Tuesday, January 28, 2014

What will be your “parental value” 50 years from now?

It’s the start of a new year – 2014! For many of us, The New Year is really a time to think and ponder – We get pensive and reflective about many things. It’s the same with me. And one thing which has been on my mind for a while now is this question

What will be your “parental value” 50 years from now? By this, I mean “What will your children truly value you for in the times to come?”

Now I know that VALUE is a loaded word. I also know that the role and responsibilities of a PARENT are never within any boundaries, and evolve with changing times and needs. Add to this the additional complexity of looking into the future – especially when I am no astrologer; and neither do I have a crystal ball – This post is bound to be a challenge.  But yet, the thought persists – And so here I am writing this post.

If you think through and look back at your parents or their parents, most of us value them for the following:
1)      Unconditional love – which was manifested in many subtle and beautiful ways!
2)      Always being there – especially physically and emotionally
3)      Believing in you; and never giving up on you
4)      Knowledge
5)      Being living virtues / role models of core values like honesty, discipline, hard-work
6)      Being teachers of specific life / parenting skills like cooking (specially mother), art, sports
7)      Treasure of Life Experiences and Wisdom (more so when we touch 30, or become parents ourselves)

Now if you look at a typical “parent – child” relationship of today, many of the above points have changed significantly in today’s day and age:

1)      Many parents are NOT always there for their children: physically and emotionally : It’s the technology era. The age of the busy working parents who are out of home most of the days. So many parents end up being weekend parents or visiting parents, and children learn to grow and adapt with whoever is living with them – physically at least (grandparents, maids / nannies, etc.). Emotionally also, unless parents make an effort to bond and emotionally connect with the children, it’s a weak link; and only weakens over time! Children end up finding emotional anchors in the world around them – Friends, Social Media, Strangers even sometimes – And that can many times change their lives, and their views of their parents itself!

2)      Many parents are NOT the primary source of KNOWLEDGE : Again thanks to technology / internet / Google / Social Media, knowledge is available “free” and “accessible in real time”. In many cases, the children “KNOW” as much / more than the parents in many areas, so they don’t associate too much value to their parent’s knowledge. Unless the parents are established experts in a specific area!

3)      Many parents don’t have the “ESRTWHILE Parenting / Life Skills” : Let’s face it. Many parents don’t have the “parenting / life” skills their parents had / nor do they have the time or interest to build these skills. Of course, they have many other skills which their parents did not have. For e.g.: The time and effort your mom invested in cooking fresh healthy and a variety of nutritious everyday meals is not the way it’s done today in many homes. The time your dad spent is playing cricket / ball with you during the evenings and week-ends is not the way it’s done today. Many of these skills are outsourced at a price. For e.g.: Hire a cook, enrollment into a cricket camp, etc.

 4)      Several parents are really not living virtues of CORE VALUES: Again, maybe it’s the era, the society, the times we live in and the ways of the world. You read it in the news almost every day, and see it as a part of your everyday life – Bribery, Fraud, Corruption, Dishonesty, Violence, Deceit,  Breaking rules (For e.g: Traffic rules, standing in a line), etc etc & people getting away with it.

The previous generation of parents (read our parents / grandparents) thought a zillion times before they did any of these. In fact, they’d disassociate themselves from people who exhibited such behavior!  Things like “respect” and “social standing” and “reputation” were valued highly, and some behaviors were just NOT OK.

 With a lot of parents of today, a lot of these behaviors are OK, acceptable and the way of the world!  Children see their parents doing these things, and believe that’s the way it’s done. After all, there are no other role models around!

5)      Some parents don’t “TRUST” their children: Again, it may be the influence and impact of the society that one is living in, but the “trust factor” is weak in many parent child relationships. Personally, I think a lot to do is with the foundation laid in the formative years of a child’s development, the social networks a child is exposed to and how “vulnerable” moments in a child’s life are dealt with.

Yes, Agreed that
1)      Most parents even today do unconditionally love their children – But do they express it? Do the children feel / know it?
2)      Most parents even today rarely give up on their children – But does it truly matter to the children the way it did 50 years back?
3)      Most parents even today have a treasure of Life Experiences and Wisdom – But are they able to articulate in a way that the child understands? Do children today truly value this experience and wisdom?

So, I am left wondering with the question “What will your children really value their parents for in the future?

Honestly, I don’t have the answers!  For now, I am in this quest…. Let me know if you know…

1 comment:

  1. Nischala, You just put the points so precisely in your posts. I love the clarity in your thoughts and how you present them. This is a scary question and truth be told, there is so much a shift in our outlook too. I mean, our parents would expect us to do so many things but, I think we may not expect that out of our kids. You have made me think on this. Let me do that for now...