I am no parent to talk about the upbringing of a child. I am aware of how tediously demanding the job can be. However, I also know that a child’s first place of socialization is in the family. So as far as I’m concerned, how a child is groomed matters big deal.
As children grow up, they candidly imbibe whatever the surrounding teaches them. Therefore, certain values, ideas, beliefs and a definite sense of what is considered good, bad, acceptable, and unacceptable gradually get imbedded in their minds. They will begin to think that their beliefs are the best, and ideas that contradict their thoughts are not acceptable.
The other day, I was listening to one of the TED talks. The speaker said that children should be exposed to cultures and customs different than their own. They should be made aware that contradicting ideas can coexist and there is something called ‘toleration’. That hit me hard, because hey, how true is that!
Most people have no idea about various social phenomena, their causes and effects. They’re hardly aware of things such as functioning of a society, the concept of normal, what are taken for granted and how dynamic culture can be.
I think children should be made to study social studies in school. I’m not talking ONLY about planets, continents, cleaning the school campus, iron bridges and deities. I mean social studies as in providing an insight into different cultures, beliefs and practices.
It will help broaden the minds of children by providing a cross-cultural education. They will be able to see beyond what is considered normal in their society. They will learn to accept the fact that not all thoughts are similar, and that people from different contextual background have their own ideas and explanations.
The act of accepting differences and tolerating them is something Mahatma Gandhi strongly believed in. Clashes occur mainly because opinions differ and people aren’t able to put up with it.
Children must be made to see that world doesn’t function purely based on the principles valid in the society they live in. They should be taught to accept differences and to have diverse outlooks. Somebody exposed to only one set of customs cannot be expected to suddenly see the world in a broader perspective.