What are we doing to our children?

I went to watch a children’s play at Ranga Shankara a couple of days ago…and though the play was very well done, it set me thinking….

We complain so often about children being made mini-adults well before their time, by all the marketing that is aimed at them, the academic load (very literal, with the amount of schoolbooks they have to lug to school in their backpacks) they carry…but have we ever thought how we seem to be loading them up with adult concerns and guilt, too?

We are such preachers. We tell our children to worry about global warming, about pollution, about water…when WE are the people who are not doing much about the mess in the first place. We fondly believe that our children will listen to our words and not to the examples we are setting. “Oh, air pollution is terrible in our city!” we exclaim to them, as we herd them into our air-conditioned cars to go across town for their tennis coaching or whatever it is. “Trees are precious! You should save our trees!” we say piously, and keep perfectly quiet when the tree in our apartment complex is chopped down.

This awareness-problem has developed to the stage where no child seems to be able to write a nice simple fantasy or draw a picture which doesn’t deal with ecological or environmental issues. And often, I find chilrden just parroting the politically correct stances that their parents and teachers spout on these issues, as their young minds, which should be busy with play and not loaded with worries, really cannot comprehend what these things mean.

“Looks are not important!” we chorus at them, and when they switch on the TV they see ads for “Fair and Lovely” and “Fair and Handsome”, in which jobs and success only follow physical beauty. “Eat healthy!” we admonish them, and then say, “if you are good, I will take you to Pizza Hut… or MacDonald’s”. How many parents serve fresh fruit juice at birthday parties instead of Fanta or Coke? I have not seen a single children’s party where chips and fried food are not on the menu.

We are not only making mini-adults of our children…we are also making mini-hypocrites of them…because the tragedy is, our children are not going to do what we say, they are going to do what we do.

Our children…so often I feel sorry for them. We drive them on in the rat-race, and make sure they can not get off the eternally turning wheel….

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