Friday, October 11, 2013

Of rights, voices and our children...

Yesterday I was just watching a rerun of the episode of the Daily Show where Jon Stewart is in conversation with the 16 year old Malala Yousafsai, the youngest nominee for the Nobel Peace Prize ever , someone who was deemed the most favored to win the prize this year before the actual announcement came in. More important than that though, at this point of time she is the face and voice of millions of girls worldwide, clamoring for the basic right to education for girls in civil war ravaged countries and others.

Peace has been anything but ubiquitous in the world this past year. But it's reassuring to see that the voice of one child, speaking and acting for millions of others, has the ability to make the world stop and relook at some of the most basic human rights violations in different parts of the world.

 One of first things Malala mentioned to Jon in her conversation with him was how it feels when something you value (for her,it was education) is snatched away from you. How that pushed her to be an outspoken activist(with support from her father), clamoring for the basic right to education for girls in her native Swat valley in Pakistan. We ofcourse all know what her journey has been like since that first word of rebellion was raised. So kudos indeed to this little girl!

That aside, being the parent of a girl child, her statement got me really thinking . 

As parents, we always wish and strive towards providing the best of everything for our children. We hope that they will grow up
to become well rounded human beings. We intend to add to the world a compassionate, kind, intelligent, empathetic, courageous, independent and socially aware human being! Intentions and hopes, as parents, of course, are clear!

How do we really, ensure, though that our children don't suffer in silence when a fundamental right is violated ( theirs or someone else's)?!

How do we really ensure that,in dire circumstances, they will know how to differentiate between the 'basic' / 'fundamental' and the 'superfluous' and make the correct choices?!

How do we ensure that we are not bringing up a child who is oblivious to the needs of the people in their vicinity and the rest of the world?!

We ourselves take most of the basic rights, that a lot of people around the world have to fight for - food,lodging,education and even speech and mobility very much for granted,

The kind and type of food we eat is  based on choices we make given a proliferation of options.

The kind and type of place and home we live in is a choice we make given a proliferation of options.

The kind and type of education we seek is a choice we make given a proliferation of options.

So on and so forth...

As parents, D and I are learning ways to inculcate patience in our little girl. Through words, action and example, we try our best to nurture her inherent compassion that we believe every child is born with. As time goes by, we will work hard to figure out ways to teach her the value of money, the pitfalls of instant gratification, the importance of on and so forth.

However we, as parents, will always struggle in figuring out how one teaches a child, in today's developed world, the difference
between 'the basic' and 'the superfluous', as the boundaries between these two abstract concepts keep shifting with time and space.

As I attempt to provide my little girl with life's very best, I often wonder if I am really doing the best I can to enable her to let go of the superfluous when the need arises...I often wonder if I am really doing the best I can to help her have a voice of her own. Am I doing the best I can to sow the seeds of confidence in her so that whenever she faces a situation where she has the choice of speaking up vs suffering in silence, she has the courage to stand up and clamor for her own rights and for the rights of others, in big ways and that she grows up with the belief that her voice will be heard and has value, when she speaks from her heart!

Yes, I wonder...and wait for time to tell!


1 comment:

NetworkedBlogsViaFacebook said...

Dipanjan Das,
Dipaly Bezbaruah,
Preetam Rajkhowa,
Roopa Kadiyala,
Dehu Rajkhowa,
Kalyani Das,
Cindy Leadbetter Miller,
Sukanya Bora like this

Sukanya Bora:
As parents, we second guess ourselves all the time. need to have more confidence in recognizing that we are doing the best we can for our kids.

October 11 at 8:51pm