A couple of weeks ago, I was in Gelephu with my colleagues to coordinate the celebration of International Youth Day 2017. One of the activities leading up to the main event was the panel discussion on parents-children relationship which was conducted on the evening of 11th August, one day before the actual celebration. The main objective of holding the panel discussion was to bring the parents and children closer to each other and bridge the gap between them so that both the parties can understand each other better. The participants were put on the stage: parents on one side and youth on the other. Both the groups had a basket each from where they could pick up statements to be read aloud and start the discussion with other members. The discussion went on smoothly until one of the girls from the youth group picked up the statement “We don’t want our parents to quarrel in front of us”. While trying to explain what it meant to her, she emotionally broke down and cried. Later, we learned from her friends that her parents had divorced just recently and we all know how painful it would have been for her to go through such a terrible experience. The statement she had got could have definitely triggered her memories of all those horrific moments she had gone through as her parents fought their ways out. Only she could know what it is like to be a victim of domestic violence and how painful it is to be deprived of the opportunity to grow up in a complete family.
In the BCSE and BHSEC results for the academic year 2016 declared recently, the Bhutanese students who had appeared for the exams have seen the harvest of their year-long hard work and struggle. But as usual, not everybody is lucky. While those who have qualified for higher studies are busy celebrating their achievements with their families and friends, others are going through a terrible time. Many anxious parents are seen rushing for admission in the private schools or exploring other viable options for their children. It is a crucial turning point for the students and everybody is deeply concerned. But I don’t believe that the failure of the present should ruin your aspirations for the future. You may not be good in academic studies, but you may be excellent at something else. Just turn around, focus on what you believe you are good at and start working on it. Someday, you will have the future as promising as that of anybody else. Academic excellence is not the only secret of success. Many successful people in the world do not have even a degree. So just keep your head high and always stay positive. Sitting down and crying over the spilled milk won’t get you anywhere. It would only destroy your dreams.
As the Capital City of Bhutan, Thimphu has been undergoing a major transformation over the years with numerous developmental activities coming up in all corners. With various modern facilities and infrastructures in place, the city has been considered a safe haven for thousands of Bhutanese people who come here for education, employment and business. However, with the rising cases of senseless murder, burglary and robbery over the recent years, I think Thimphu is now losing the glory of its past. There are many people who no longer feel safe here today.
Television has become an integral part of our life at home today. It has become so ubiquitous across the globe that it is hard to imagine life without it. Nowadays, most of us have at least two to three television sets at home. The advent of television era has definitely changed the world and how we view it. While television has opened our door to the outside world, it comes with both necessary and unnecessary channels. Just with the point and the click of a button, the viewing options are endless. There are literarily hundreds of channels to choose from. Cartoons, cooking shows, news and other entertainment shows fill up the airwaves. With so many channels available to turn to, choosing the appropriate channels especially for children is increasingly becoming a concern. Some studies have indicated that television is bad for children since it often promotes violence and aggression, be it through cartoons or movies.
When youth and children look up to us as their role models, we have the most sacred responsibility to guide them onto the right path not only by telling them what to do, but also by demonstrating what is best in us so that they can observe and learn from us. We have the best opportunity at hand to help them define and re-define the meaning of their life through our own lifestyles so that they can rise up in the right direction with right values. But if the role models fail to demonstrate what is good for their fans or followers, the result can be catastrophic. Just as the simple but unique hairstyle of Ronaldo during the World Cup final in 2002 could change the hairstyle of millions of his young fans around the globe, the role models can definitely influence the thinking and behaviors of those who look up to them as their source of inspiration and motivation. Hence, I feel all those who are respected by youth as their role models must always walk the right path so that those who follow them do not fall down.
Looking at the current trend in urban centers, I feel parents have the biggest role in shaping the lives of their children. The way we bring up our children can certainly make a huge difference in how they behave when they grow up. Today, many of us have our own jobs to attend to in offices or businesses because of which we fail to give our children the amount of attention they need and deserve. What makes the matter worse is that those parents who do not go to work are mostly alcoholics and the children are literarily left on their own. Moreover, the divorce cases are very common in our country and this adds fuel to the pile of problems affecting the lives of our youth. I have seen that most of the children growing up with single parents are having behavioral problems probably because they firstly don’t get the required level of attention as their dad/mom has to focus on the job to support the family, and secondly, they get pampered as their dad/mom won’t mind giving them whatever they request because as a single parent, we always have a tendency to love our children too much that whatever they ask for, we can’t deny. In the process, they begin to find our weaknesses and start taking advantage of the situation.
Human beings are the only creature blest with the biggest brain and because of this, we are far more advanced than other animals in terms of our capacity to think, judge and act. We have moved carefully and consciously through every stage of human civilization and our experiences have made us a perfect social animal in the world today. We are the only animal capable of understanding and respecting others’ emotions. We are biologically wired to show compassion and love to those who are near and dear to us. Indeed, great masters say that when we are born, we all are born with Buddha nature in us. But as we grow up with modernization, it seems some of us are losing those human values we have been born and brought up with.
The shops around Thai Temple area are just within a walking distance from where I live and my children often go there on their own to buy things. But last year, my eldest son Thukten Subba was made to realize that going to even to the nearest shop alone and that too with money in hand is not always safe in Thimphu.
“If I have failed, my parents have warned me not to return home tonight, or I will be killed!” a 5th grade student in Thimphu had told her friends as they were walking to their school on the morning of 18th December to get their final academic results. Her friends tried to console her but it seemed she was already injured by the words of her parents that had hit her ears like lethal bullets. As they stood on the school ground waiting for their names to be called out, she looked more nervous and worried.
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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.