- Maulana Wahiduddin Khan
What Parents Face Today
Parents must come to understand that their children need a double education – a professional education as well as spiritual training.
Once when I was in California, in the USA, I happened to meet a senior Indian immigrant with whom I had a conversation about education. I remarked that it was the age of education and that the greatest need of our generation was to be educated up to the highest standard. But my interlocutor said that his experience in this field had been very disappointing. He had wanted to introduce young people to higher learning, but the result had dashed his hopes. He opined that what was needed now was a re-conditioning of minds rather than learning.
I said that the fault lay with the parents. For the parents, there were only two options: either accept whatever was going to become of their children or try to understand them and address their minds in such a way that what they required of them was made clear to them. This phenomenon can be seen in every country.
Parents, having failed to understand their children’s minds, go on complaining about them. It is, of course possible to change your children’s way of thinking, but you must first be endowed with the intellectual ability to properly address the minds of your educated children
The fact is that in our present society the majority of parents are traditionally minded, but they want to educate their offspring in modern educational institutions. This requires an approach which can take in a blend of the traditional and the modern. And then parents, rather than give up on their traditional thinking, should re-define it in order to make it understandable to the new generation. It is this failure that has created the problem of children’s resistance to the right type of education and the problem of how to overcome this resistance. So any shortcoming in the sphere of education is the parents’ fault. It is not so much a question of re-conditioning of the mind as a question of self-training. If parents want to bring about a change of attitude towards learning in their children, they must prepare themselves to be good counsellors. It is weak counselling on the part of parents that has created this problem.
Another problem is pampering. Parents have great affection for their children and this often leads to their pampering them. While affection is good, pampering is bad. Pampering fosters an easy-going nature in children and that is the worst kind of nature for any person to have in this world of harsh realities. Pampered children do not heed advice. They know nothing but their own desires. Harsh realities have no place in their dictionary
It is for this reason that pampered children cannot meet the challenges they have to face in the external world
Once I met two Indian boys, both graduates, who said that they found themselves in difficult circumstances. When they were at home, they were living under the protection of their parents, who were always ready to provide anything they wanted. But now that they had left their homes and wanted to find a place in the external world, they felt unloved and unwanted. Their homes had been ready to give them everything free of cost, but now they found that the external world was quite different. Here everything had its price in terms of hard work, adjustment, acceptance of reality, proving their ability and making compromises. They found that at home they had not been trained to meet such challenges.
This is what is negative about pampering. Parents’ pampering is like making a product that is not wanted in the market. Parents must come to understand that their children need a double education – a professional education as well as spiritual training. The former kind of education can be had in educational institutions but the centre for the latter kind is the home. And parents are the teachers in this home institution. But parents must realize that the language of dos and don’ts will not serve the purpose. They must prepare themselves for a more sensitive and complex approach. Indeed, they must ground themselves in what may be called rational spirituality.
Source: Leading A Spiritual Life