By M.M Tali
The dawn of the 21st century, is seeing new heights, of man’s growing lust for materialistic world. The continuous rise of this mortal relationship of man with materialistic world is flourishing at the cost of excluding many important relationships (parent-child, grandparent- grandchildren, brother-sister and many others), which used to constitute family systems. The relationships that demand quality time for keeping them alive are tried to be maintained by mere money, hence leading to weakening of bonds between them with every passing day. “Grandparent- Grandchildren” relationship, one among many other important relations is, a bond bridged through parents of grandchildren, by providing necessary energy in the form of donating some precious time.
Grandparents, used to be a precious blessing for the families in a number of ways. In the families where grandchildren’s parents were working parents, a tough job of acting as protectors and ensuring safety of children, and tracking their nature of spending and behavior in society, was easily looked after by grandparents. Under conditions, where grandchildren’s parents were themselves struggling (business issues, job related issues or health issues), grandparents would act as a primary caregivers. In some instances, where a small mistake from the child’s side, would provide a vent to baffled and confused parents to up burst their anger and frustration, the unconditional love and accumulated wisdom of grandparents would come to the rescue, thereby maintaining family order and cohesion.
Adept at the art of motivation and encouragement, grandparents would always keep on motivating and encouraging grandchildren. Although not all of them had bookish knowledge, but they all had gone through real life experiences (failures, struggles, achievements), turning them into more wise, mature and sensible people. With an inexhaustible source of knowledge and wisdom, affectionately, they would keep on sharing their life experiences with grandchildren, thereby increasing their level of maturity and sensibility besides preparing them how to strike back when trapped in a storm of struggles. Moreover, through various positive compliments, they would stir up hope and confidence in grandchildren along with boosting their self esteem.
Grandparents used to be one among few best teachers for their grandchildren, with whom they would keep on sharing knowledge of customs, culture and local history – agriculture, climate, governance and so on. Here, they would keep on discussing about the sufferings and struggles people used to face during their time, in fulfilling their daily needs. They would also keep on sharing how then continuous hard work paid for them and brought some fortunes. They would also narrate how much winter the season had drifted from theirs time (from being extremely cold with sufficient snowfall to little warmer with insufficient snowfall). Receiving such plentiful information would help grandchildren in developing a vision to bring out contrast between their grandparents early lives and their own, helping them to feel the changes – positive as well as the negative that have occurred over all these years.
Grandparents are like small children. They don’t want money once they turn old; what they want is to be with someone who is willing to talk with them, take care of them, and allow them to share with them. For these reasons, grandchildren were a natural choice for these elderly gems of society. By nature and temperament , children tended to be more comfortable in talking, playing and sharing with their grandparents, serving purposes of the both, as grandchildren were gaining experience and, in return, grandparents were getting someone to accompany them, bringing them out from their old age loneliness. But, the changing priorities of the present day , are taking a toll on this relationship. From being active sports lovers to spending positive time with elders of the family (helping them, entertaining them), children have encaged themselves within the world of modern technology- from “Youtube to Facebook”, from “twitter to whatsapp”, from “playing online games to online video watching”, is all what their world is and what their priorities are. Physically they are with the family, but mentally they are too far away. Stuck with technology all the time, free but quality time doesn’t exist in their dictionary, thereby not letting them to develop a positive communication bridge with their elders.
As such, there is a continuous rise in the incidents of grandparents getting pushed to isolation and loneliness, within their own homes, the grandchildren need to accompany them during this hard time by spending some quality time with them and by offering small gestures of love in the form of daily basis help, so to keep their faces smiling. Before you realize the value of this blessing by losing it, take care of this blessing right now.
P.S: The trend of developing old age homes, not for the homeless, but for aged parents, is what I call a curse for a society. Though the people of the valley are still within thesafe zone, but the unchecked continuous split and fracturing in our family systems surely is preparing a platform for this curse to get replicated here too. We must remember that social evils don’t come in existence in a single day; they take decades, but then take control for centuries.
The author works at the J&K Civil Secretariat and the views expressed are personal. He can be reached at: firstname.lastname@example.org