We attended a family wedding in Chennai last June. On the day of departure, when we were all set to return, farewell pleasantries like thanks, compliments, namaskarams( falling at the elders feet) were exchanged. My SIL's co-sister, who is of my age, came up to us and she said " My husband often cites you guys as example for being the best parents. Both your children have been raised beautifully. They are kind and know how to respect elders and for the past two days, I observed how they walked elders to the dining hall and respected elders by wishing them". Needless, to say our hearts swelled with pride.
As a parent, For us, the most proudest moment is not just when our children goes to receive the "best student", "Topper" or "All rounder award" on a podium but the proudest moments are when we are told Our children are instilled good values like respecting fellow humans, loving, trusting, being kind, compassionate and being humble. And, I have received such compliments on many occasions.
Little acts of kindness and showing respect to fellow humans by fetching a glass of water, wishing them "Good morning", "Hello aunty", picking up their bags or groceries for the elderly, helping a mom carry her baby stroller into the lift or holding open the lift door, saying magical words like "Thank you", " Please", "Sorry", giving away good old clothes to the needy when they get a new one, parting away with extra gifts , teaching the underpriveleged, feeding the children of lesser god, are some of the simple things we have shown them and taught to them since they were little kids. They have absorbed and display little acts like these.
It also makes us happy to see them bond with the elders in the family and respect them. Elders love being shown respect and their views being considered . It is an ageing process and not ego. What the elders need is respect and the need for it increases as they age. Infact, even when there is a disagreement over ideas with the elders, my children never rebel or negate their ideas. They put it down so beautifully and convince them without hurting them and disrespecting them. The elders eventually agree my children were right and adapt themselves saying times are changing.
One of the greatest source of human happiness is being respected. Irrespective of age, caste, creed or social position, every single human being, right from the President to the peon, needs it. Infact, it could be the only reason to live for many so much so that it sometimes takes precedence even over our survival. We hear of many people taking lives or taking another's life over this matter.
Respect, like love, has to be consciously expressed in such a manner that the other person sees it. That is why perhaps in our culture, we bow our heads, or join hands, or fall at our elders feet or touch their feet, wish people etc.
Not Big, but little acts like these were effortlessly inculcated from the very young age in our children. Today, they have a great bonding with many of our relatives, friends and well wishers.
Infact they have even overtaken me in this aspect. The other day, while coming up in the elevator, i was checking the mails on my mobile. Manu, the Grade X boy who lives on the 6th floor wished me "Hello Aunty". Without looking up at him, i just nodded my head and was busy reading the mail. My son who was with me observed this. When we landed on our floor and walked out, my son said, " Ma, when even a child wishes you, please reciprocate ma. It feels bad, when we wish elders and they simply ignore and don't even smile and wish back". That moment was an eyeopener.
A moment I realized like elders, we have to respect even the children. Even they have lot of self-esteem. From that day, i make it a point to reciprocate and wish every child too.
Now, they have surpassed me, it is a great pleasure to see them respect fellow beings with ease, finesse, poise and sophistication and much more greater is the pride and pleasure when we hear compliments saying " They are raised with good values".