The world I want to leave for my child.
Created by Megha Chawla Updated on Nov 23, 2015
An intense dinner table conversation among friends on ISIS and Syrian crises with images of Syrian children in distress playing on TV in the background prompted me to write this today. Unfortunately, since the beginning of the Syrian crises, the children have been the forgotten victim of the horrific war. I am sharing some stats here to put things in perspective. 7000 children have been killed so far (officially figures) and the bombing still continues. 1in 3 children have been hit or shot at and the latest report that just came 6 hours back reports 97 children have been killed in the latest Syrian air strikes.
7.5 million Syrian children, inside and outside the country have been displaced. 2.6 million children are no longer going to school and approximately 2 million children are living in unimaginable conditions as refugees in makeshift shelters in the neighbouring countries or on the run in search of ‘SAFETY’ and are at a risk of becoming ill, malnourished, sexually abused or exploited.
The ones still surviving have been scarred for life having witnessed loss of their loved ones, suffering injuries, missing school and witnessing violence, brutality. But the biggest risk and perhaps the worse possible outcome is that of them being forcibly recruited to serve as fighters, human shields by warring parties.
Disturbing isn’t it? Not sure if I will be able to ever imagine the plight of the parents in question because I bring the roof down when my daughter gets a bruise. There are thousands of parents who have lost their children in the Syrian violence, many more who don’t know where their children are, many who don’t have enough food to feed their children, arrange a shelter in time for the night and many who don’t know if they will see their children tomorrow or no.
So while we are warm and snug in the bed with our children tonight hugging them and reading them their favourite bedtime stories, let’s take a minute to think about the Syrian children, their distress and their future. The stats say the war has reversed 10 years of progress in education for Syrian children. But what is more important is to think where will this lead and the kind of impact it will have on generations to come. So one question at the dinner table conversation was what we can do about it? Not much was the general consensus because it’s not happening in India and some even said about making children more religious or knowing their religion better will help. I was the only one who didn’t have a view.
But today, while I write this I reflect on on what all can I do as a parent, what can be my contribution. I don’t want my daughter to be religious but I want to help her to learn the importance of love, compassion and peace leaving no room for hate. Discover ways to make her more compassionate, respect all cultures and religions. While I read more on how to inculcate compassion in children, I would want to know from fellow parents on what do you think about this and how do you plan to inculcate love, respect and compassion in your child, especially in the wake of changing times.
| Dec 13, 2015
hi megha i really was thinking i m alone or an alien mother who thinks like this that kids should taught humanity first n religion second ,and should teach to respect all religions,i have faced same problem when i shifted from bangalore to gurgoan ,i was unable to answer when my sons after caming back from school asked me mama what is muslim and what is hindu,are we veg. or non veg. as in family they were never taught such words .i always have tried to make them good human beings and will not judge anyone by their religion but by their character. and i m sure god will help me .
| Nov 26, 2015
Thank you Dr Deepak very well said
| Nov 25, 2015
Nice article ,megha . 'War' anywhere in this world only brings more pain to Innocent civilians who get killed or disabled in incessant bombings .The plight of permanently disabled children of hiroshima, to thousands of people being bombed out of schools /houses all represent the horrific side effects of terrorism. As good parents ,one should inculcate values of tolerance and respect for all religions/cultures among their kids ;to be helpful to others and share their happiness/sorrows with friends too. A small change at our level hopefully will make an ocean of a change one day .
| Nov 24, 2015
Thank you anurima and Neha. Was just thinking the other day when I was sitting with a couple of friends and discussing what school, which board is the best for them, which extra curricular class is going to be the best, guess in all this somewhere I think as a parent I am forgetting that there are some core values that are important and how we should be equally focusing on them. Simple things like tolerance, respect for each others' believes, opinions is so important and how these values will go a long way and benefit them so much.
| Nov 24, 2015
Wonderful article Megha! The statistics are disturbing indeed and so are the many images we come across from the media. In my opinion, children should be free to choose a religion, if any, once they are old enough to understand these concepts. My children are growing up in a multicultural environment where they meet children from different backgrounds. I think that is a learning experience in itself. However, I ensure that they know about their own culture and can present themselves well in front of others. Little children should be taught that there are no differences, be it in the skin colour, the language one speaks or what background they come from (caste, creed and the like). Once they are able to understand and accept this, then I think half the battle is won for the next generation. But it is unfortunately, a far cry, isnt it?
| Nov 23, 2015
Quite thought provoking Megha, with our day to day hassles, we tend to overlook/ignore tragic situations labeling them as foreign issues, but this intolerance is prevalent everywhere. While ISIS and French still fight on bigger issues, a single alleged beef consumption incident disrupted the communal balance in our country. As a parent I should be educating my child against such "petty" incidents of intolerance. Making the child read and learn about other religions, their culture, festivals, ways and places of worship is a good way to start. Encourage them to visit their Sikh, Muslim or Christian friends on their respective festivals and invite them on your festivals.
| Nov 23, 2015
Very well said Carol and shikha
| Nov 23, 2015
Very thoughtful indeed Megha! I agree can't do much to change the present scenario but yes we can definitely make our future bright by sowing the seeds of love,compassion,kindness and empathy in our kids so that when they r grown up they turn out to be beautiful human beings who can in turn make this world a beautiful place to live.
| Nov 23, 2015
Yup Ujwala, very well said. Its a very important lesson considering how things are around us now, its important to make them understand that violence will never do any good to anyone. Guess we all need to start now as early as possible from the little things around us.
| Nov 23, 2015
Yes Megha its very important to teach our children to love and respect others religious and cultural by making them understand we all are equal and are just placed at different parts of the world.....