The media is full of reports about all sorts of crimes happening in India on a large scale — acts of terrorism, growing and barbaric violence on women, robbery and small thefts, corruption on at all levels of administration, juvenile crimes, religious clashes, unethical corporate practices, criminalisation of politics, anti-national activities, murders for gain. So there is an immediate need for corrective steps through a suitable reform process and that should start from the education sector.
We generally believe that the task of character building and personality development lies with the teachers and the schools have to arrange value education since they are the learning and character-building centres.
But, the present-day school education system is burdened with heavy curriculum and the teachers are under great pressure to complete the syllabus in time and train thoroughly the students to face the final examinations. Moreover, they are also responsible for co-curricular and extracurricular activities. Hence, the schools are not willing to allot time for value or moral instruction and it is difficult to get enough number of teachers with an aptitude and capability to teach this subject. Therefore, the task of rendering value education in the modern world has fallen on the parents.
The pre-school years and the non-school hours in the formative years of the children’s lives are spent at home. Hence, the parents are the first role models for them. Usually, children tend to copy or follow the conduct, attitude and mannerisms of family members, particularly parents. Their behaviour plays a major role in shaping the children’s character. Hence the parents have to understand what is “responsible parenting”.
It is a way of life towards the attainment of sustainable human development. It is defined as the series of decisions couples make to ensure the best possible life for the family and for the community they belong to. It means that parents are responsible for not only the physical wellbeing of their children but also for developing them into refined human beings, endowed with all the values of life. It extends even to the development of their mental and emotional wellbeing. Implementation of that responsibility is possible only when the parents understand what is “responsible parenting”. In other words, they are responsible for moulding their children’s character.
How to do it?
The parents should determine to implement positive thoughts and deeds during their parenting stage. They should be role models to their children in following values of life Regarding religious practice, they should demonstrate to their children how to be faithful to their own faith and tolerant of others faith. Regarding interpersonal relationship, they should demonstrate by their behaviour how to accept people as they are with their plus and minus points. This would help in building up harmonious relationship with neighbours, friends and relatives.
Parents should help others as much as possible (within the limit of their capacity) and exhibit such a trait of character in their daily life. Helping the needy is a great human quality. Children who observe this quality of the parents would end up as kind-hearted citizens.
If qualities such as compassion towards the poor and disabled, respect to elders, friendship and cordiality with neighbours and relatives, loyalty in friendship, dignified treatment to service providers, consciousness about civic duties and patriotism are followed by parents, they don’t have to worry about negativity of thoughts, lack of focus in character building and misdirection of their energies and knowledge among their children.