February 25, 2018

Family ties!

By Anu Dev

“To put the world right in order, we must first put the nation in order; to put the nation in order, we must first put the family in order; to put the family in order, we must first cultivate our personal life; we must first set our hearts right.” – Confucius

“Family”– a word that’s casually thrown about; taken for granted really, used flippantly without knowing the exact meaning. It’s not given the importance it deserves; and by extension, the family members are probably not getting enough importance either. Being away almost five years has certainly focused my mind on family and what it means!!
How many of you parents take the time to connect with your children and find out how their day went? How many of you parents take the time to find out about all of those little things in your daughter or son’s life? And how many kids take the time to find out how was their mom or dad’s day at work?
The values we learn from our families are the ones that mould us; the ones that shape us as individuals. In high school, when our teacher taught us the proverb “The hand that rocks the cradle rules the World”, I always used to think it was terribly clichéd, and so I disregarded it. But I realise now that, hackneyed though the adage may be, it still holds a simple truth: the institution of the family — in which the mother is the touchstone — has great power. But with that great power comes great responsibility. And it is not just the mother’s hand that should ‘rock’ the cradle; fathers, we know, are just as important.
I have noticed a strange phenomenon developing in our society: Parents are refusing to be parents; they want to be “friends” with their children. My parents have a rule: they are friendly with their children, but they’re not our friends! I commend that rule to parents out there. It works. Children don’t take too kindly to their friends telling them what to do, so “friend-parents” shouldn’t be surprised when they’re ignored!!
Parents also need to make sure that they are fulfilling their responsibility to their children by ensuring that they’re a part of their childhood. If you’ve ever had those moments when you look at your kid and you realise you don’t really know your own child, you’re clearly doing something wrong. And you can connect only when you share experiences with them. If your child is expected to learn their key values from you, what do you expect them to learn if you’re not interested in teaching them anything? And remember: you teach values by doing, not just speaking! If you don’t do that, don’t be surprised that while you’re connected by the strongest bond ever – blood — you’re further apart than if you were just, say, co-workers.
The family, then, needs to go back to what it was intended to be — an institution to provide care and teaching of the fundamental values to the next generation. If those values are not set when young, little change can be expected later.
Of course that’s not to say all families are ‘dysfunctional’, and that all family members are strangers. It’s just that we might be headed for that, with everyone getting more and more caught up in their own busy lifestyles, and each person looking out only for #1.
So, friends, take the time to connect with your family members. Don’t lock yourself away in your room all day, while you’re on Facebook connecting with people from across the world, when you can’t connect with family in your own house. They can’t “unfriend” you!