When I was in 5th grade, I tumbled upon a fine letter which helped me to build myself throughout my life till date and I consider myself very lucky to read that. According to me in child upbringing that approach will prove of immense help. That was ‘A letter to Headmaster by Abraham Lincoln’. Here I am sharing it with you all:
He will have to learn, I know, that all men are not just, all men are not true, but teach him also that for every scoundrel there is a hero; that for every selfish politician, there is a dedicated leader… Teach him that for every enemy there is a friend. It will take time, I know, but teach him, if you can, that a dollar earned is of far more value than five found…Teach him to learn to lose…and also to enjoy winning. Steer him away from envy, if you can, teach him the secret of quiet laughter. Let him learn early that the bullies are the easiest to lick…Teach him, if you can, the wonder of a book…but also give him quiet time to ponder the eternal mystery of birds in the sky, bees in the sun, and flowers on a green hillside. In school, teach him it is far more honorable to fail than to cheat…Teach him to have faith in his own ideas, even if everyone tells him they are wrong…Teach him to be gentle with gentle people, and tough with the tough. Try to give my son the strength not to follow the crowd when everyone is getting on the bandwagon…Teach him to listen to all men…but teach him also to filter all he hears on a screen of truth, and take only the good that comes through. Teach him, if you can, how to laugh when he is sad…Teach him there is no shame in tears. Teach him to scoff at cynics and to beware of too much sweetness…Teach him to sell his brawn and brain to the highest bidders, but never to put a price tag on his heart and soul. Teach him to close his ears to a howling mob…and to stand and fight if he thinks he is right. Treat him gently, but do not coddle him, because only the test of fire makes fine steel. Let him have the courage to be impatient…let him have the patience to be brave. Teach him always to have sublime faith in himself, because then he will always have sublime faith in mankind. This is a big order, but see what you can do…He is such a fine little fellow, my son!
After so many years also this is so true. I think, this letter is not just for teachers but for us parents as well. It gives us a chance for self-analysis. How many of us has given a thought to this? We as parents are bestowed with a crucial responsibility, of child upbringing. Of shaping a generation. Someone has said it very aptly that Raising kids is not a kids’ thing. It takes lot of patience, time and perseverance. Just the way a potter shapes his pots. Because kids aren’t any less than those pots. One wrong action and pot is damaged. That pot needs to go through the kiln to come out as a strong one. Gold also become tough only after it bears the harsh heat.
Like Abraham Lincoln, how many of us take that pain to think so much about their own kids? Paying hefty school fees, buying expensive stuff just to compensate the lack of time isn’t enough for child upbringing. I have read somewhere that till the age of 20, child’s brain tries as much as possible to learn from its surroundings. The way we behave with them or in front of them, affects their brain development drastically. And they carry those same traits throughout their lives because it gets imbibed on their subconscious minds. They Reacts in the same way they have seen people around them react in those situations. And most of the time those people being their parents. The reverse is also true.
Sometimes kids hate the behavior of their parents so much that they engrave on their tiny brains in childhood itself that they are not going to be like their parents because they have suffered due to that kind of behavior of parents and that has given them scars for the lifetime. They don’t want their future family to suffer in the exact way. But this happens very rarely. For developing that kind of brain, child must be that thoughtful and mature.
Some 20-30 years back it was different situation. There were no Internets, mobiles, so much exposure to TV. So there were somewhat less chances of children getting spoiled. Nowadays kids know many unwanted things beforehand. I remember, when I took admission for bachelor’s course, I first time came to know that girlfriend-boyfriend do exist in real life as well but now kids of merely 4-5 years old also know that already.
According to me, these things are happening due to their surroundings. Parents don’t understand that when they become parents, they are supposed to change their lifestyle according to the kid in home. They continue their routine as it was before. They don’t understand that the language they are using in front of a kid is changing his language as well. The TV channels they are watching are not meant for kids and they pick everything very quickly as their brains are structured that way.
Actually, shows made for kids are also ignoring these small but crucial facts and showing inappropriate material just to make the programme appealing. For our enjoyment, we make them dance on latest numbers forgetting how vulgar they are. This way, we are damaging our kids with our own hands. We are exposing them with such environment which is changing their perspective in wrong way. They are still kids. They don’t know the difference between good and bad and we unknowingly offer them bad, decorated on platter.
One more topic to worry is cloths of kids. It is true that cloths enhance ones whole appearance and we should dress-up according to current trends to look more presentable. But there is a slight difference between fashionable and vulgar dressing. One must keep this in mind while selecting cloths for kids that they are kids and they look cute n smart n adorable in whatever they wear. So there is no need to follow the fashion meant for elders while dressing up the kids. No doubt they look adorable in those cloths too but according to me, we snatch their innocence by doing so. Unknown to us we are creating obstacles in child upbringing.
Let them be kids for a while. It will be for very tiny part of their lives. They are anyways going to grow big soon. Why to bombard them with the adult things they will be doing for a larger span of time? Instead we must teach them the lessons which Mr. Abraham Lincoln wants his son to learn. By doing so, they will turn out to be an asset to their parents and their country. After all it’s the whole generation we are talking about. We must be careful while raising our kids. What do you think?
Think about it!