I had read of a birthday party of a three year old where children along with their parents were invited. As is the custom, gifts were showered on the birthday boy who accepted these with glee. Other children , naturally curious, wanted to see the gifts but the birthday boy refused to open them or part with them.
Children started throwing up tantrums and many of them were crying loudly to have a glimpse of the gifts. The little boy refused to share the gifts despite both his parents cajoling, pleading, bribing, threatening and playing all sorts of tricks on him. Birthday party turned into a nightmare.
Questions of significance are : Why did the parents behave the way they behaved? And why did the little boy behave the way he behaved?
Behaviour of parents is dictated by what parents of other children will think of them. Probably, other parents may say “ How have they brought up their kid? They haven’t even taught the kid to share”. The necessity to ‘look good’ in the eyes of others becomes more important than the necessity of the child to own and enjoy his gifts. So much so the parents will go even to the extent of beating the child on his birthday to teach him the value of sharing. What a beautiful birthday gift for the child, and what beautiful memory to grow up with.
As for the child’s behaviour, it needs to be understood that the gifts are his and he needs to possess and enjoy them before sharing them. Often we have seen that once children have enjoyed the possession, they themselves give the toys to others or just leave it lying in some corner of the room. That’s the psyche of children. Do adults easily part with their possessions? No. Often they come up with reasons like ‘the gift has sentimental value’ or some such stuff.
My learning is that many of the things we do has a pay off. But we need to remember there is also a heavy cost to pay.
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