GUEST POST: Raising Children in India
Motherhood is one of the most beautiful experiences of a woman’s life. Raising children makes life full. I am raising my children in India and I feel that the environment in India helps a lot in inculcating a strong set of values.
I read a lot about the many ways children are raised in various parts of the vast Indian subcontinent. Here are some of the enriching reasons I find raising a child in India so wonderful:
1. Family Help: India is a country where the joint family system is prevalent. Children grow up having a lot of fun surrounded by generations of Grandparents, Uncles, Aunts and Cousins. This helps the child in her personal growth and instills great concepts like teamwork and adjusting to different kinds of people, with different mindsets. It also helps a child understand how to receive and give unconditional love.
Sadly, the joint family is breaking up nowadays and giving way to nuclear families. The nuclear family comprises of just the husband, wife and children. Sometimes, the husband’s parents come to stay. This helps build a strong bond between the children and the grand parents, which should be encouraged. The child will learn to respect traditional values which are an integral part of the Indian social fabric.
2. Learning to Respect Your Elders: Indian children are taught to respect their elders and extended family at a young age. Being around so many family members, children learn to show respect and love to one and all when they grow up. Some communities in India make it compulsory for the young people to touch the feet of the elders as the mark of reverence.
This custom is rarely found in any other culture across the world. This custom is instilled in the child’s mind from a very young age and it becomes second nature. This custom hasn’t changed even after western ideas and practices stealthily crept into India.
3. Kids Are Taught How to Save: Children in India are taught to save and not spend unnecessarily. Due to the conservative economy, Indian children learn at a very young age to prioritise their expenses. They learn to buy things which will give them value for money.
Nowadays many banks offer the option to open minor accounts for very small children. Instead of having children save their pocket money in piggy banks, they can save it in real banks. This teaches the child banking procedures at a very early age. Children can even maintain a separate copy for calculating the total expenditure. This will teach the child that it is not good to waste money.
4. Family Values: Children are inculcated with strong family values as they grow up among numerous family members. These family values help develop strong moral fiber. In the long run, they help in creating a strong personality which helps in their growth.
5. Character Development: Character defines how the child leads a holistic life. Parents in India work hard on character building for their child. Since all parents’ desire that their child grows up to become an honest and good human being.
6. Spiritual Discipline: Indian children are raised with enormous spiritual discipline. India is the land for spiritual growth and developing the spiritual qualities in a child helps him/her grow up to be a better individual. Children are taught about the importance of religion and customs. They are also taught to respect other religions as well, since the common idea of all religion is to achieve peace, moral strength and happiness.
7. Freedom When They Play: There is no requirement for an organized play time. A child will always find a group of children playing outside his house. So they can always find fun. They can step out any moment and experience a joyous playtime. Open spaces or children’s parks are still there and are not encroached by developmental activities and high rises.
8. Sharing and Caring: There is a lot of sibling bonding in Indian families. Parents teach children tolerance towards each other, love and patience. By sharing and caring for each other, this turns them into well-adjusted human beings.
9. Celebrating Traditions: India has one of the richest cultures which dates back more than 5000 years. So India is a land of festival and colors, cliché as it may sound, it is true. These celebrations are elaborate. All the kids are involved in the celebration of the festivals with the other children in the community. The children celebrate the festivals with their families and extended families.
10. Healthy Eating Habits: Emphasis is laid on eating healthy food. Children are allowed to eat junk food once in a while, but mothers cook at home. They are happy to feed the children with home cooked food. This makes the child health conscious. Mothers teach their children to choose healthy fresh fruits and vegetables. This also increases their knowledge about what is good for them.
The above stated facts hold true for a small portion of the Indian population, as the phrase goes ‘the privileged few’. Economically, India has progressed considerably in the last 60 years. The bigger picture, however, is quite different: a farmer hangs himself from a tree because he cannot provide for his family; a child is shunned from temples and public places due to his lower caste label; the rampant poverty in villages and lack of health amenities lead to reduced life expectancy; more children are seen carrying bricks and working in factories than in classrooms. These are children who don’t have access to formal education at all.
But for increasingly more kids, growing up in India is a blissful experience which helps them develop into amazing individuals. The calmness of spirit and the enriching environment in India is what gives these children an opportunity to explore life and themselves. The liveliness of the child is based on the amazing cultural forum that the Indian child inherits.
In contrast, malnourished children peddle the streets and somehow make a living. They are deprived of things that my child claims as basic rights. We have small children selling chai when they should be drinking a warm glass of milk instead. Yet from children like these, a leader has emerged – Narendra Modi. The contradictions and ironies of my country keep me enthralled. I trudge forward in earnest hope that my child will triumph in all spheres of her life.
Also, the technological development and fast paced life have made us so busy that we are finding less and less time for each other but still Indians never forget to smile at one another. Children brought up in India will never lose heart, since they have learned to struggle and attain victory in all fields of life. But to make that happen, we need to remember the wisdom Dr. Seuss imparted:
“Unless someone like you cares a whole awful lot, nothing is going to get better. It’s not.” — The Lorax
The image used in this post is credited to Ryan Ready. It holds a Flickr Creative Commons attribution license.
This is a first-time, guest post from Aradhana, a mother in India. Aradhana also is a passionate writer, who focuses on topics like yoga, wellness, health and lifestyle. She has contributed posts to Natural News, Wiki How, MomJunction, and Elephant Journal. Through her writings, she hopes to motivate people to develop healthy habits and adopt natural ways of living to achieve sound health.