In this book, Dada Vaswani makes the point that in pursuit of our goal?be it wealth, love, happiness or glory, ?do not neglect your richest treasure? your children.? He quotes Rabindranath Tagore to add weight to his words: ?Every child comes with a message that God is not yet discouraged by man.? Children represent the hope, the future, and the possibility of salvation for all humanity. Hence it is not without significance that one of the most sacred days in a year is Janamashtami?the auspicious festival held to celebrate the birth of the divine child Bal Gopal, as Lord Krishna is fondly called by his bhaktas.
A very interesting incident is narrated in the book. A young man in France, on committing a heinous crime, was being led away, when he shouted loudly at the persons present in the court that he had nothing against the judges who had punished him rightly. Neither did he hold anything against the police who had discharged their duty. But ?I can never forgive two persons in this courtroom? my father and my mother. They are responsible for my present condition. They paid no attention to my upbringing. They did not take care of the company I moved in; they never bothered to find out who my friends were?? The man'sbitterness stemmed from his parents? failure to realise their responsibility towards him as a child.
Dada Vaswani goes on to list the responsibilities of the mother once the child is born and regrets that very few fathers share the responsibility of bringing up the child. He advises, ?Keep your child very close to yourself until he is at least three years of age. He needs the affectionate touch of his mother, the warm smile of his father.? Narrating an anecdote about a rich father who had no time for his children but who ensured that he gave expensive gifts to them on their birthdays, Dada Vaswani gives some very important and relevant tips on parenting. These include spending time with children, treasuring every important event of their growing up years, involving children in their activities, giving individual attention to each child, surprising them with the unusual and the unexpected, communicating with them and offering possibilities and options available for them.
Dada Vaswani has a very revealing chapter on how to deal with teenagers, the young adults who are no longer children. Some of the tips given for dealing with teenagers during adolescence include:
o Communicate with your child regularly, systematically and openly
o Do not allow conversations to become conflicts
o Listen to your teenagers
o Spend leisure hours with your children
o Do not interfere with your teenagers? personal tastes or make an issue
o Help children to develop morals and values not by lecturing but making them aware through acceptable behaviour
o Anxiety and concern of parents is not more than the ?turmoil and unhappiness of their children?. Dada says, ?You are in it together?and together you will come out of it whole! Your children will grow up to be mature, responsible young adults and you will experience the profound satisfaction of having helped them through their most difficult years.?
In short, Dada Vaswani advises all parents to help their children evolve into good human beings and responsible citizens by closing the generation gap and replacing it with a bond of friendship and understanding.
(Sterling Paperbacks, A-59 Okhla Industrial Area, Phase II, New Delhi-110 020.)