Tuesday, 27 August 2013

"Teacher, do YOU also have to follow rules?"

Last week I overheard this fascinating conversation in The Little Crest between a three year old and one of our teachers. Here is what transpired:

Teacher(T): Dear, you should ask your mom to bring you to school on time.
Child(C): Yes teacher. I actually want to come to school as soon as I wake up but we get delayed .... What will happen if I come late ?
T: Coming to school is important sweetie.. You should follow the rules of the school. See, I come to school on time. 
Then the child asked in its own disarming manner..
C: Teacher, do you ALSO have to follow rules?

I thought that was the most simplistic yet the most probing question that I heard from a kindergartner. The child exhibited prodigious emotional maturity and an ability to communicate directly with an adult (a teacher in this case). The above conversation also highlighted the healthy relationship that the child shared with the teacher at The Little Crest. To me as an onlooker, the above conversation underlined two important messages for parents:
In addition to being an often quoted famous line from William Wordsworth's poem, there is significant research done to establish that personality of a child during early childhood does continue into adulthood. It is a given that children have to be exposed to good habits and most importantly parents have to demonstrate adherence to rules. Parents often fail to understand the difference between 'what is good to me as a person or a family?' vis-a-vis 'what is good to community/society?'. Just as an example, if you're jumping the traffic signal regularly, it is difficult for the child to comprehend and follow what the stated rules are and what is the expected behavior.

Message #1 : As a parent, you are sowing seeds of adult behavior and personality of your child starting from about 2 years of age.

  •  Are we perpetuating a 'might is right' or 'rules are for everyone else other than self' type of a society?
Are we as parents, introspecting about our behaviors and its attendant impact on our children. Just to oversimplify the scenario, if you were to be jumping the traffic signal with your child in your vehicle, aren't we telling the child that as long as you donot get caught by the police, you're doing fine. Or if I can drive fast enough, I can get away.
The more acute issue here is that we are teaching the child 'I do what is convenient to me and others donot matter to me'. This only means that we as a society will create a system which will be largely unlivable in the coming decades. Just imagine the chaos that we as a society will be subjecting ourselves to!!! Isn't there a case for enlightened self-interest ?

Message # 2: The rules are applicable to all and NOT selectively. We should not be lapsing into selective amnesia on this!!

Next time you're on the road, please take few moments to think of the deeper implications of you jumping signal,  particularly if you're with your child!! Happy & thoughtful parenting !!!! 


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