The dilemma of parent and child

Published - July 21, 2015 12:10 am IST

Renuka, a Class 3 student, is good at studies but seems to be an introvert. She hardly talks to anyone in the classroom. However, she comes to the teacher to clarify her doubts regarding the subject.

The teacher was explaining the importance of the family in the environmental education class which has become a compulsory subject in schools. She asked all students to affix their family photographs in their scrap books. The next day children surrounded the teacher, keen to show their pictures. After going through the books she congratulated all the students for their work. Then a tiny hand reached out to her and handed over a folded piece of paper. The teacher took and opened it. But it was a neatly written letter by Renuka’s mother. It said:

“Dear madam: My daughter has asked for a family picture regarding EE homework. Madam, I would like to inform you that I am no longer living with my husband. [Because of] our personal problems, or maybe to satisfy our ego, we have decided to separate. I am living with my kids and take care of them. In this process I’ve lost all the photographs of a complete family. But if you insist on having one I need to search for it. Or, if it’s possible, give me your valuable advice regarding the situation I am in. Yours sincerely…”

The teacher has taught the students that a nuclear family comprises a father, mother and their children. The meaning of completeness of a family was, however, lost on Renuka and she could not quite understand what a family unit actually was. Over the years, the definition of a family has changed from a joint family consisting of grandparents, uncles and aunts, to a small family, ‘We Two, Our Two’. Now a term needs to be coined for the modern-day family, especially with the increase in the number of broken and scattered families.

Sanghavi came to school crying, which was unusual as she was always seen with a smile on her face. On being asked repeatedly she said her mother would be leaving them forever and she may not find her when she returns from school that day. The teacher had to console her and convince her that nothing of that sort would happen.

On enquiry it was found that her parents were not living together. Sanghavi’s mother was not well- educated and had to work on a small pay which was not sufficient to run her family. She lost her confidence to bring up her only child on her own shoulders.

Well, what’s the right thing? Disown, as was done by the man, or stand with the child? The thought seems to be odd and in fact scary.

Shannuti’s mother has proved otherwise. She is a software engineer with a renowned company. Being a workaholic with her career as the first priority in her life, she hardly took care of her only child. Shannuti’s father never put any restrictions on his wife. In fact he had given all support to her. One fine morning she came with her passport and visa in her hand and left them, taking her things, never to look back. Shannuti’s father stood there wondering whether he had done the right thing in supporting and encouraging his wife.

All these kids demand from society a new definition of the family. Do they have to live with the truth that a family consists of me and my mom or my dad. I repeat, mom or dad. Wake up, mom and dad, set right the family and make it meaningful, or erase the word from the dictionary. Society needs to clear this “dilemma of a child”.

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