How do you raise a thinking citizen? Start thinking yourself
After two refreshing holidays in cities both cleaner/dirty, organised/messed up than our own, I wondered how we could get kids to think beyond themselves and our own needs.
By Christobelle JosephChristobelle Joseph, Bangalore Mirror Bureau
Our country has been notoriously branded as a nation of selfish people. We get ahead, often, by stepping on everyone else. Mr Dad argued that our sheer numbers make it natural for behaviour such as this. He’d seen amazingly similar (and “extraordinary”) behaviour in London recently, when the public transit system had unexpected problems and people needed to get home – some more urgently than the rest.
In my mind, many South East Asian countries are populous, and yet there is order. They don’t just deface/ruin public property on a whim/habit. Could the secret lie in giving kids an overview of the world we live in? Could a widening of our own view be a step into letting them see their worlds holistically?
Small example. My early a.m. flight, last night, saw many children disrupted and sleep-deprived. Travelling with young children myself, I have immense patience reserved for little ones and a storehouse full of comforting smiles for embarrassed parents; I use them freely.
While there were kids who braved the snakey queues with few inaudible sniffles, heavy eyes and cheeks, others had all-out wriggling-and-screaming fest with their parents. A closer listen revealed to me, in that short social experiment, that the ones who were dealing better, were the ones with communicative parents.
“Why are we waiting?” “I want my toys!” “I need to go to Bangalore!””When can we go home?” seemed questions common to all the children, but while some parents responded with “Do you want to get your bag? Then wait!”, others drew children’s attention to the fact that there was a long line of people who had arrived
I thought this was fab. Suddenly, it was not about me and MY discomfort, MY late luggage, but about US waiting, a system to follow, and a queue to respect those that had arrived earlier and waited longer.
I’m not sure how much the kids understood, and what impact it will have for life, but I liked that approach better.