Thursday, 31 October 2013
I have always been fascinated by growth and maturing. As a little boy we raised chickens at the backyard. It was a free range kind of rearing. I carefully followed the process of how the little chicks became grown chickens. I studied them so much that I formed theories about them. I was particularly interested in the male chicken because that was where all the ‘action’ was. I keenly watched how the dominant male emerged; when it grew those elegant feathers; when it began to crow; when it began to make that male display. I was about 8yrs old when these ‘studies’ were going on. Looking back now I believe I could almost foretell when the next stage in the development of a cock would begin.
For humans the responsibility of growth of the new born is invested in the parents. How the parents take this responsibility goes a long way in determining the kind of adult the child becomes. It is however not the absolute determinant of the child’s future. Parenting is a sacred responsibility. The excellence we see in the world today is largely due to some parents who did a great job of pointing the way to the little ones. Likewise the misery of the world today is largely due to the lack of proper nurturing.
Nurturing children involves so many things—feeding, clothing, protecting, affirming, correcting, disciplining, modelling ,etc. Modelling—correct modelling—means showing the child an example of correct and principled living. (Of course the parents cannot give what they don’t have). The greatest impact on the child is the example shown by the parent or parent figure. What the parents say is worth almost nothing if it is not consistent with their lifestyle. The parents who consistently speak one thing and do the other are unwittingly modelling hypocrisy and duplicity. The child learns these automatically. The poor child cannot help it.
When the little one grows older he may start to see that some of his perspectives to life are faulty. He now has the responsibility to change these. If his parents have been abusive and essentially selfish he can choose to be otherwise. The acknowledgement of the responsibility to re-script himself (as Stephen Covey put it) is the key to his transformation. If he does nothing about it, if he says to himself, ‘Look, that’s who I am’, he too will be abusive to his children and thereby raising children who possess a high tendency of being abusive and so the vicious cycle continues.
Parenting is sacred responsibility.