While reading a book by an Indian author, Jerry Pinto’s Em and the Big Hoom , I was totally sucked into his life. His young years were a whirlpool unleashed by his mother’s bipolar personality and bouts of clinical depression. And I seriously think that dealing with her ailment and the family dynamic that follows such an illness added so much of character to his own life . I am not saying it was good that his mother had this rather serious indisposition . Not at all. All I am trying to say is that in most circumstances ,we tend to offer our kids a very protected and unmarred life. An ideal life which is sans any disharmony such as financial, health and relationship crisis as we constantly worry about their emotional well being and see to it that nothing should lead to any insecurity in them.
COURAGE IS ACTION NOT INFORMATION.
However, we want them to be courageous, bold, knowledgeable and sensitive. And we leave no stone unturned to teach them lessons of life either through other people’s lives or through stories,plays , movies and various other genres. I am sure almost all of us have either shown or have wanted to show our kids movies like Life is Beautiful and Pursuit of Happyness to teach them that life can be bloody tough but we can still turn it around.
Closer home, we have told them stories of late Chief Minister of TN and how she had such a tempestuous childhood and lost her mother very early on whom she was very attached. We narrate them stories from life of Oprah Winfrey who had an absolutely unenviable childhood marred by sexual abuse and teenage mother hood. And both these women made such a coveted success out of their lives which were doomed to begin with.
CHARITY BEGINS AT HOME:AND SERVICE TOO!
We make them part of NGOs who work with children suffering from Cancer and disabilities and children who were orphaned and deserted by their parents. I agree that we truly and genuinely want to help these people with other purposes being that children must learn to value what they have and should at the same time be sensitized to all forms of life.
But surprisingly, when some disease affects us, we become extremely cautious about sharing it with our children. I find it paradoxical— in fact, this is the true test of their courage and resilience –and in fact an opportunity to truly train them into realities of life, you see.
We are so protective. Why? Why don’t we realize that life is not a bed of roses, it is indeed a big struggle—struggle against odds. And any adversity can be turned into an opportunity to create value out of it.
Of course in an ideal situation, no one asks for disease and challenges—but when it comes to it, one should not hesitate.
SHARING IS TRULY EMPOWERING FOR THE PEOPLE INVOLVED.
When one of my friends was diagnosed with an intestinal disease known a ulcerative colitis, the name sounded like a death sentence. Both my friend and her husband, decided on their way back from the doctor that they will not tell it to their kids. After all, it will affect their studies,it will make them insecure. Every discussion happened in a hush hush manner and kids started worrying to an extent they felt some conspiracy is going against them. The communication gap developed between the kids and the parents to an extent of polarizing the family.The mother was always stressed and wary what if kids find this stressed her a lot only hampering her convalescence. But what led to it was a situation that their life became full of pretentions and lies making the family completely dysfunctional and on the verge of breaking apart.
HUMOUR DOESN’T CURE A TUMOUR,OR DOES IT ? May be ,yes !
However, my friend joined an online community of people with ulcerative colitis. And she happened to meet a few mothers of her age group and one of them seemed so emotionally sound and balanced..she told my friend that the day she came to know about her condition, she decided to share it with her family and kids in the most rational manner. She even laced it with humour . She did not harbor any inner fear and what she did instead was to pour it out – telling the aspects of flare up of the disease and reminssion periods, the morbidity , the maintenance and all.—Think about it-
If the kids know it-
It makes them responsible.
It trains them to take initiative.
It makes them compassionate.
It prepares them for life.
And above all,
It makes them oriented to understanding a new thing—
Life is not in books,its in life itself–
Be inclusive, don’t exclude them. But she decided to turn adversity into an opportunity to teach her kids the coping mechanisms –they started reading about ulcerative collitus, there were discussions on physiology of the disease, that there was no communication gap brought the family closer–
Charity begins at home and so does clarity.