This is the first guest post in my blog….and my first guest to grace my blog is my best friend cum worst critic – my father!! Perhaps, the inspiration to write, to think and be non opinionated is drawn from him. Although his eyesight is not that great as before, he still managed to share some of his beautiful thoughts in the post below. A post most grandparents and parents of today would relate to! Happy reading!
My daughter was shouting at her son for his inability to cope up with her expectations, correcting him constantly and reprimanding him on more occasions (so as I feel). I interrupted to remind her about her childhood days, and to be patient with her young one. She in turn corrected me saying, “appa times have changed!! We cannot apply the same parenting methods now”. That set me thinking, whether parenting changes with times and generations. I remember the words of a saint that parenting is learning and teaching. Now, I realize that for a grandparent, it is de-learning, learning and teaching.
Yes, parenting methods have to keep up with changing times. Every generation has its own peculiarities. The normal family size has shrunk and aspirations have increased. Opportunities have not kept pace with requirements and hence, the needs have increased. So, luxuries have become essentials and so on and so forth.
In our generation, six decades back it was not unusual to find families with half a dozen siblings or more. Joint family was the norm. As children we were raised in a versatile environment. Fathers were busy making both ends meet while mothers kept their pace with the score of endless household activities. As children were from all age groups, there was a continuity in passing on the values, the games , moral stories, and many other things that modern day play schools and nurseries are imparting. We never felt the vacuum or lack of company at any time. Each member of the family right from grandfather, grandmother , uncle, aunt and parents had different things to teach, probably in a beautiful time-sharing manner. Precisely, life was simple. Vacations were spent in nearby relatives place. Each one of us grew up as per the abilities we had and found employment in family business or outside.
In the next generation the family size shrunk. It was not sudden. The process of shrinking was gradual. As employment opportunities had to be sought beyond the frontiers of native villages, town, cities and even countries, the joint family concept had started losing its relevance. Nuclear families with strong individuals and stronger personalities emerged. A single child or at the maximum, two is normal and in fact even recommended by even the government. Resources, employment, opportunities have not kept pace with the exploding population and has brought in cut throat completion, where the race to be ahead of others has only got more aggressive with time. And it is at this juncture, I feel that even parenting methods have to be in sync as well. It cannot be the same as it was in my generation which compels me to agree with my daughter. And that is what I observe in today’s generation, the irrepressible desire of today’s parents to see their child(ren) grow faster, mature faster, excel faster and settle faster. Playschools, nurseries and pre-schools are filling in the gap left by the absence of elders in our generation. The only difference is that, now it is now done with commercial interest.
What I have observed in the current phase is, parents of today want to see a child in infant, a boy/girl in a toddler, a teen in preadolescent age and an adult in teen . Following which, parenting today has advanced to a whole new level, where children of today are missing the charm of their respective stages. Probably it has become a compulsion, a necessity which is not that debatable .The positive side is probably the average IQ (Intelligence quotient) of each stage has increased compared to our times. The fallout I fear is, that life should not become so mechanical that EQ (emotional quotient) and SQ (spiritual quotient) hit rock bottom. By which I mean, in this process of excelling in the cut throat competition of today, old age should not appear in middle age itself. Just my views from having seen through the four generations (my parents, mine, my daughter’s and now my grandson’s).
That said, I hope the current generation understands the responsibilities and the challenges of the life ahead them and carries with them, the gumption to face them. On a lighter note, my daughter who compulsively used to disagree on everything being said to her, is now all ears to the advice I ‘occasionally’ give her. 🙂