Short-Cuts For Building Character

Posted: February 27, 2019

She is my best friend and we have been sharing all our happiness and sorrow since childhood. This time when I met her I found her a little puzzled. Upon asking, she gave me an inexplicable reason and I felt that she might be just “making a mountain out of a mole-hill”.

I had to stay with her for a few days for some assignment and so got a chance to observe. She has a 5-year-old child (Krish) who I thought to be one of the cutest boys in her locality.  He is very naughty but at the same time is a very charming, happy-go-lucky child, loved by all. I observed that he takes all the opportunities to speak with the Security guards whenever he is walking in and out of the apartment premises. The guards too enjoy the innocent conversation and have a hearty laugh with him. He also speaks with the elderly people sitting in the park, basking under the sun. These senior citizens also love to talk to him as he makes them happy and they laugh together. His innocent queries and all his flights of fancies made him a darling to all. He also plays with grown-up boys and they too include him in their matches (though not as a team member but purely out of affection).

He speaks with the shopkeepers & has no hesitation in asking any question and clearing his doubts. He announces to everyone he meets about his grandfather visiting him and how he plays with his grandparents, what his mommy has prepared for dinner, where his dad took him out last evening and what not. In short, he is the heart and soul of that locality and he is a popular child. His cute looks and cheeks make him extremely adorable. And like all other kids, he too is a naughty child which is not an abnormality.

But there was something which I started noticing. The boys of his age were banishing him from the game every evening. This was one of the concerns and I could understand that this non-acceptance amongst peers was making my friend upset. All the mothers would sit in the park together to gossip with each other whereas my friend used to be vigilant about her son. She used to check if the boys are bullying her son or not and this used to happen invariably every evening. The evening stroll in the park which is generally a relaxation time for all others was turning out to be stressful for my friend. No other mother would ever bother to check any misconduct on behalf of their child as they were engrossed in their gossip sessions. They all were working mothers and my friend is a house-maker although that hardly matters as she mingles with them whenever she gets an opportunity.

Having an inkling of her confused state, I started observing the situation even more deeply. Krish is no doubt a naughty boy, but other boys were no less. But what I noticed more that the boys would leave no chance to kick him from the back and bully him. He was always pushed by these boys and was not allowed to play. I observed that my friend would make attempts to make peace with these boys. She would ask the reason for not allowing Krish to be part of their play and every time she would be given various reasons like him being too young to understand the game, him being wild with boys, him being abusive to them and what not.

She got so perturbed by the fact that boys of the age group 5-8 had unanimously boycotted her son. I even observed that many times few boys carelessly blamed Krish for something that he hadn’t done. They would make such a huge hue and cry in front of their mothers blaming Krish that anyone would think that Krish is guilty. Although he would be innocent and actually unaware of the situation. The only reason he would be silent was that he was too naive to understand all this. My friend never had proof so she too at times scolded Krish for something he didn’t do and made him apologize.

After this, I would see my friend and Krish coming back home form the park wondering where they went wrong. It was a huge matter of concern for her and I could understand the trouble she was going through which I initially thought to be a trivial issue.

One day during a squabble, my friend got a shock of her life when one of the boys told her that his mother has directed him not to play with Krish because he a naughty boy and could be bad company for him. On further investigation, she understood that all the mothers who used to sit in the park for their gossip sessions had unanimously decided to boycott Krish. They made it seem as if Krish was a demon and all other children were reincarnations of God. And so, Krish got cornered and deserted. What a ridiculous thing to do!

Now, this situation hovered my mind for a long while and I couldn’t understand the root cause of the problem. I knew that Krish is not perfect. Like other children, he is also mischievous but definitely not cunning.

Few observations made by me were:

  • Krish looks like a child and has all Godly innocence in his eyes and smile. Whereas all the other boys of the same age group were small by their physical appearance but not in their looks and conduct.
  • My friend would ensure that if there is any mischief done by Krish, he is reprimanded about the act and made to apologize. This was done to instil the feeling of guilt in him so that he does not repeat such mistakes. My friend was trying to drive home the point that it takes a lot of guts to apologize and an apology does not mean that you are lesser than the other person.
  • The mothers who used to sit for a chit chat had adopted a completely defensive attitude. This I can say with conviction as I myself witnessed an incident where one of Krish’s friend hit him very hard on his back with his badminton racquet resulting in a bruise. My friend immediately took Krish to that boy’s house and tried to convey the message to his mom. Instead of making her son say sorry, she defended her son by saying that its Krish is the one who instigates her son every time. She was, in turn, making her son understand that whatever the situation may be, his mom would be there to defend him. I wonder what her son would become after he grows up.
  • A short cut by all moms in taking care of their children by fulfilling their responsibilities by sitting in the park and gossiping but not keeping a tab of the conduct of their children.
  • A short cut in building the character of their children by unanimously boycotting a child.

I wondered about the easy route they had adopted and guided their children on the same. They probably harboured some false notion about Krish being a spoilt child or maybe they are poisoned with jealousy since Krish is the favourite among all elders. I call this as an act of harassment of a child.

Being a mother is a huge responsibility. Motherhood is not just being a biological mother to a child but to have a big heart full of affection for all children and an urge to build strong characters of the new generation.

I could see how the next generation is getting ready to survive in the coming time. Krish had already started his struggle to survive and I am sure he would turn out to be a strong personality. Whereas other children would, unfortunately, grow up to be spineless characters who were never guided by their parents on what’s wrong and what’s right.

It was a huge matter of concern and all I could do in that small tenure was to make my friend understand that Krish being an all-rounder is inviting troubles for him. Instead of pleading with other people to accept Krish as a part of them and lowering his confidence every day, she should channelize his energy in some other activity that would build his confidence and keep him engaged productively.

On one side, my friend is giving all her time to develop her child’s foundation and on the other side, some mothers were resorting to short cuts, the implications of which are not known to them or they have chosen to close their eyes. They are allowing their jealousy to breed which would ultimately yield no productive results.

I felt sad for those boys more because their foundation is very weak. My friend was upset with the situation but I am sure Krish is getting a strong foundation to be a better and strong character which she would be proud of in future.

My intention through this write up is just to address the couples who have recently become parents that they might be financially fit to make all provisions for their kids but what is more important is to keep a check on what values and morals you are instilling in them. “Children don’t follow what you teach but they follow what you do”, so beware of what you are doing. Parenthood is a huge responsibility.

As time takes a full circle, the morals, the conduct and value system you are giving today to your children would come back to you in some form tomorrow.

A strong foundation means a sturdy structure.

 

Image Source : Pixabay

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