A busy life of a corporate executive is no excuse at all to slow down the natural blossoming of his children. Executives complain their inability to balance work and family. Others shift the blame on the horrible traffic or on the lack of state infrastructure stopping them from spending quality time with kids.
Then there are people who conveniently tuck the blame on their boss’s shoulders for all their failures. While there may be some truth to many such excuses they still can’t be justified when it comes to putting first things first. The matter most important to kids beckons an attentive ear from parents. Giving attention to kids’ emotional and behavioral needs is as fundamental to parenting as learning the rules of driving. Without a correct understanding things can go awfully wrong for all parties. Happy kids will make a happy family. Happy kids are likely to grow up as strong personalities with high potential for leading an honorable life full of respect and dignity. Every parent wants that for his child. But how to do it in the bust corporate schedule? Lets start with two concepts as a starting ground.
Self esteem builds character. A simplistic statement and yet a remarkably rare quality in a country distinguished for its search for honest people. One can trace this situation back to a time when a young force was being groomed to take hold of the society’s driving wheels. Had self esteem, self worth, pride in choosing values and sticking to universal goodness not been embarked upon some children society would have been full of valueless, corrupt, low self esteem and low self worth minded people. There would have been greedy people sitting at the top mending ways to make billions by creative techniques.
There can be multiple ways to build self esteem in children. Being positive is a start. Children take negative attitudes to define something about themselves. A father who keeps complaining of having to work long hours gives his child an incorrect perception. His kids may think, ‘father is unhappy with us, we are an extra burden for him’. Parents’ nagging at having to work too hard could make children feel they are the cause of unhappiness. It’s a feeling of being unwanted, unloved and undesired which tells children to dislike their presence. The negative idea if allowed to linger will cause children to disown their inherent natural talents for achieving great things.
After a long hard days’ work father can bring home small stories of things which made his day. He could bring a little gift once in a while to celebrate “being with kids after work”. It boosts kids’ positive energy knowing they were missed all day and that parents find a cause to celebrate their togetherness. Receiving surprises is a favorite with kids too. The value of gifts is often of insignificant importance but it is the joy of being pleasantly surprised that makes their mood.
In the early years at school children pick role models. They ask their class mates about “favorite teacher” and “favorite person”, especially amongst girls this is popular talk. Showing a good role model helps to transfer the qualities existing in the model to the child. In France after Zinedine Zidane headbutted in the final one French paper’s headline ran “Zidane, what shall we tell our Kids?” Its an important message passed within the French society. Football stars are hugely popular with European boys so much so that boys would consider headbutting fashionable if their favorite player did it. Shakeeb al-Hassan for instance is a trend setter for the mid year school boys who eagerly listen to the sportsman’s every word with intensity and admiration. Sachin Tendulkar, Shah Rukh Khan and Wasim Akram are just some names whose personality matches the role model image held in young boys’ minds. They want to be like their role models when they grow up.
Leaders, politicians, reformers, activists, soldiers and war heroes also provide another source of inspiration to children in their mid to senior years in school. That’s when children begin to ask questions about right and wrong. They begin to take an interest in news and politics in a subtle way. Kids love to see their real life “super hero” in action. The concepts of sacrifice, standing up, righteousness and courage against all odds transforms from a world of fantasy to the practical. Kids want to see someone stand up for what is right. Picking a good role model from the pages of history whose life and works is an inspiration for people provides insurance against social influences where such role models keep playing hide and seek.
Mind your language, its what kids learn at warp speed. A grown up would need months of intensive coaching in language and grammar before calling it quits. A child with no prior language skill will not only to speak a new language correctly but will also understand the rules of grammar and recognize alphabets before entering school. Kids’ listening power is extra ordinarily powerful in early years. They can learn as much as 7 languages at a time between 3 to 9 years according to some child psychologists. Parents’ language at home is indeed the language of their children at school and elsewhere. Kids will have picked up the accents and dialects of communication before teachers get a chance to correct them. Applying good language at home confirms kids’ ability to speak well with others and not feel timid due to inferiority complexes about language skills.
Parents don’t need to learn a new language since speaking is an art appreciated and admired universally in any language. One can practice this art with their spouse and kids for fun through enacting small stories, or while playing games or by encouraging family participation in arts and drama, which are good sources for articulation. As kids learn to speak well parents can offer encouragement by acknowledging their achievements.
Self esteem and good language demands little amount of time from busy corporate executive but a high amount of appreciation for kids’ natural potentials. It does however ask parents to become aware of these concepts as a start. Every child will develop an ego which will go from one stage to another gradually. At each higher level there will be new set of challenges. Parenting in the end should be a wonderful experience bringing a smile back in the faces of children and their parents.