The family is the building block of society, and over time immemorial, nurturing of children in preparation of another responsible generation has been priority. However, in a globalizing world with many distractions for parents and children alike, the consistency and intensity of family effort has varied or waned and it now seems adrift away with the tide for children to learn life values and the ideals of integrity from peers or from the internet. And this has its verified dangers.
We always hear that nurturing happens when quality time is spent with the object of our nurturing. Whether it is to nurture an attitude or skill within us or nurture our children with good values and humane feelings, we need to spend time communicating with ourselves or our children the knowledge and feelings that magnify the attitude we want to hone.
But of course, spending time is a general term and many of us feel that just being present with our children is enough to make them feel cared for. Present thinking doesn’t go with this norm. It is now a universal awareness in these circles that nurturing requires spending quality time. This is different to just being with the child or us reading about something. It requires engagement in conscious thought or conversation. The need is to have the communication loop completed and continued for some extended time. It is not enough for a parent to be at home when the child is around, but needs to be engaged with the child in active communication and for the child to be aware that the parent is showing active concern. A cursory ask of how school was today, or a query on how was the game today, may not be enough especially when the parent asks in an act of boring routine.
Quality time engages the heart more than the mind. That is why going out for a walk with your children and doing the things they enjoy will kindle and bind your relationship and these moments become engraved in their memory as moments they will cherish as adults. These are the morsels they carry in their life to give them inspiration and the connection with us in love or admiration for the role model we show. The result will be a better community we leave behind. How many parents spend meal times talking to the phone rather than to the child? How many hours are spent on our computer or our eyes glued to the TV while the kids spend their time with the toys we had given them -- as if the guilt of our neglect will be allayed by the expensive toys we give them and then expect, like a miracle, our children become the characterful human beings we want them to be? No dear parents, they need our attention. We need to sacrifice more of our time to them before they grow up and begin to say they don't need us anymore. Yes, there will be no use crying over spilt milk. Please listen to the song “cat's in the cradle”. It may bring tears to many regretful eyes.
These and many other new habits in our daily life distance us from our children who will doubtlessly be the torchbearers of tomorrow. How many of us care for a better tomorrow for our children? If so we need to reflect on what we are doing today to prepare for that tomorrow.