WHEN we talk about change, it remains incomplete until we focus on inculcating Bharatiya values into the young generation. This should begin from our own family and from a tender age. Only preaching is not enough, our own conduct should show what we want to convey to the young ones. Therefore, family is the first school for imparting good samskars among the kids.
It depends upon elders of the family how they want to shape their young members. Even their minor actions can lead to inculcating many good values. First we should start giving more time to the children at home and should not let them fully depend upon television or other means of entertainment. We must ensure that the child gets access to only quality programmes on television. Many good quality programmes are available in the form of serials, films or documentaries. At times, elders should also join them in viewing such programmes and have discussions with them. This makes the learning process of a child easy and healthy.
Sometimes, we ourselves are responsible to make our children’s outlook individualistic. It is not good for our family values too. We must teach them to think for others also. Thinking individually is not always bad, but thinking for others too is necessary for a healthy society. Sometimes, our own actions promote bad habits among children. When the child goes to school, the mother tells him/her not to share his meals and other things with other students, which ultimately makes them selfish. On the other hand if the mother herself tells the child to share his/her things with friends, it develops good habits. These all are minor things, but leave great impact on kids.
We should have a sort of ‘friendship’ with our teenaged children (…prapteshu shodase varshe putra mitramivacharet) We should know their friends by name. We should also go to their homes with our children. This will make them feel that they are also important ones. At that age, the children have many questions in their mind and they should feel free to ask us without hesitation. We need not, and should not, answer all of them. We should take them to appropriate persons. This way, they will get an opportunity to meet persons of caliber. We should also take them to meet some persons who are involved in some social service, some noble work. They are likely to get some inspiration from them.
If we want our children to have a glorious feeling towards our rich traditions and culture, we should provide them with that kind of atmosphere. When a child grows we have to tell him/her how all our traditions that we have been following since thousands of years are scientifically proven and time tested. The scientific reasons behind the festivals also have to be explained in a proper manner. It can be explained orally or through written literature, which is suitable for their age. Fortunately, many good books are available today, which talk to them in their languages. Just saying that Hindutva is a great way of life is not enough. We have to practically show what makes it great. For example, take the Hindu calendar. It is the most scientific time calculation method today. If we tell the children its scientific background, it will generate a glorious feeling about it. Only then they will realise the need to preserve and follow it. Then they will also automatically prefer to observe their birthdays according to the Hindu calendar and also following other rich Hindu traditions.
Today, our all emphasis is on career building. Schools and colleges stress only on it. Alright, career is important. But then who will make them aware of their duty towards the neighbourhood, the society and the nation? Such environment makes them self-centred, which is the root cause of most of the evils prevailing in society today. Only the child grown into a healthy matrix becomes a responsible citizen.
Some minor things make a big difference. Today, there is a tradition of calling all people Uncle and Aunty. Does it have the emotional attachment, which words like Chaha-Chachi, Tau-Tai, Mama-Mami, etc have? We must think about it. The samskars imparted in the family basically makes the overall personality of a child. Even the celebration of birthdays (lighting of the lamps instead of blowing, traditional dress, touching the feet of elders and taking their blessings, going to temple for darshan, giving donation for some noble social causes, etc) should have a message not only for our own children but also for all other children who join the celebration.
So, let us start from our own home. The changes in the society are bound to follow.
(The writer, a former Professor of Electronics of NIT Bhopal, is national convener of Prajna Pravah and joint international coordinator of Hindu Swayamsevak Sangh. As told to Pramod Kumar)