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American Indian Kids
|by Meera Chowdhry|
In the past 12 years that I have lived in this country whenever I talk to parents on the issues of matchmaking for their children I always get a feeling that they want a match from India. Nothing against that! What bothers me is that most parent settled in the US think of all other kids as spoilt and not fit to be marriage partners for their kids. Who is responsible for this have we ever wondered? So much so if you talk to the kids, barring a few all kids think on the same lines as the parents, obviously.
Are the parents here not responsible to inculcate good values in the kids? When I was in India, and my kids were only in junior KG., the VCR was a new fancy during those days. The little kids watching late night movies would sleep in the classrooms and the common excuse of the parents was, "Oh kids don't listen to us and watch movies till late hours." The answer to this from the vice-principal was my personal favorite - Are you the parents or they are the parents?
It is very easy to put the blame on the society or the environment, I don't say here the environment does not affect however we parents can definitely influence our children. As parents we should be conscience that we are totally responsible for what becomes of our kids. A matured friend of mine always used to say that we are just the custodians of the kids; they belong to God. If we all believe this, we would be able to perform our duties better. But the big question here is if we are willing to do so. My kids have grown up in this country and I can say they are 100 percent what I have wanted them to be. There is one part of them, which is American that's the way I wanted them to be. They have to be with the mainstream if they have to live in this society. Yet they have very distinct Indian values and most important, we communicate in Hindi which happens to be our native language. I personally believe that it is very important to communicate with children in one's mother tongue as not only the "mother" tongue establishes a healthy bond, it naturally affirms one's traditions and values. Don't they say in Punjabi folklore:
Raising kids requires a lot of sacrifice on the part of parents. My husband always says, kids do not choose to be with us. We want to have kids so we get them. It is therefore our responsibility to do whatever is required to raise good kids. While we are raising kids in the US, the biggest mistake we parents do is condemn the society here. Kids are not stupid and they realize what is right from wrong especially so when they are part of that very society. Instead we should rather emphasize on the importance of our culture and values. Just like we condemn a certain society, there are people who condemn our culture and society. This is not right.
I personally feel, that most Indian kids are good in the US. There is a very temporary phase when they get influenced by the glamour. However, as they mature, they come back to their values and culture at home provided it is good. Most parents here, I see leave it to God or give up because they are not able to influence them stronger. I don't say I haven't had such situations, in fact innumerous but I didn't give up on my kids. I persuaded stronger without bringing ego, respect and such issues in the middle. This is one reason why the Indian kids in America are called ABCD - American Born Confused Desies. Unfortunately, we as parents do not put our values forth in a straightforward manner also do not do much in helping them understand the diversity.
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