Blessing a Curse to Others?

September 25, 2015, Chennai

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A three year old boy has been hitting a younger, or at least smaller, girl child. When the girl's mother brought this to the notice of the boy's mother, the latter turned away ignoring the plea that she discipline her son. Then recently, the boy scratched the girl and the girl's mother (GM) caught hold of the boy.

Noticing this, the boy's family pounced on the GM accusing her of child abuse! In the exchange of words in two different languages - the GM is a north Indian and the boy's grandmom a Tamilian, the GM finally gave up because she was unable to get through. The boy's father, who can understand English, finally said, "I had this boy after two years of praying in temples. If my son is bothering your daughter, please keep her at home(!)"

When I heard of this, I was shocked. Does having a child late entitle parents to bring up the child without any discipline, especially as a threat to others? I am reminded of stories of Markandeya and Sankaracharya. In both cases, the boys were brought up to be so devout and disciplined that the former in fact got a long life as a blessing, and continued on his path of devotion. In case of Sankaracharya, he voluntarily gave up his earthly life and became a saint.

We don't need to go to such extremes. But what if this little bully ends up on the wrong foot with someone stronger? Will he be spared? Such an instance has happened too earlier. When the parents were unable to discipline another boy - now much older - who was a nuisance, his "friends" cornered him and beat him up... This is not an incidence in some slum, or a movie or a serial. This happened where I live...

Finally, disciplining and bringing up a child well is not just for the benefit of those around, but for the child himself. Unless parents realise that first, their children will soon find themselves isolated, which will further aggravate their aggressive behaviour. But this simple logic seems to defy even the educated...

Even if we cannot do good to others, let us at least learn not to harm others, and teach the same to our children too...

- Meera Srikant