Friday, October 31, 2008

Brand Value?

From a long time now my sons have been demanding reebok shoe for school. Their school had recommended reebok shoe or any other brand as long as they did not have deep treads. I felt that Bata shoe would do very well as - 1. it has been in the shoe business for ages now and we grew up in it, 2. it is inexpensive and 3. children grow faster at this age and therefore I can change the shoe every term without feeling the pinch of it. Every day I have my kids saying that their friends are all in reebok shoe and hence they also want it. Till now somehow I have convinced them into wearing Bata shoe. But it is a real uphill task. The other demand is for Arsenal football jersey. A whopping Rs. 3000-4000 ! Just imagine.

The other day when I went to my friend's house we got talking and the discussion turned towards how children demand these high value branded items. She said that she was also facing the same problem with her son . She was saying that when her son's friends had come to her place all of them had come dressed in branded shirts and wore branded footwear. She then felt that she could understand how much of a conflict her son must be facing. She said that her son must be feeling sandwhiched real tight between the parents and his friends.

These things give rise to lots of doubts in my mind. Are branded items really required ? Do they really help or is it just an issue of prestige? Can they not do with ordinary things and emphasise more on quality life? Does simple living not start from childhood? I feel money is not the issue but where are we leading our children?Aren't we making them more and more materialistic?Sometimes I feel sad that this generation has to go through so much of trauma. They are caught in conflicting situation.

Our upbringing was such that there was comfort in life but no extravagant expenses. We took the same bag to school for three to four years, wore the same shoe and took care of it so that it would last the whole year. Pencils, erasers were used until such time that they were down to their stubs. With our children too we try and use the same kind of prudence, though not to that extent . But sadly they are caught in two different extremes. From their point of view they are right to feel bad that we are'nt buying things that they want, because they find their friends parents buying expensive things for their children. I have seen children being given loads of money and they are given the freedom to spend it as they want at a very young age. I have seen groups of children in gaming centres all alone buying tickets with their friends , playing without any adult supervision. For me it is a shocking thing! Ofcourse each parent have their own viewpoint with regard to upbringing of their children.

Somehow I feel teaching them the value of money right from a tender age matters. This leads to more satisfaction. Because I tell my children the more you get, the more you want and there is no end to it. "Need" and "Want" should be defined clearly to them. But I do not know how long I can try before I end up making compromises on these principles.

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Staying Connected Forever

Friendship is such a beautiful thing and every one of us at one time or the other have had a few close friends with whom we have shared all our dreams,aspirations, fears, future plans and so many more things. My school friends just vanished once I joined college. A set of new friends were again a part of my college life. After leaving college, to date I have only a couple of friends with whom I have kept in touch. But all the rest have just slowly faded away in this vast ocean of life.
Just the other day I was spring cleaning in preparation for Diwali festival when I suddenly came across my old college photograph and it brought back wonderful memories. I sat there trying to recollect all the forty or so names of my batch mates. So many funny incidents came rushing forth and it made me want to somehow try and contact all these friends to find out what they were doing right now, where they were and how they had fared in life? Friends who had been close at one time and promises that were made to keep in touch had somehow just disapppeared.
Recently I signed up on Facebook and that got me quite excited as I thought that here at last was my chance to I trace back all my friends. Well I was able to find one of my students and my friends sister through whom I was able to get my friend's id. This is just the beginning and hope I will get to hear from quite a few friends of mine. I thought it was a wonderful way of keeping in touch.

When I saw this a thought flashed in my mind , how lucky my children were. They will never have to wonder about their friends like we do now. Their friends will now literally be just a click away. Just imagine this current generation is already signing up on Facebook and other sites and that way they will always be connected. They will be able to know what is happening in their friend's life twenty years , from now. Is it not a wonderful way of staying connected? The world will really be a small place and they will never ever loose touch with their friends.

Monday, October 20, 2008

Positive Parenting

The other day me and my friends had attended a talk given by Swami Sukhabodhananda . This was the first time I heard him live. He speaks very well with examples from day to day life with which one can connect and identify easily. I thought that some of the points that he discussed could be good parenting tips .

He was saying how the state of our mind affects us and calls for unwarranted reaction from us towards a simple incident. He was quoting an example from Mahabharatha. Duryodhana goes to see the beautiful palace that had been built for the Pandavas. There he had a series of accidents, he walked into a mirror thinking it was the door, he fell into the water pond thinking it was floor and that was when he heard Draupadi giggle. He felt insulted. His state of mind at that point was also not right. He was full of jealousy just thinking how could the Pandavas have such a beautiful palace ? This then got aggravated by the small incident of Draupadi giggling and led to the fateful war of Kurukshetra. If he had just let go and if his state of mind was good at that particular moment there would not have been Mahabharath.

Many a time as a parent I find that I loose my temper with my children when I am disturbed mentally. I then tend to talk a little harshly to my kids, though later I feel where was the need for me to react in such a manner. Having immense patience and developing calmness is the first priority of a parent I feel and not let little things disturb.

Many a time I have my friends telling me parenting would be very easy for me as I have done Child Development. But it is not true at all. I have seen that theory is different from practically living it. Yes I definitely feel it has given me enough guidelines and has made me aware about different stages. But beyond that I feel that we have to go by instinct alone and depending on individual personality of our child. There is no set rule even for the same kind of situation. So going by the flow is the best way I feel.

Each stage presents it's own problems and dilemmas. I remember my older son when he was just three would have bouts of anger and roll on the floor and cry. Initially all of us would go hyper trying to pacify him and he would cry even louder. Later we found that the best way to deal was to just let him be without interfering until he calmed down and then try and reason it out. When the phase lasted though it was terrible and we used to feel rather embarrased to take him out to our friends place for fear of creating a scene. At that time it felt like a monstrous task but after some time it was a distant memory. Another phase would start bringing with it it's own share of problems. It is a balancing act. One thing I have found which I try my level best to follow is PATIENCE, PATIENCE and more of it. Anger never has solved anything anytime. Contemplation and a calm mind works best in parenting. At the same time I also have seen how difficult it is to be calm when my child is making unreasonable demands, is throwing tantrums, is getting angry at every small thing that I say, or not doing things that he is supposed to do. It is nerve wracking.

But however hard it is going to be I have decided that right now I have to work real hard in developing that magic within me the three things which should strengthen my parenting skills and that is 'Patience, calm mind and contemplation'. Let me keep you folks posted as to how I am faring in my resolve. I do not want Kurukshetra in my house.