Parents all over the world are not very different when it comes to teaching children values. The difference however lies in the fact that Indian families have their own set of values which are sometimes in conflict with the values of other cultures. However there are values which would qualify as universal values. All cultures hold courage, independence, honesty to be values that should be inculcated in children.
India’s cultural heritage has its base in Indian values like non violence, respect for elders, for the tools of their trade, family bondage, and the very Indian “athiti devo bhava” In spite of the diversity in the Indian continent, these values are cherished. The value of prayer in India in some form or the other is prevalent in all sections of society. Whether it is at home or at the place of work, the day starts off with a prayer or an aarathi. The old and infirm are taken care of at home and family ties are very strong.
With the increasing influence of the west, it has become very hard for parents to try and keep these values intact, for the younger generation is always in a sense of conflict between the values that they have and the values that are. The age old adage “cleanliness is next to godliness” still holds good. This is something that all parents should inculcate in their children as it is a form of discipline.
Honesty and integrity old fashioned as they may sound come high on the priority list. These values are going to hold them in good stead in all the days to come. In an age where corruption is on the increase, the value of honesty becomes even more important. We may not be able to change the world, but in our daily lives we can definitely practise being honest. Children learn from what they see, so set an example by being honest yourself.
Respect for elders is a very Indian value and it stems from time immemorial. In keeping with changing times, it is essential for parents to teach children to respect not only elders but all human beings. When you give respect you earn respect.
Children must be taught to believe in their abilities and must be taught to believe in themselves. They must be taught to be tough and resilient and have the courage to bounce back after adversities.
Give them room to grow into what they actually are. Allow them to dream and help them to attain their dreams. This is always not very easy for it may mean going away from a well trodden path. Instil in them the courage to take failure in their stride and help them learn from their mistakes.
Self confidence should be the password which rules their lives. Learn to listen not to what they tell you but what they are trying to tell you. Always have time for them. Encourage them to ask and question, help them to find out the answers if any of the questions stump you and you will find a good ally in your children. In an age where the internet and television monopolize children, a passion for reading must be inculcated.
Reading helps children to become more refined in their behavior, more aware in their approach and allows them the privilege of armchair travel. Children must be taught to love books right from when they are very young. Gift them books for their birthdays, encourage them to gift books and build a small library of their own,. In the process of discussion of a particular book, not only do you establish a rapport with the children but you make the ties stronger. Encourage them to write about what they read, hear and see and write articles for a newspaper or for the internet. If there is a library nearby ensure that they are members. Books are for all time wonderful companions and teachers.
Parents must encourage children to appreciate good things, goods deeds and good actions. WE find that rendering praise has become a rare commodity although we know that almost all people thrive on praise. On the same note, expressing gratitude goes a long way and children should be taught the art of “thank yous”.
They should be taught to be grateful for all that life has given them –all the small things that make up their lives which so many others do not have. Showing compassion, having consideration for others, learning to empathize should be apart of their daily lives. Acquiring a sense of responsibility and accountability and learning to behave in properly are values, which should be instilled when the child is young. The value of money and the art of managing finances must be inculcated early. Ensure that children live within their allowances and without making it apparent make sure they spend correctly. LIVE well but live simply should be the motto of their lives.
National pride must be instilled. While borrowing from other cultures is good, children must retain their national identity. Being a good citizen, being concerned about society,
building healthy relationships, obeying the law and being concerned with truth and justice all go a long way in building character. Being able to discern right from wrong, and the ability to do what they believe is right in spite of opposition and temptation requires courage and the stronger the foundation, the greater the courage.
While schools do impart moral education, in the early years it is the parents who have the greater influence. Impartng the correct values and teaching the correct things is not always easy, but Indian Parenting values have as a foundation the great culture that is so symbolically India. With this as a base, parenting and value instilling becomes a little easier. However we have to contend with a generation which is so “modern” in its approach. Keeping this in mind, small changes in approach can reap rich dividends.
~ Data 2007. :: Authored by M. Swami.