This is the unedited version of the article that was published on 6 Oct 2010 in Herald on pg 8.i am truly grateful to God for this miracle.PTL!
Walking The Talk
Children are more in need of models than critics.
A teacher was exasperated with a certain student who rarely completed class assignments and never did his homework. When questioned, the child always gave the same excuse, “I just never got around to it.” She decided one day to visit the boy’s home. There she was cordially greeted by the mother and invited into the living room. Because it was already February, she was startled to see a bare-needled Christmas tree still draped with ornaments. Seeing her surprise, the mother apologized, “I just never got around to taking it down.”
Standing behind a young mother and her small daughter in a supermarket checkout queue, a lady overheard “Mummy, can I have a bar of chocolate?’
“No darling. Too much chocolate is bad for you.”
“Oh please mummy.”
“No dear. If you have too many sweets, they’ll make you fat. When you get home, you can choose a special piece of fruit. That way you’ll have a beautiful complexion when you’re older and you’ll be healthier.”
What a sensible woman she is, the lady thought, instilling healthy-lifestyle-thinking into her child.
Then, as she reached the cashier, the mother said, “A pack of cigarettes, please.”
As parents, we are in the habit of preaching but sometimes we do not walk the talk ourselves. Wise as they are, our children can spot a phony a mile away.
“You cannot steer a car with the horn.” It doesn’t matter how long or how loudly we shout; if we don’t show them the right way by our good example, we are doomed. I may tell my son not to beat up his little brother, but if I whack him on the head every time I get upset with him, what do you think he’s going to do? I can tell my child not to scream and shout but if I scream and shout when I am telling her that, what chance have I got of making her behave? No bad words, we tell our kids, then watch a movie full of the taboo words. And there seated in the front row is our little Johnny, educating himself with our blessings.
Our children watch our every move. My little daughter learnt to comb her hair and sit on the potty just by watching how I did it. My eldest son grumbles exactly the way I do when I am frustrated. He leaves the house at the last moment just like his father does, earning himself the title of late Latif.
When children are small, we are amused with the way they imitate us. Little do we realize that they could embarrass us one day! I distinctly recall the shock we got once when the son of one of my distant cousin used a ‘forbidden’ word at a wedding. He was only 3 years old at the time! Well, you can rightly guess what word his father loved best.
A teacher once told a parent who was in the habit of constantly overfeeding her son “See that your boy is not only well fed but also well bred.” The boy used to bully the younger boys during recess, grabbing their tiffin boxes and if they resisted, he would throw the contents on the ground. Later, she learnt that the mother was the village toughie, using her influence as the sarpanch to get illegal work done. Little wonder then that her son was a mini-Gabbar Singh in school.
A mother and father who create a home wherein the virtues of charity, modesty and honesty abide, where God is Boss at all times and where hard work and sacrifice are honored need to be crowned Mr. and Mrs. Perfect Couple, don’t you think?
When I attended a retreat sometime ago, the preacher was speaking on dress codes in religious places. He praised the Hindus and Muslims for their reverence, saying that the Hindu women covered their head with the pallav when they went to the temple and the Muslim men used a prayer cap while doing namaz at the mosque. He narrated an incident when a young girl had come for Mass in a short skirt. The priest beckoned to her and told her to call her mother. He meant to reason with the mother to caution her daughter on the appropriate dress code, but when he saw the mother, he knew he had no chance. The mother had an even shorter skirt!
I end with a final story, which I hope will put a seal to my appeal to all parents to ‘Talk the Talk, Talk the Walk, Walk the Talk then Walk the Walk’. A boy was left alone with his father at bedtime. After some horseplay, the father got the little fellow into his nightclothes and told him to say his night prayers. The little boy knelt down besides his bed, joined his hands, raised his eyes to Heaven and prayed his usual prayer. Then he looked up at his Dad, raised his eyes to Heaven again and said “Dear God, make me a great big good man like my Daddy.” In a moment he was in bed, and in five minutes, asleep. Then his father knelt by his son’s bedside and prayed “Dear Lord, make me a great big good man like my boy thinks I am.”