It has been now almost eight years since I first became a father and I have fully enjoyed being with my kids as any other parent would do. However, I have realized the benefits of observing kids while being with them. There are a lot of important lessons we can learn from them. We always believe that our responsibility as parents is to teach our kids values and good behaviours but I feel there are many things we can learn from them too.
A few days back, my youngest son Rigden, aged 4, was handed a bottle of mango juice after his elder siblings took their shares to school. My wife was saying there was only a few mouthfuls but suddenly he disappeared into the kitchen. When my wife went looking for him, she found that he had taken two empty cups into which he had poured a little amount of juice into each cup. When she asked him why did he put his juice into two cups, he said he kept it for his sister and brother. Both of us were amazed by his attitude. If such a little kid knows how to share with others, why can’t we? It made us reflect on our own values and we appreciated him for being so kind. When his brother and sister came back from school, we narrated the story to them, to make them learn how much does their younger brother love them. This is just one episode of the story. Whenever we take him to shop and buy him something, he would always demand the same for his elder brother and sister. This is one good value we have recognized in our son and we wish that he lives with it forever. Another lesson we have learned from him is emotional sensitivity to living creatures. When I and my wife were in Australia, his aunt told us that when she took him to his uncle’s house, he was limping across the road and when she asked him why was he limping, he said “There are ants here and they will be killed if we step on them”. He must have been just over three-years-old then. She was shocked as we were. As far as I remember, we have never literally taught him this value.
My eldest son, Thukten is simple and talks less. He is just turning eight, but he is also a good source of inspiration for us. We have observed that he is always concerned about his sister. Right from his early childhood, even before he had his younger brother, he would often prioritize his needs over that of his sister. Even today, he helps her prepare to go to school by filling up her water-bottle and taking out her lunch bag from the kitchen. Our daughter tells us that he is also often seen carrying his friends’ lunch bags in school after lunch. To us, helping others is a good social value and we always compliment him on such a good behavior. But we also try to teach him how to be responsible and self-conscious. We would love to see him grow up with such good values but at the same time, with a sense of responsibility and courage.
I don’t want to address my daughter as ‘adopted daughter’. She is our own daughter and we feel very fortunate to have her with us. She has been with us since she was about two-years-old and she is the only daughter we have. She has become more responsible now and she has been her mom’s best companion. She is full of enthusiasm and life. She is comparatively good in studies. She has just turned 11 on 4th June 2014. She loves her brothers as much as they love her, if not more.
I am not trying to boast about my kids here. They are often mischievous too, as any other kid. What I am trying to focus on is that if we observe them well, there are also certain good values we can learn from them. I strongly feel that children’s good values and behaviours need to be recognized and appreciated so that they will develop self-confidence and encouragement. I guess most parents fail to see the good part of their kids and always eye on their naughty behaviours. I believe that to correct the bad behaviours in kids, their good behaviours need to be recognized and rewarded, either in words or kind. Children are in an age of curiosity and they would love to experiment with things to learn. In the process, they can commit mistakes but we should not punish them. Instead, we should focus on how to help them realize their mistakes so that they won’t repeat them in the future. What happens when we punish them for their mistakes is that they will get afraid to explore further and hence, their natural learning process can be impeded. Whatever it is, if we always observe them with enthusiasm and curiosity, they will always be safe and we can learn a great deal from them.