Wednesday, June 24, 2020

The foundations for a meaningful life

The other day I was listening to this podcast where an eminent personality was giving a Graduation speech at a prestigious university abroad. He said that he would like to share with the students the importance of imbibing virtues which would have an impact throughout their lives.

After listening to this, my mind went into a reflective mode to my childhood days and the parenting practices that my parents followed. I remember when we were children, our parents taught us these precious virtues by their own actions, advice, guidance, and of course reprimanding us as well.

I still cannot forget this incident which happened when I was 5 and my elder sister was 8. My sister and her friends were playing a tagging game and that too on a slide.  I was not included in the game as I was considered 'too young'. However, I was allowed to play on the slide as my sister was part of the group. I was standing on top of the slide when in the heat of the moment one of my sisters' friends accidentally pushed me down and I fell from the top of the slide! Mind you, these slides where of old times made with cement and stone and quite high. To my luck, there was soft sand surrounding the slide and I was not hurt. The teachers came rushing when the news reached them.

But here is what happened even before the teachers came. The girl who had accidentally pushed me was the leader of the group and was admired and liked by all. So none of the group was prepared to give her up, and sadly the least liked person in the group was made the fall guy or girl in this case. The rest of the group urged me to take the other girl's name when the teachers asked me. And here was I following their instructions, when even at that age I knew it was not the right thing to do. Well, luckily I was not hurt much and the girl was reprimanded and let off. But even after some 40 odd years this episode still remains fresh and my conscience still pricks me.

All forms of life need careful nurturing
My parents also taught us the importance of following virtues by narrating mythological stories like Ramayana, Mahabharat, Panchatantra, Hitopadesh, and so on. The result of all this was, when the need arose, we as a family collectively helped each other; as well as tried to help others whenever needed, respected others point of views, avoided telling lies as much as possible, respected and took care of elders at home and so on. All these were imbibed over a period of time.

How can one forget the spiritual anchor, which over a period of time has truly helped us lead a contented life? During our childhood, prayer time was part of our daily routine. When we were young, the prayer time seemed to be a hindrance, which came in the way of our fun time. We felt that those 10-15 minutes that we would spend praying could have been utilized more meaningfully in activities like playing games, reading our favourite books, and so on!

Times changed. We became parents ourselves. Slowly all the virtues that we had been taught by our parents combined with varied experiences that we ourselves had gone through, made us mature enough to be role models for our children. We have tried our best to make them realise the importance of these virtues that they have to individually build upon, as well as the values that are expected from them as members of the society that we all live in.

Again this does not mean I am perfect, far from it, I am still learning and strengthening and building upon these virtues as I grow more mature with the passing of time and experiences that I come across every day in my life.

The virtues that at one time felt like a waste of time, have now provided me with a strong base on which I can rely on, to lead a better life. I think my children too will over a period of time build a  rock-solid foundation and become role models for their children. Finally, I believe, that times might change, eras might come and go, but virtues like love, honesty, faith, discipline, respect, humility, and a host of other virtues will never get outdated. 


Swanti said...

So very true! And these virtues decide to a great extent, the choices one makes in life.

Unknown said...


Unknown said...

Superb!and true.

Unknown said...

Thanks for the comments.It would be great if you also share those unforgettable memories that have made strong impressions and made you what you are today.

Sandy said...

Indeed, virtues never can get outdated and we have tried our best to imbibe these in our childrens' upbringing. Let's hope it continues.... excellent as always Shobhana, keep writing....