A Note on Parenting

Source: newstalk.ie

Source: newstalk.ie

I know you probably can’t or should not really make an observation about parenting unless you become a parent yourself, but here is one anyway. Though I am not sure if I would ever want to be a parent, but this is what I think about it as of March 31, 2013. As you can’t tell how much your views would change in the future.

Whenever I hear about parents being disappointed with what their child has turned out to be, in terms of becoming something in life, I find it rather disappointing. I can’t help but wonder if they even understand them as unique persons responsible for their own lives and the choices they make, especially when they blame themselves for their miserable condition.

And I can’t help thinking about it when they want to control their lives, especially in Eastern cultures like India. Though I am sure it is true to some extent for every culture. But for cultures like Pakistan, we have conservative parents who would raise their daughters in Britain or America, but would want them to return home as soon as they come to age in order to prevent them from having freedom of choices in their sex lives.

This is when you would be compelled to think that many parents hardly even understand what, and I hope you don’t mind my using the word “what” over here, their children are. The traditional view makes parents presume that they have some sort of a right over the child’s way of life and they end up getting depressed when it does not turn out to be like that.

I find this the greatest flaw with the conservative upbringing, not that liberal upbringing would be any better, though they would offer you a lot of arguments to support both.

I know bringing up a child is one of the most heated debates, rather a dilemma, everywhere in the world. I don’t know what is the right way to bring up a child, which is why I personally consider it a rather scary predicament that I would not want to see myself in. Scary and maybe wonderful at the same time.

A child can be one of the most dangerous weapons in the world, in many ways. If you consider that, you may never become a parent, ever.

So while people cannot agree on the best way to bring up a child, at least some parents can start with considering their children distinct individuals with personalities and preferences.

Source: Columbia Pictures (under fair use)

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Don’t Hate People Because They Disagreed

Are you one of those people who reject everything said by the people they don’t like, just because of their opinion about them?

Our emotions, and even more importantly, our prejudices can badly affect our reasoning. In fact, our negative emotions and prejudices themselves become our reasoning while dealing with people or matters which can trigger their appearance. People representing conflicting political viewpoints are a good example of that.

Prejudices are not something to feel guilty about. Everyone has prejudices and nobody is an exception. Prejudice of the race can be the most instinctive of all prejudices, because of the immediate realization of a physical difference.

Although as citizens of the global village, we may have overcome prejudices of race and ethnicity, but they stand as strongly today as they did ever since humans first came to realize it. Everyone has this prejudice even in the modern world, although it largely goes unspoken, showing its face from time to time. Prejudice against gender is also an important factor.

Then come more sophisticated types of prejudices, such as against religion, country and political orientation. Although all three of these factors can easily be integrated into political prejudice. Our civilized minds have given rise to these entities, and have only offered ourselves new reasons to hate each other.

Prejudices have always been there, and they will always remain to be there if the masses of the world continue with the same kind of upbringing that they had been subjected to. But how can we overcome prejudices is the question.

You can overcome prejudices with education and tolerance. And when I say education, it certainly does not just mean academic degrees and several years in college. Some of the most academically decorated people who I knew of were the most prejudiced ones, coincidentally.

This, by no means, suggests that academic or formal education is not important and must not be pursued, but the point to understand is to recognize the difference between being educated and being literate.

Education tells you of the evils of violence and of the advantages of tolerance. Education can make you a tolerant person, and a tolerant person can curb his or her prejudices more easily than an uneducated and violent one.

Therefore, you can suppress your prejudices through education, as you cannot destroy them from your unconscious.

Largely, the way we are brought up is responsible for deep-rooted hatred and prejudices. Only if you are able to educate yourself can you be able to get rid of your childhood prejudices imprinted on your minds by your environment, most importantly, by your parents and teachers.

It is prejudices like these which can be a hindrance to the common understanding of the importance of peace and the willingness towards it between the conflicting parties. Countries like India and Pakistan, Israel and Palestine, USA and Iran and many other examples like these can illustrate how prejudices can easily come into play as a hurdle to peace.

Children of one conflicting party are brought up being taught by their elders to hate the other conflicting party, and when I say hate, I literally mean hate. Just like hatred was used by the Catholic Church as a tool during the Crusades, and as it is used by Islamic extremists for terrorism.

Even if you want to be realistic to teach the young ones of the possible dangers from a potential “enemy”, then you can warn him or her of the possibility, while strictly discouraging any feeling of hatred. History should be learned as objectively and scientifically as possible.

An educated person knows about the importance of life. And as soon as you realize what being alive means and that you have no right to take the life of another, you immediately come to realize that you should abstain from violence and that you should respect every living being, not only your fellow beings, humans.

This realization will help you to understand that there are humans, and more importantly, living beings, with the same feelings as you, on the other side of the conflict. And that they may be having ideas as valid and reasonable as you, if only you chose to consider them for a while, and tolerate them. Believe me, if you do consider them for a while, you will be able to tolerate them.

Abraham Lincoln once said, ” I don’t like that man. I must get to know him better.”

This is what overcoming a prejudice or hatred is all about.

You  should not change your mind about people just because of political changes.

You should not hate someone just because they disagreed. What if they were right?