The unheard screams of a child

Looks can often be deceptive. What we behold, may not be there. And yet what is there to be seen, we might not be able to comprehend. Lately, I have been scrutinising this notion with much assiduity only because I find it alarming and lamentable. You must be thinking what I am talking about. I would like to illustrate this by sharing my personal experience. I happen to have come across a rather lethargic 12-year-old lackadaisical. The girl paid little attention to her surroundings and worked mutely. When asked about result it was what we call below average. Her hands would tremble while writing causing her to write haltingly in illegible script. After gaining confidence of the child I dwelled deeper and found out that the problem was not that the child was languid deliberately rather she was in an imbroglio. I excavated the issue only to find out that her parents favoured their second child.

This is not the only case. There are others much worse than this one. There was another child who was having his nose to grindstone but one day he broke and wailed. He unveiled that he cannot see the board and the text on the books due to weak eyesight. He accidentally broke his spectacles while playing and his parents won’t buy him a new pair as a punishment. Shiver ran down my spine when he recapitulated the traumatising episode. His shrieks followed by sobbing spasms jolted me. Wonder how his parents could bear it? Still wondering if they were remorseful and they apologised for what they did to the delicate soul who had yet to spread its wings and explore the vastness of the world.

We must all, if not all than most of us, can say, been there done that. We all know someone around us or might have personally experienced this thralldom, the feeling of utter helplessness, the spiteful gazes, being asphyxiated by cacophonous words shattering the self esteem to the level where we feel freely falling into the abysmal of obscurity and gloom. Worst of all there is no one who can hear the screams. Several years back, Indian actor Amir Khan directed a movie by the name ‘Taare Zameen Par’. It was a major hit. We all watched it, applauded, appreciated, even cried when the movie reached its ending, but what did we learn? Were we able to comprehend how our speech, our actions, our treatment affects children; the ramifications of our behavior on the child’s psychology? Richard L Evans says, “Children will not remember you for the material things you provided but for the feeling that you cherished them”.

The same lesson was disseminated in the movie as well. I have often come across parents who believe that equipping their children with latest gadgets, taking them to various food outlets is enough and they have fulfilled their duty of being a parent. Take a seed and sow it in the most expensive and the most exquisite pot, it won’t germinate, for the beauty of the pot is not fulfilling its requirements. Provide it with water, air and sunlight and see how it sprouts. Equipping the child with gadgets is like running away from parental duties. The delicate soul of a child requires not the repugnance of gadgets but love and affection of parents. Love and appreciation nourishes their soul. Parents must also be watchful of the language they use for their children. A few words of encouragement can do wonders. Just like it did to the 12-year-old girl I talked about earlier. When encouraged and appreciated, she turned out to be a dazzling poet and also managed to pass the exam with 80% marks.

In our country, parents decide everything for us; what we wear, what we eat, what we study and even the person we have to marry. In doing so they often forget what this treatment does to the child. Often I have come across people who were passionate about a subject but their parents forced them to study something which they weren’t interested in, ended up as a failure, capable of doing nothing and losing sense of direction that further splintered the already disintegrated self-esteem. Parents need to understand that their relationship with their child is not that of master and servant, rather that of friends where respect, love and understanding goes side b y side. Children are the future of every country. Therefore, they must be brought up with care. We can’t afford to have a nation teeming with mental patients. It is imperative that parents foster a healthy relationship with their children based on understanding and love, as love and affection in itself is therapeutic.

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