Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Childhood - then & now

These days electronic and paper media is filled with news of students and young children taking extreme steps. With exam time closing in some children and parents appear stressed.

Why is this so frequent now-a-days? Was childhood different two decades back? And is it different now?

Catch the difference below as I perceive child hood of the past & now. These are my views taken from the surroundings I live and many may not subscribe to the views here and it is not applicable to everyone.

One striking difference between the childhood then and now is that we were ignorant and hence innocent.Ignorance was indeed bliss. We were not exposed to the electronic goods and media and information, neither did we have parental, peer or school pressure . We found pleasure and satisfaction in very simple things and were not shielded from difficulties.

Those days the women folk after finishing their household work would sit around and learn to knit, paint, can products like jam, juice etc., and watched Tv some times( doordarshan). They had time to prepare delicious food and serve with love to children. Men folk would return home early added to that were the presence of grandparents, uncles and aunts who formed the joint family. Children came home to a joint family where they could relate the day’s happenings and problems which destreesed them

Today some parents have their own stressed lives to deal with not just working parents even stay at home moms. No time to care and spend time with their children. They send them to many extracurricular classes after school hours so they can keep their kids busy and attend to their work. With no extended family structure to sympathize with their feelings at home, parents at work they have become latch key kids and to compensate for the time spent with kids parents indulge their children’s fancies. Result they get everything today and are not prepared for a ‘ no’ in their later lives.Infact the temple priest who does puja at our native village temple who has very little salary has 3 mobile numbers. He said he bought the Hutch(a service providing company) number since his son wanted to have the number.His son is studying only in Class IV.

Those days When it came to making/breaking with friends, Parents never interfered. They did not allow us to choose and pick a friend. We had our fights with friends,cousins and siblings. They never shielded us from our problems but they were there to guide us through out.
Today parents are vice versa. They don’t allow children to rough out their lives. They are in a protective environment. They shield them from all the difficulties, Pick fights for their children’s sake with teachers, friends and do not allow their children to sort out their differences. Result is you are not able to face life without their help.

There were schools with good infrastructure and affordable fees. Education was not business then.Teachers those days were dedicated ,inspiring and taught us in simple ways in an airy environment. The stress free teachers imparted education on black boards in a way that it registered for a long time in our memory. Along with curriculum, moral values were instilled with dedication.The spiritual classes and prayers taught in school kept us mentally saner. Parents never sat with us and pressurized us to perform. Instead they would motivate us with simple words whilst doing their own work.

Today we have designer schools from various business companies which charge astronomical fees. Parents vie with one another to admit their child in the so called branded schools which lays emphasis on hore-riding, karate, tennis, shloka chanting and what not along with curriculum. All the classes are commercialized and taught by unskilled teachers with no aptitude for teaching. Stressed teachers rushing to finish their syllabi in dingy neon-lit a/c classrooms with LCD monitors and e- boards. The child is not able to grasp the concept. Parents pressurize them to do exceptionally well and they end up in private tuitions after school hours.

To channelize their energies Kids those days played in huge play grounds in school and in the neighbourhood where they raised dust storms , got dirty and played with friends unmindful of getting hurt or breaking their bones or catching infections all under sunshine. These games kept them mentally fit and less lethargic.
Today’s children have no ground or open space to run and play . They end up playing play station and video games in their ac environment under artificial lights. No Physical exercise. Then later on parents enroll them in a good dancing class/karate class/swimming class costing them a bomb.

Kid those days had simple toys ,books and clothes. Friends would share and exchange chandamama, ACK , Sputnik and other book. They cherished them like treasure and took good care of their things. Cycling was learnt on rented cycles which was rented for 50ps/hour.
Today’s generation of kids are growing on expensive electronic games (WII, PS,DS, X- box) and books . They have access to i-pod, internet, computers, cd’s DVD’s, - all their own, nothing borrowed or from a lending library. The vanity of the new book, dress and game console vanishes in no time and then they are ambitious for the upgraded versions. Today’s children have their own branded fancy cycle and keep updating with new models every three-four years according to their parents spending capability.

For kids those days, Party meant marriages and family functions where friends and relatives would get together.
Today, there are so many parties, birthday party, pyjama party,success party, dance party,theme party. Children wear branded clothes and they don’t repeat the dress, expensive junk food, costly party favors etc.

Vacation meant visit to grand parents place, local visits and inexpensive school excursions. There was no concept of summer camps.Music and dance were learnt after school hours which helped them to concentrate in studies All skills like team work, accepting failures gracefully, values of trust, honesty and handling up and downs were learnt through playing with friends.
Today’s children end up spending their summer vacation enrolled in summer classes in a a/c room with colorfully painted walls and more sophisticated lightings housed in a bylane. They have classes from 9-5 over shooting even their regular school timings. Pizza and burgers would be served with coke for lunch.

Inspite of all the facilities and loving parents, today’s children feel so insecure due to pressures from all quarters – peer, parental and school. No one to listen to their problems, no place to play, no proper study environment, don’t know how to handle problems, no immunity against diseases, no proper healthy diet, no moral/ethical values, no control over your emotions. Sad indeed is the plight of today’s kids.

If only parents/society/ teachers were more loving and accept their children with all the flaws and understand that academic excellence is not the only way to success and let children embrace their field of choice. If they raise them to be mentally strong and accept life’s up and downs with ease and teach them how to handle pressure rather than escape from pressure. If they inculcate moral,ethical,emotional, family and spiritual values in their children and not depend only on schools to impart them. If they realize that love cannot be measured with material comforts but physical presence ,guidance and symphatetic feelings. Perhaps , many lives would not be snuffed out so early.

Seeing today's children I feel we were lucky to have the best of parenting and much less complicated life.

After all tough times don't last only tough people do.

1 comment:

  1. I like your analysis

    Yet there is no going back now...
    we cannot give or recreate what we had...the differences have already entered in our lifestyles and standard of living we are able to give our children.
    Yet what can be done is to be Aware of the changes and try to maintain a balance in our present lives...