One of the greatest powers of an individual is that of self-belief. Self belief comes from the confidence that one has within oneself. What it means is that through the complete awareness that one has within oneself of the ability to do anything, one is able to achieve objectives unimaginable otherwise. To what end one would use such harnessed power of self-belief is up to the individual and that is where the notion of choice comes in.
Whether used for good or bad, the universe will show the consequences - nothing that one does goes "unnoticed". Everything is accounted for and the law of cause and effect sets the table right ultimately. But my point in this discussion is not about how one uses this power for good or bad - I would personally advocate for the good of course – and that is up to the individual, but to convey to parents the need to nurture their children in self confidence and self-belief to use this power discovered within themselves to build a better society for tomorrow.
Generating self confidence in a child is not an easy thing when many of us parents are ourselves full of insecurities in the first place, and one may argue also that these stem from the insecurities of our parents and our grandparents; this delving into the past can be in fact bottomless. And so, to embark on doing something about it, we have to break this chain of causation and begin our attempts today. And so, today's parents must realize that the chain can only be broken if we do some selfless deeds we call sacrifice - to making our children not be subjected to the abuse and neglect that make them insecure. Difficult as this might sound – and as they say, “no pain, no gain”, we will need to re-evaluate our use of parental leisure; to go with friends and haunt restaurants, resorts, coffee shops or give no respite to business engagements which present no end at the expense of quality time with family. Be immersed in the daily routine of our nine to five office responsibilities, while a foreign aya takes care of the baby, or attempt to glean the benefits of after office overtime that eat away into daily free time with family, or give weekends to business engagements. All these take away time that could be used to build family relationships that will ultimately be the thing that we will yearn for as we grow in age.
Soon our children will have grown up and then we are upset or can’t understand why our children don’t love us after all what we have done for them (by the showering of designer toys, clothes, shoes and other material glitter). Nature does not wait for us to wake up, and unless we are tuned to its timings of human growth and evolution, we miss the boat. That moment in our life of nurturing the young minds to be bonded with us as parents would then be gone. No amount of lament will bring back those moments. Such torments in our heart would manifest in us later as health issues such as depression, vascular diseases, high blood pressure, diabetes and such others when we least need these, and then have to be spending our hard earned savings on taking care of ourselves in the midst of children who have no love for us.
There is no better gift we can give to our children than love; no video game, or mobile phone or lavish birthday party can give them that value of selfless love. In fact these material delights of the moment wane as fast as they come and children are left with the same insecurities that made the parent give this stuff to the child in the first place; it is only the neighborhood merchant that benefits by our folly as we ring up his cash counter with the expenses we make to buy such gadgetry for our children to allay our guilt of their neglect, or our competitiveness with our neighbor or associate, just to be one up on them. By doing so, we continue to perpetuate our insecurities through our children.
Love and attention and kind words are all they need to have in this formative period of their lives. Their self confidence is built on helping them discover their latent capacities. Parents have a role in helping them discover these by searching out the leaning of their passions - their element. But this delving into the recesses of these young minds cannot happen without engaging with them, discussing with them their problems and making them feel you are always there for them. And giving them the encouragement on work well done, not necessarily for them to do what we think are good for them but encourage them along the path that would liberate them from the bondage of inadequacy. But all this requires time with them, and engaging with them.
Liberated and self confident children don't do bad things. On the contrary it is those who are insecure and not sure of themselves that contribute to disharmony in family, community and society. They are in fact rebelling against the hold we have on them and demonstrating their desire to be noticed -- a state of attention seeking so to say. As a parent, to wait for later will be too late to harness the positive forces that are working within that young self called our child. In our Maldivian context, we had let go the noble edicts of life we used to hold onto in the past and let that situation prevail for too long as the glitter of materialism kept us blind – thinking that wealth will make us a better nation. But that thinking is passé now even as the developed countries are witnessing where human life is not revered, but wealth is.
Our actions for building a better society has to begin now. Building loving and nurturing environments in schools and in homes are the hallmarks of steps we can take immediately to build a safer and joyous society of Maldivians for tomorrow. Let's put materialism on the back burner for now, and put the agenda of social upliftment on the front ones. Parents of today, please believe me, this step will be much better for us in the long run. I give you this in writing, so if you think you cannot believe me, please keep this blog preserved for the next twenty years!