By Parul Ohri
It seems to be a Goldilocks situation for parents these days – too many screens, too little greens, too many distractions, too little interaction, too much information, too little communication . . .! Complaints are many and nothing seems quite right, or does it?
If you slow down and think of it from a more fundamental perspective, you may just agree that this is the perfect day and age to bring up children. All we want is to bring up our children in the best way possible, providing everything required for their optimum mental, spiritual, physical and material growth. Surely, there hasn’t been a better time than now to be able to fulfil that objective?
I envy children for the abundant opportunities they have today, to learn and develop new skills. This is a confident new generation with the freedom to pursue their interests rather than be forced to follow available options. Could children take up sports or dancing as a profession two decades ago as easily as they do now? I will worry about my child’s future when the time comes, but I am also secure in the knowledge that there are new paths opening up everyday, and perhaps there will be one that she will create for herself.
Parenting in the past was purely instinctive; but we in the present have the documented wisdom of the past to benefit from in addition to our own instincts. Online or offline, digital or print, we are flooded with guides that cover a vast parenting timeline from pre conception to grandparenting. You may not miss your mother’s bank of knowledge and experience, thanks to the numerous forums and support groups that answer every question in gleeful detail, right down to the health of your baby’s toenails. But even if you yearn for the astuteness of the elderly or just want to recreate family time, Grandma is just a Skype call away. Speaking of technology, how can I not bow to the great He-Who-Knows-It-All, the much celebrated, erudite Google. From Raja Ram Mohan Roy’s life story to 5 differences between the Pampas and Savannahs, you have held my hand through every school project with immense ease, making it possible for me to answer the trickiest queries in a nanosecond. How can I not love the present?
Of course kids are always on digital gadgets, but aren’t the adults also guilty of the same? Everything that we think is wrong with children today – not playing outdoors, having too many toys, not being family oriented, a lot of this is a result of our own parenting. Nothing stopped us from not buying that 7th Lego set or 12th Barbie doll, or setting restrictions on screen time or being as outdoorsy as we wish our children were. With great freedom and opportunity comes great responsibility – and that applies to parenting too!
There is one regret, a major grouse that I have against the world today – that it cannot guarantee my child’s physical wellbeing. Nothing seems safe any longer, neither the air they breathe nor the ground they walk on! How can I tell them to go out, travel, broaden their horizons and expand their perspective, when I am nervously drawing boundaries around them?
No. Nothing is ever perfect, neither the times not the people. But I don’t have the luxury to rue what was wonderful ‘then’, lest I miss out on what is brilliant ‘now’. Today is a good time, the best in many ways – it is MY children’s time.
Parul Ohri writes about parenting on a popular website for children
Feature Pic Credit: Lindsay Repko
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