Today I welcome, Roshan Radhakrishnan, an Anaesthesiologist by profession, a prolific writer,  a published author, a celebrated blogger, a foodie, a dog lover and a very good human being! Roshan has been blogging since 2005 at Godyears and The Appletini. Thank you, Roshan for this thought-provoking piece.

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 Follow Roshan on his blog and on Twitter 

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The Three Rs and Two More

They say that we should look to teach our children the three Rs while they are at school – Reading, wRiting and aRithmetic. A cute play on the phonetics of the three words, it does make sense, does it not? But then, what should we aspire to teach them at home if the school teachers get the Wren & Martin grammar books and multiplication tables?

I would like to share with you my views on two more R’s that I feel need to be inculcated into children while they are still at an impressionable age.

 

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I remember an incident where two children were playing catch with a tennis ball within an apartment. The boy was definitely a Type A personality in the making while the girl was just having fun. Frustrated when the girl ‘won’ the catching game, the boy hurled the ball directly at the girl’s face at almost point blank range, striking her hard below the nose. After consoling the crying girl and stopping the bleeding from a chipped tooth, I turned and started admonishing the seven year old boy for what he had intentionally done even as his mother walked into the room. I still remember his answer even today.

“It’s okay. She’s poor. She should get used to getting hit.”

This was an actual answer given to me by a seven year old boy. His mother then went on to berate me, telling me that kids get hurt while playing and if the girl can’t catch the ball, she shouldn’t play with her son. I watched the little girl leave the house crying while the mother mollycoddled her ‘adorable innocent’ child as she told me never to shout at her kid in front of other kids as it made him look bad . As I left the room that day, I realised that two people had learned a lesson- I had learned to mind my own business. The kid, more importantly, had learned that he could get away with hurting others.

The first R I want to stress upon is something that I always felt our Bollywood movies caricatured – righteousness. Teaching children right from wrong when they are still mouldable is crucial to what they will be as they grow up. In time peer pressure, social media, personal experiences and other factors will all have their effect upon them – they need to be able to know where the line is drawn and most importantly, that while their parents love them, condoning their misdeeds is not part of that package. Being privileged is fine… that does not mean that you teach your children that they can do anything and get away with it.

A decade ago, if you had asked me, I would probably have only added that one word to the list. I would have said that teaching your kid to be righteous is your main duty… that he can make a difference in today’s world.

A decade ago, I was a fool.

Being righteous alone will get you destroyed in today’s world. You will be trampled upon by those who choose a different path and unlike in the movies, there will be no six-pack hero riding a motorbike through walls to save you. You do not even have to go looking for evil. Evil is all around us and whichever fork in the road we take, we will be forced to cross paths with one form or the other of it. At that time, being righteous alone may not be enough.

Teach your child to be resilient. I cannot stress this enough.

Don’t hide the brutality of the world from his/her eyes. While innocence is an adorable trait in any person, naivety isn’t. By choosing to protect them, you conversely would be making them lambs walking out into a world filled with wolves in sheep’s clothing. They must realise the dog-eat-dog world they are entering into and develop an inner strength to face injustice head on should when their paths meet. Life is never going to be easy… it helps to have a moral code to follow. But it is also imperative that they have the will power to hang on to those morals when all around them choose an immoral path.

That resilience to stand up for what it right eventually determines the kind of man or woman they will grow up to be.

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Do share your views on what Roshan has shared and is there anything else you’d like to add to the list of Rs?

This post is written for the letter ‘R’ for the Blogging From A to Z April Challenge 2014.