Parenting: NRIs, Educate Your Children Abroad!
Recently a reader from New York asked me: “My daughter is 3 years old now. Should I raise her in India or in USA? I am very confused. I want to come back to India and raise her there. But I am not sure. You know about India and USA very well. I need your advice…”
“Bring her up in USA” I said.
Silence. After a minute she said: “Uday Sir. I didn’t expect this reply as you always bat for Indian culture. But…”
“I could see our culture earnestly practiced outside the country than in India,” I said.
“Sir, are you teasing me? I really wanted to raise my kid in our traditional Indian way…”
“Where will you come and live in India?” I asked.
“Okay, any major-mega cities or metros in India are almost similar now. What make you think you can raise your kid in Indian way if you are in any Indian city?”
“We can attend family functions, go to temples and raise the child in Indian way…” she said.
“Do you really know how they had raised children in India in the past? There was a Kuṭumbaṁ (kudumbam, Parivar, Kuṭumpa) – large family that lived in harmony loved and cared for each other – upholding traditional values, elders loving and guiding youngsters, youngsters respecting, caring and providing security to elders. Is that system still prevailing in Indian cities?”
“No. But I saw it many places in India.”
“Could be in the movies or in some villages. Would you stay in such villages? No. You would say there are no good schools, facilities, job opportunities and the ambience is not suitable. Till few decades ago, our houses were small (1000 sq. ft.?) with 2 or 3 rooms and open Verandas. Nearly 40-50 members of a Kutumbam had lived there happily. Given anytime, any season, there were 10-12 kids (less than 4-5 years old) playing outside the house in the ‘dirty’ soil. They play well in open space and eat whatever they get. These kids freely mingle each other and also with domesticated animals and plants. They lived and played with nature. Can you do it?”
“No. We plan to live in our apartment in Bangalore…”
“It would be congested. I have seen free space around most of the houses in US.”
“We have another house too – it has some space.”
“Yes, today one person buys multiple big houses and apartments. But can you buy family? Your child can have a posh life in the apartment. But a child, who is not exposed to hardships, pains and miseries in life, would likely to end up as useless, depressed morons,” I said.
“My parents can stay with us, if needed.”
“Can your parents tell your child the stories of from Puranas, Itihas, Panchatantra, Kathasarit Sagram etc?”
“I don’t think so…They are new age parents and TV buffs…”
“Listening to stories of own culture in own mother tongue would be supportive for character formation in a child. This method has a genetic discipline and hierarchy. The stories told by intimate grandparents directly and indirectly help in the development of brain and neuro-linguistic faculty. Indian Puranas and Itihas are proved to make the child brilliant and successful.” I continued, “But in your case, added to the woes, the child would also see TV programs…”
“What’s wrong in watching good TV programs?” she asked.
“Nothing, except that most of the advertisements are provocative and stimulative. The child’s senses would get stimulated at an age that it shouldn’t happen. Kids will experience the unknown sensations happening inside. The stimuli will be catalyst to produce ductless hormones. You can ask any doctors what will happen if a child is exposed to so much of stimuli, especially erotically provocative ones…”
“But I can provide the kid with good games…”
“Any stimulation for a developing brain caused by overexposure to studies and technologies has shown to be associated with executive functioning and attention deficit, cognitive delays, impaired learning, increased impulsivity and decreased ability to self-regulate. Over-use of computer and mobile games, car race, ipad games etc below 12 years is implicated as a causal factor in rising rates of child depression, anxiety, attachment disorder, attention deficit, autism, bipolar disorder, psychosis, and problematic child behavior.”
She didn’t reply.
“Would it be possible to provide the child natural, organic and family food?”
“I don’t cook. But all the branded food items and vegetables and meat, are available nearby…”
“India still doesn’t have a system to implement food security or safety norms as in the US. All food items (I said ALL) are contaminated. Vegetables, fruits and the refrigerated parts of dead bodies that you eat are full of chemicals, fertilizers, inorganic manure, pesticides and preservatives. This causes serious hormone malfunction in the childhood. Children’s physical maturity starts at very young age. Girls get menstruation too early. If you see face of a girl with excessive hair growth and boy with no hair, don’t get shocked. Even school kids are getting diabetics, hypertension, thyroid issues etc. And as bonus, the increasing infertility and cancer are added bonus.”
“Oh, my god, I didn’t think about that…”
“And what kind of schooling did you plan for your child?”
“I had planned to enroll her in the pre-KG now, then as usual LKG and UKG…”
“In traditional Indian way, the children were sent to school only after six when they were ready – all our great men in India had learned in this way. Till then, children should be in tune with the nature. All organs should work in tandem with the brain in a normal and natural way. The child’s genetic code is designed such a way that it can grasp things easily and naturally when they see, feel, realize, hear, and touch the things in the same manner that their grandparents did. It would be engraved in their DNA codes. It would be better if they learn things in a language used by their grandparents. They should feel and understand the nature and environment around them. They should learn that they are integral part of this eco-system and this soil.”
– When you send the school at the age of 3, the kid learn things in alien language that too in a system that is not compatible with its genetic code which sustained for the last 2000 years! The new system contradicts with the existing codes in kids. So when the child reaches 5th standard, don’t be shocked if it develops autism or OCD, a disease that was unheard in India till few years ago. Studies have shown increasing instances of contact disorder and in high school, depression or some sort of mania or phobia, thanks to our new system of education.
“Sir I didn’t know that…But the curriculum of good Indian schools is acceptable internationally.”
“If it is available everywhere, why should you come to India? Do we teach civic sense in schools? Do we teach the ‘real’ Indian history? Do we teach them to be a proud Indian? Do we teach anything about our rich cultural heritage or national heroes? Today’s education has nothing to do with this country’s land. So what’s the difference between the US and India?”
“Not only do that…The days when teachers took up moral responsibility of students and upholding value-system have gone. I have seen many teachers consume alcohol or express their vices in the public. Good teachers can’t survive as parents want teachers to be puppets who pamper their kids…Will you allow teacher to beat your child if she commit non-virtuous thing?”
“But according to modern psychology we shouldn’t beat or abuse children. They have rights.”
“If you want to teach children only about rights and not about responsibilities and value-system, how can you call it Indian way? In India parents and teachers used to punish children – all those children later grown up to responsible citizens, loving and respecting parents and teachers.”
“But, we can give a support at home, can’t we?”
“In a nuclear family the lone child always sees only parents. In child’s mind parents becomes an establishment. And the anti-establishment tendency will prompt the growing child (especially in the teen) to see parents as enemies – this happens in many Indian urban modern families now. Children grow up hating the parents. Many children take revenge on parents by destroying themselves…”
“Yes – I know such incidents…But the modern system of education has plus points too, right?”
“Tell me one plus point apart from the fact that this system creating sort of slavery. The system teaches the student to be a slave of job-providers. The student’s sole ambition is restricted to making money. Can they experience the beauty of life ?”
“Hmm…Another thing. According to US laws, children are not allowed to sleep with parents. We have to put them in separate room, alone…That’s bad isn’t it?”
“In fact, that’s better than letting the child sleeping with parents…Urban India should follow it.”
“The modern society (in India) is moving towards open sex. The taboo of expressing sex in public is lifted. The parents would enact and express their new-found ‘liberal freedom’ in the bed. So it’s better not to let children sleep with parents. They will see things that they are not supposed to see at that age. Children seeing and imitating such acts would result in great danger”
“So you mean to say, the parenting system in the West is better than that in India?”
“Given today’s ground reality, it appears so. We are neither here nor there, but desperately trying to imitate something alien to our DNA. So today’s parenting can be called ‘napunsakam’ (neuter) or ‘hijra’ (a transvestite or eunuch). And we have special skills in picking up all the wrong practices in the parenting culture of the West and East”
“Oh, this is a scary truth”
“And about your family functions and going to temples….In the traditional Indian way, a family function means, satsang, making merry, cooking food together, sharing joy and delight. It was meant for sharing and caring. Today, we outsource food to catering agencies and all planning to event managers. The main attraction is alcohol party. Functions have become a superficial show and fashion parade. Hardly anybody follow any traditional ritualistic meaningful system. The fraud priest who supports all these non-sense recite some Dappanguthu film songs as mantras and take away your money. So functions have lost their diviniy and relevance. Temple has become highly commercialized business houses. Today, people think that superstitions=spirituality…So it doesn’t matter wherever you raise your child…” I said.
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© Uday Lal Pai. Please contact the author for re-posting or publishing at firstname.lastname@example.org