The Reversal of Roles
“No matter how far we come, our parents are always in us.” Brad Meltzer.
“Miss Ami, I know that our parents know the best, and are very much our well-wishers. But, tell me, do they lose all their knowledge after a certain age? And, do they then, still remain our well-wishers?”asked Kia, my seven-year-old student, with innocence and concern writ large on her face. I knew Kia since her kindergarten and was aware that she lived with her parents and grandparents.
“Miss Ami, how is it that my parents and their parents, who are my grandparents, have different views on almost anything and, most of the time, it’s the views of my parents that are upheld? When parents become grandparents, do they cease to be well-wishers of their children? And, how is it that they are always wrong? Does old age do this to them?”
Involuntarily, my hands arranging the books in the cupboard, stopped for a moment. I turned to the class and saw Kia standing near my table. Sadly, I could guess where this was coming from! I looked at her smilingly, and told her to go to her desk.
“Kia, we will talk about this in our class today. I am very happy that you brought this up and Kia, I must say, you have expressed your confusion so well, in your question. It is always good to ask! It helps us clear our thoughts and find answers. If we do not ask, our confusion remains unresolved. And, over time, this would allow many a wrong belief to take root in our minds. But, well, let’s first say our prayers, and I will then speak on this.”
The class said the prayers and I made up my mind to address a vital issue that Kia had raised in her question.
“Good Morning, children! No need to take out any books. I would like to take up and answer Kia’s question today.”
My mind was working hard, trying to figure out how I should start, and how I should handle this very complex yet relevant subject that confused many young minds.
“Children, undoubtedly, our parents are our best well-wishers. And yes, out of sheer experience, they do have much greater knowledge of life. You know, each one of us has a mind that is a thinking machine. The more we use it, the better it gets. Many of us are fortunate to have parents who encourage us to use our mind, from the very beginning. They also guide us and help us, in our early days of growing up, about how to go about doing this; they instil in us the importance of developing a conscious train of thoughts, and of getting the pattern of thinking right, in order to achieve the desired results. For example, children, do you come to school happily? Why should you do so? Only if you think, and believe, that coming to school is good for you, only then, would you come to school willingly and happily, right?”
I looked around to see many nods in the affirmative. My mind was working like crazy. I had to talk sense to these little minds; the most impressionable minds!
“Somewhere along the way, as children grow up, many of them lose their ability of conscious thinking and they fall prey to a complicated line of thinking that is based on the question ‘Why not’, instead of ‘Why.’ They get confused and start believing that contradicting for the sake of contradiction is a sure sign of having grown up. They believe other people should now listen to them, now that they are grown up, because earlier, when they were small, they had to listen to others! This is only because they actually did not realise why certain things were told to them by their parents, when they were small. And neither did they believe in their parents’ wisdom. With the power of this new-found misconception they go around imposing their thoughts on others, leading to problems.” The class was listening, intently.
“Many times as grown-ups we feel that we cannot, and we should not, remain children all our lives! But the fact is that we do remain children to our parents, throughout our life! Nothing wrong in that too! There is no greater joy for parents than to see their children as wise grown-ups. Whenever grown up children understand this truth there won’t be room for any confusion, such as what Kia is now experiencing. We may acquire more and more knowledge in Science and technology that change with time, but there is a big huge difference between being knowledgable and being wise. More often than not, wisdom leans towards age. There is a role reversal too. Earlier it is the parents who are looking after the children; whereas, later, the parents are the ones who need to be looked after by the children!”
I was amazed at the interest with which the children seemed to be grasping all that I spoke.
“Children, we all must understand that having different views is normal. All of us will never think alike; so, we have different opinions on many subjects. And we all could be right too, from our respective perspectives. So, talking and discussing issues to understand each other, is the main requirement to have good and healthy relationships. When we talk to prove the other wrong, we call it an argument and an argument never helps in any manner. Talking to understand and to agree, and trying to reach a consensus, is called a discussion. We may choose to have open and honest discussions instead of arguments, and then no one will prove anyone wrong.”
I looked at my watch. The class was about to end.
“In the end children, it is Love that conquers all! True love and trust, are best friends. Remember to hold on to Trust, and try hard to never let go of Love. Everything else will fall in place, then.”
The bell rang and the children left the class. I kept sitting there for sometime, thinking about the whole thing.
Did I bet too hard on Love?