Whose priority should sustain -- elders’ or kids’?

Source: The Hitavada      Date: 11 Feb 2018 08:26:39

THERE is a serious social issue calling for attention. Having known what is being dished out on commercial television day in and day out, many families are beginning to turn away from the habit of watching TV for hours on end. In countless families across the landscape, children are being discouraged to watch TV. By any definition, this is a very good social trend now becoming more visible every passing day.But things are not as easy as they may appear from this description. For, in many homes, persistent conflicts are being witnessed between those who want to keep up their rather addictive watching of television and those who wish to switch off the gadget. In most cases, one of the points of conflict is children.

“What can I do? I don’t want my kids to waste their evening watching TV. But their grandparents are glued to the TV the whole evening. When the kids return from their play or tuition classes by 7 pm, they land in the house with elders glued to the TV. The kids also sit with their grandparents and watch TV. No amount of coaxing helps and the kids just ignore our instructions. The elders, too, do not bother about switching off the TV. In such a case, what can I do?”, asked an indignant young mother, obviously the daughter-in-law of the house.

I wanted to volunteer help. I asked the mother-in-law why she did not switch off the TV when the kids returned. She said, in effect, that TV was the only entertainment left for her and her husband in old age and they cannot do away with it. Then I asked, “Why don’t you watch the repeat telecast that generally is aired during the day when the kids are out in school?” The response was rather stunning. The old man joined his wife and said, “Look Sir, that is actually none of your business. We do not mind the kids watching the TV. If they have to study, they should move to other rooms and do that work. In our old age, TV is the only way to keep ourselves entertained.”

The rebuff was really harsh to take. And it is absolutely unwarranted. For, when most families realise that TV-watching is detrimental to kids’ overall well being (which is why TVs are switched off during critical examinations like 10th or 12th board), it is only unfortunate that the families are not able to get over the bad habit of TV-watching in critical evening hours when the kids have to focus on studies or other creative pursuits.The question is simple: Whose priority is more important -- of the elders or of the children, when it comes to watching TV or not watching it?

Actually, this is not a simple question. For, it involves alteration in cultural habits elders have developed, and are giving it to their youngsters of third generation.Some people may raise objection to this premise, of course. They may oppose the charge that they are spoiling the kids’ habits. There may be some substance in the arguments of some of them. But in most other cases, things are just as I have described above. To this argument I may add that in many, many, many cases, parents, too, want to keep watching television while expecting their kids not to do that and study.

It is this double-standard -- on part of the elders of any generation -- that hurts the kids’ habit-pattern most. It is because of this addiction to television on part of the elders that there is no story-telling in most families these days. Can anybody really deny this sad reality?As a society, we need to think seriously about this issue in the larger interest of our youngsters. The kids need a home where story-telling sanskaar is the most important component of upbringing.
Out of this concern, therefore, I ask: When are we going to give some thought to this spiritual need?