When I was a school going kid, a hilarious incident happened, that still resonates in my mind. Our home was often visited by spiritual preachers and learned scholars. I remember that one of them used to give examples about how harmful a refrigerator is for one’s health. Once on his visit, when my father asked him why he was not touching upon the topic this time, he smiled and replied that this time he can not say anything against a refrigerator as it won’t leave the same impact because he recently bought one for himself!
Indeed, the best lessons are taught by doing, not by saying. Whatever vices we have, we cannot condemn in others, least of all in our children. If we are not disciplined, for example, we cannot assume that our lectures of discipline to our children will leave any impact. After reaching my early adulthood now, I can very well see that I have acquired several of my father’s characteristics. We cannot neglect the contribution of genetics but watching and observing certainly influences the psychology and behaviour of children.
I think this concept of observational learning must be the basis of the importance of ‘good company’ which is emphasized by literature and the scholars of the spiritual world. Being a parent and a true friend it is our moral and ethical responsibility to ensure our kids stay in the company that will leave positive influence on them. The thought has to be extended not only to their friends, but also to the question of whether we ourselves are good company for them! Will our children turn out to be responsible, well-balanced individuals while growing up in our company?
Let us focus on improving the environment (physical surroundings and the range of behaviours) in which our children are living. And for that we will not need to inspect what they are doing; we may rather have to start by introspecting what we are doing!