Vanishing values

  • Parents should teach their children to be good persons, not only how to get rich fast

Sep 10, 2017-

Children today are expected to be more ambitious than ever before, because parents want their children to climb the economic ladder fast. Of course, all mothers and fathers are concerned about the wellbeing of their children, and are prepared to sacrifice everything for them. However, there are certain discernable differences in the attitudes of today’s and yesterday’s parents. Today’s parents have one or, at the most, two children. They plan their families with an eye on financial resources, health issues of the mother and so forth. It is pertinent that today’s parents appear more attentive to the needs of their children. They are choosy about their education and career from the outset. They leave no stone unturned to bring children up in the best possible way, and spend most of their hard-earned money to provide the best education possible.

Likewise, the children are expected to do their best. The only advice from the parents to their kids is this: Make it to the top at any cost. In other words, work hard and do better than the rest at school and earn a scholarship, become a doctor or an engineer. Or else, be doomed in society, a cut-throat competitive society where all values end up in financial values. If one can make a lot of money, everything will be okay. Parents thus are deluding their kids. They think that they must be great at any expense; not good and moral persons, but great persons, wealthy and successful. Values that help children live good and happy lives are not taught at all. Success is defined or measured in terms of money.

The cost, however, becomes oftentimes colossal, and is likely to end up in fatalities. The little ones are hard-wired to do only what their parents want.

This trend is common in most South Asian countries. We regularly read articles in newspapers and magazines about children committing suicide. The reason why children take their own lives is excessive parental pressure to achieve success, outperform their peers in study and score higher marks. Few parents seem to take these issues seriously in today’s society. In Nepal, children are brainwashed into thinking that scoring anything below A plus will make them good for nothing, and that they will not be able to climb the ladder of success in life. Dreaming big, needless to say, is an honourable idea; but it must be attainable and realistic and commensurate with one’s socio-cultural background, financial standing and aptitude. One’s aim in life must match one’s passion too. Pursuing a goal that gives joy while doing it is the best option. When work does not match one’s passion, there will be no creativity.

Our values are in fragments today; society is disintegrated; people are disoriented. We have lost our way in our blind pursuit of Western values, education and technology. Most kids are indoctrinated into thinking that all that is Western is the best, and that success is the be-all and end-all. Our destination in life is set on foreign soil, and the success of our kids is gauged by their capacity to gain admission into foreign colleges and universities. Thus, our social and moral values are in jeopardy. It is high time we rethought our traditional, social and moral values without which children are likely to go astray.

Our traditional values, that put emphasis on respect for parents and elders, need to be ingrained into our children’s minds. They should be taught that success is not only about being powerful and amassing wealth, but also doing something for the society that one comes from. To live creatively like a poet, writer, artist, musician and social worker means living by values and, of course, these values are higher values. Such thinking is all the more essential today to redirect this generation towards the values of our traditional societies that our forefathers have passed down to us.

Parents must stop hounding their children to only meet their expectations—that they be rich, successful and career-centric persons, and be insensitive to other important values that integrate our society and help us live in total harmony with our

fellow beings. Material gains and professional success must always go in tandem with higher goals to reintegrate our declining and fragmenting social, cultural and moral values.

- Acharya is a retired banker with a Master’s degree in English literature

Published: 10-09-2017 08:33

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