Nowadays when I look at my children, I feel exasperated at times. They come running to me, complaining and crying, each time one hits the other. Every other day, there are stories of how the teacher at school is unfair, or how classmates are bullies. While I say, “go sort things out yourself”, I watch the look of disappointment on their faces as if I had failed them as a mother. Then there are those moments when I come back home from work to see my elder son clicking away the mouse to glory, and the younger one glued to the television. As I turn the computer and TV off, asking them to go play outside with friends, I observe the look of contempt they give, as though I was the worst mom ever.
When we grew up, such reactions from us directed towards our parents were unheard of. They said and did what they thought was best for us. They never interfered in the fights we had with our siblings and friends. Our parents always sided with the teachers and school authorities, never supporting us when they complained about us. In fact, it was a natural thing to do since after our parents, the school knew best, and teachers were our official guardians. While growing up at least 30 years back, our idea of fun incorporated activities like playing outside with our friends, running about in the entire street from morning till dusk, hanging out at a playmate’s house, chatting for hours together. If we ever wanted to eat outside, we would grab anything and everything we came across, drinking water from the garden hose instead of bottles, never worrying about health consequences. When playing with friends got over, our companions were books…loads of them.
These days, children grow up in a more sheltered environment, where parents are overprotective about what they wear, what they eat, where they go and who they hang out with. Since parenting is a huge responsibility, we tend to hand over expensive gadgets such as a laptop or a cellular phone, just so we don’t need to be around to watch over our kids and keep them busy. Maybe that is the reason why today’s children grow up to be more insensitive, weak, vulnerable to ailments, and most importantly, lonely. If you grew up in the 50’s, 60’s, 70’s, and 80’s, and you’re grateful for having done so, please share with your friends and family.