Sunday, February 16, 2014

Manners maketh a man!

Given the changed times today, everything about the way we function has changed. Technology rules our life and i am particularly disturbed about the way it affects children born in the last decade or so. Compared to my childhood, it has become increasingly difficult to retain the attention spans of kids, thanks to a million distractions, most of them as addictive as technological gadgets.

No, this post is not about the ill-effects of technology on the younger generation. Reams must have been written on it already. Even in the context of today’s times, i strongly feel some values/habits are the bedrock of a person’s personality and can not be compromised irrespective of what times we live in. It can be challenging, very actually, to inculcate these in kids today given their exposure to a totally different world from mine. mostly full of bad influences for those young minds. Here are the timeless values that, i feel, are important to become quality human beings:

Good Manners: Respect for elders. Obedience. And generally doing things the way they should be done. i know this sounds really last century, but my general observation is that today’s kids have a mind of their own and they just have to get their way. i am all for democracy in relationships, but there is a fine line between putting forth your thoughts and putting your foot down on your elders’ views. i know we cant get good old times back but it’s about embedding respect for others as a life long trait. This is helpful not just in personal life but also in professional life later on.

Social skills: i recently visited someone’s place for dinner. The host’s daughter, a teenager,  came in shyly, said hello and that’s it. She was all awkward after that. i think it is important that children be able to conduct themselves with confidence in social situations. So whether it is being able to handle guests when parents are absent to holding a decent conversation is a must. Even in real life, i have realized, success has more to do with how confidently we are able to connect with people and get along rather than about academic excellence.

Reading: This is a very personal favourite habit where reading has taught me so much. It has helped me fill a lot of empty hours with writings that took me to vicarious romance, travel and knowledge of different worlds. For children, the advantages of reading can be endless. Apart from improving language levels, children can enjoy reading their favourite stories and build their foundation to reading more interesting books through the future years. Parents abroad make it a point to read to children before they go to sleep until kids can start reading on their own. That’s their way of inculcating love of the written word.

Hobby: Depending what the skills a person have, the children should always be encouraged to indulge in some kind of hobby in free time. i know someone who’s going to be out of college in some time and is totally lost in her free time. It’s either general browsing n the internet or just lazing around. When i suggest reading, the reaction is “Ehh! Thats boring”. The hobby could be painting, reading, music - anything that serves the dual purpose of adding to a person’s personality and positive channelizing one’s free energies.

Limited technology: Keeping in mind the times we live in, i want to add that it’s very important to limit the amount children are exposed to technology. Gadgets can be very educative if used well, but more often than not they end up being used to for addictive gaming. This is indeed a great time to show them that the pleasure of reading a real book is so much better than an ebook. This applies at least till the time children are grown up enough to use their own discretion in the use of technology.

You may or may not agree with my list. Feel free to add your own!

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