Children are our future. We need to nurture them carefully and build correct personality in them for a sustainable growth. During a table topics session at a toastmasters meeting, the Table Topics Master asked me to enact the role of a 9 yr old boy proposing his 8 yr old girlfriend studying in same class. This topic came to me on children’s day. I was not in a mood to change the topic or escape the situation after attending so many table topics session. Still I could not play the role. Not because I can’t but what I felt that time was I should not.
I ask myself often should I do something because that is the need of the situation and people are awaiting your response or should I assert myself well before any act, whether I should do that or not. My heart gives me the answer that you do something what you want to do and not under any pressure that somebody wants you to do that. Doing such an act just to have fun what message can I convey to my audience and the society at large? Some people might understand the reality and some may not. Those who can understand the situation and think laterally will find me right and those who can’t will find a fool in me. Somebody told me later that my daughter is 6 years old and she is talking about girlfriends and boyfriends. From where do children learn these things? It’s non other than their surrounding environment, I mean the media like radio, TV, newspaper, magazines, mobile phones and more over the people they interact with. This can be another topic of discussion. Let me stick on to the current topic.
There is another instance on a TV show I’d like to elaborate. It was a reality show aired on cable TV network. It was a song competition and the participants were of different age groups of which mostly are children from 7 yr olds. The judges nominated were all well known personalities from film and music industry. In one instance one of the judges told a singer that I can’t give you the top grade. Your performance is very good but it needs improvement. The child started crying. The child was curious what he did wrong. Trying to explain him the judge answered, I can understand that the song is of high quality and we can’t expect such a deep level of emotion and sensuality in your expression. It’s quite natural from you, so don’t worry. I just can’t figure out what the 7 year old might have understood from such an explanation. If that is the case, why can’t we select specific songs according to age group of participants?
In another reality show which was a song competition, the judge awarded a 7-8 year old as the best performer. As a part of congratulatory talks finally he talked to his parents. Everybody seemed to be happy including the audience. All of a sudden another judge from the panel came up with a compliment. He told the audience, you know he has four girlfriends and there was laughter all around including his parents. I’ll leave the readers to analyze such a situation and it’s after effect on the child. I’ve attended meetings where I got the privilege to listen to Dr. Ali Khwaja who is a counselor, trainer and a child specialist having a Ph.D in counseling psychology. He had authored several books of educational value on human behavior, children and counseling. I have a similar thought on education and caring for children how he writes in his books.
There is a need now to understand the reality and correct ourselves before it’s too late. My assertion about the topic goes like this. There is a definite age for maturity. It may vary over a range of time for some people. We can’t produce wonder kids by providing them with all the information before a certain age what I view as maturity. Let them live their life free from complexity of this world at least till their under graduation before they can decide their future and learn how to deal with life situations. We should not steal childhood from children.
With the advent of technology and the first changing information age, you can’t hide anything to anybody. Only we can teach children to perceive the right thing and do away with the rest.
* First published at http://writersatchatterati.blogspot.in/ on Monday, 17 December 2007