach your children to be strong, to question, and to speak up. Self-respect is precious.

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Respect the reader..

While reading out a chapter in her tuition class, my daughter noticed that few of the students were talking loudly, laughing and in general disturbing the class. My daughter stopped reading, allowing them to continue or to stop their conversation, and after they stopped she resumed the reading. My daughter said, “These kids don’t know how to respect the reader.”

Yes..many of the adults even don’t know how to respect the readers, speakers, performers. It’s a common sight when we see an artist performing on stage or some orator putting forth his/her points, audience chatting loudly, talking on their mobiles, laughing. That’s really disrespectful. Yes..people might get bored at a point but there’s a decorum that needs to be maintained at all places, a basic respect.

Similarly, most people are not good listeners. When someone is speaking, they cut the conversation in between and start talking about something else without bothering to let the person finish his/her conversation!

Respecting is not just talking politely, its also about listening politely. That’s also an art!

Appreciating the teenager..

Just went and gave a peck to my nearing 20-year-old son for being such a good teenager throughout his teen years. Yes..we have had our share of difference of opinions, but never has he banged the door on me, yelled and shouted at me, spent money unnecessarily or without informing me or his dad, has gone out or stayed long without informing us.

Recently I have been reading a lot about brash and rude teenagers and most of the times people put the blame on mobile or gadgets. My son, like most of the teens, has mobile and has his earphones glued to his ears. But one thing must have helped, that I assume, is communication. Communication means talking it out and not nagging, ordering, judging or yelling. With the change in generations, as parents we have also adapted to it. What seemed taboo or a strict no-no during our times might not be so today. Sometimes it has been difficult to adapt to the change as we are from a different generation, but evolving is growing.

This was not bragging about my son, rather appreciating him. Sometimes we forget to appreciate what we have and expect more.

All studies, no sports, makes the children dull..

My daughter is in 10th this year, and just like the 2 board exams prior to this that my son had given, both I and my husband are chilled out. Yesterday, I saw a video and excitedly called my daughter to watch it. It was a video where some football team showed a great team work and was a magnificent video to watch. My daughter plays football and I knew she would enjoy the video.

In our country, still sports is not given its due or the kids encouraged to pursue it, especially once they are in the higher classes. All they are asked to do is “study all the time”, which I believe is humanly impossible. I myself was never into any sports and hence wanted both my kids to play any sport. My daughter manages her athletics, football, tuition, studies, gets tired, sometimes gets rebuked by the teachers for playing sports in class 10, yet I always tend to support her passion.

As such, girls sports is still neglected, not just in our country but all over the world. Still the privileges and expectations are with the boys. My girl is saddened by this bias many a times, but still wants to pursue it, loves it, fights for it. Just like my son, I know she will also do good in her life in terms of career and so I want her to enjoy the sport till the time she can.

I so wish our country also encouraged sports, arts, just as they encourage studies. It’s hard work for the youngsters, but can be managed. Sports teach team work, resilience, hard work, being healthy…

Alas..

Appreciate and acknowledge the silent support..

It’s good to see Virat Kohli acknowledging the silent support of his wife and dedicating her his victory. When you are down and out, even that support makes you strong. I don’t understand why people have problem with men praising and acknowledging their wife, but despite all the backlash he continues to acknowledge her.

Even in the normal scenario, including me, when the husband goes out or travels for his work; he is at peace because he know the wife is handling the home, children, her work seamlessly. There are many days when the wife is not well, may be having a bad day, exhausted handling the children (of various stages), had an awful day at work but she handles it all with elan. When someone, including the husband, calls her up, she simply states, “I am fine. All good.”

Support is highly underappreciated and underrated, and given our patriarchal setup husband appreciating the wife is a matter of ridicule or criticism. When the entire world is against you and criticizing you, on your good and bad days when the silent support gives you the strength to fight again, you should always appreciate and acknowledge that support.

Kudos to the teens and their parents..

Today was an overwhelming day as many of my friends’ kids and my nephew cleared their 10th, 12th and some other entrance exams with flying colors. By flying colors, I don’t mean above 95% or so; I mean that the efforts of these kids have been fruitful.

I have seen these children grow in front of my eyes and seen them shape up. Most importantly, I know the parents, especially the moms, of these children very closely. I have seen these parents encouraging and supporting their kids with their choices among all adversities and difficulties. They had their share of emotional, financial, and other struggles, yet I have seen them help and support their kids with a smile on their face. A big kudos to these parents.

As for the children, most of them would label them as nonchalant, mobile scrolling, earphone wearing, careless teenagers. But all these teenagers have shown that they were/are not careless and are serious about their future because they know that they belong to the middle-class parents who can provide education as “property or heirloom”. These kids include my both children too.

I wish these kids all the best for their future, but mostly I wish them to be happy in life because happiness is grossly underrated.

Self-love is important..

Yesterday my daughter’s teacher asked them write down the names of 5 persons whom they loved. When the teacher asked who had written their names in that list, more than half of the class didn’t raise their hand.

This is not surprising as we are not taught to love ourselves. This holds even more true for women. Sacrificing is applauded while self-love or self-indulgence is being shamed. When one doesn’t love oneself, somewhere there is constant seeking of validation from others, the feeling of being guilty, the need to prioritize only others. People who are self-assured and love and prioritize themselves are confident people.

We are taught to love, respect and prioritize others; that “we” should include oneself too..

Life; the best teacher..

More than the physical strength of the number of push-ups you do or the weights you lift, strength is holding yourself strong when the weight of adversities and challenging situations bog you down in life.

FB throwback reminded my of how 3 years ago on this day I was with my late father when he had his second heart attack in a span of 6 months. I needed to be strong for my mother, my father. Within I didn’t know whether my father would make it or not, my heart broke to see my ailing father and my broken mother, but I had to put on a brave face.

I have handled the hospitalizations/illnesses of my husband, both the children all alone trying to act strong, taking decisions practically rather than breaking down. It breaks your heart to see your loved ones being hospitalized or weak/frail. I knew in such situations I had to get them back to their strong and normal self again, and I have done that successfully in numerous situations in the past 20 years.

I have seen my kids being bullied, my son getting specs at age 7, my daughter getting period at age 10 and in all these situations I had to give them the strength because I knew if I broke down they would be shattered. I have seen the so-called well-wishers and friends getting me to write blogs for free for their start-ups or websites and then never bothering to connect again.

All these experiences make you a little more thick-skinned, a little aloof and cold, a little less emotional. Not all experiences in life are pleasant ones, but that’s what life is all about; its the best teacher.

The change didn’t happen in one day..

Let’s face it, parenting children especially teenagers and young adults is way more different than what it was during our times as kids and teens. Not generalizing, but most of the middle-class Indian parents would never talk about consent, hormones, puberty, sex education; homosexuality and LGBTQ being unheard of! Even when there was an “odd kissing scene” in any movie, the channel would be changed hurriedly. Having curiosity about sex or changes in the body or opposite gender would be frowned upon. Most of us came to know about a lot of stuff only through friends or post marriage!

As a generation of parents, we have transitioned, made conscious efforts to be more open and frank with our children. Still I read many people lamenting about parents should not be “friends” with their kids. In my humble opinion and almost 2 decades of parenting, talking it out helps more than hiding or chiding. It prevents the curious, hormonally charged children to go astray or experiment in wrong ways to curb their enthusiasm or curiosity. The transition from those “good” children to the “frank” parents has not been easy; but when someone from the previous generation tells me, “That’s how it used to be”, I always have this question, “No one taught this to us as parents too, then how did learn and unlearn certain things?” If we allow things to continue and don’t try to bring in the change, nothing will change. From those gawky teens who couldn’t and still can’t question or utter certain “prohibited” words in front of our parents to the frank parents ourselves, it has been a long, insightful, challenging, learning journey.

The change didn’t happen in one day..

Empathy costs nothing..

When a girl is molested/raped, stop asking the girl accusingly, “What were you wearing? Why were out so late?”

When a woman moves out of an abusive relationship, stop telling her, “Why did you walk out? You should have tried harder and adjusted.”

When a child is dealing with body image issues, stop jibing, “Oh my God! Look at you. Do something about your body. You look so ugly.”

When a student goes outside to study and dies under unfortunate circumstances, stop asking the parents, “Why did you send him/her to study abroad?”

Don’t say or ask all these; you never know you might be in their place one day. You never realize the pain until it has happened to you or your loved ones.

A little empathy doesn’t hurt. It doesn’t cost anything..