Teach kids to think, not to follow

At my age I should be on the side of the parents of 24 year olds – but funnily I am finding it difficult in many cases.

This is perhaps because many parents are like Hiranyakashipu (please read Dasavatharam). Hiranyakashipu was a demon who had so much ego that he wanted to be God. People started worshiping him out of fear, not out of love.

However, his son Prahalad refused to and Lord Vishnu came in the form of Narasimha and put an end to H.

Many parents are similarly caught in a time wrap of solutions that may not work 20-30-40 years from now. It could be a dogma -‘equities are risky’, ‘buy a house with a lot of borrowing’, ‘get a job in a psu bank’ – I am not saying any of this advice is bad. However let the kids THINK and learn, not learn by rote. Kids who argue and do not listen to their parents MAY NOT BE BAD kids.

Stop parrotting and stop TELLING THE KIDS what to do. “Do not smoke” is good advice – explaining the bad effects of cancer is far, far better. Girls need to know the dangers of pregnancy. Both genders need to know about the bad effects of unsafe sex….so on and so forth. Here is a story…

Eight monkeys are put in a room. In the middle of the room is a ladder, leading to a bunch of bananas hanging from a hook on the ceiling. Each time a monkey tries to climb the ladder; all the monkeys are sprayed with ice water, which makes them miserable.

Sooner enough, whenever a monkey attempts to climb the ladder, all of the other monkeys, not wanting to be sprayed, set upon him and beat him up. Soon, none of the eight monkeys ever attempts to climb the ladder.

One of the original monkeys is then removed, and a new monkey is put in the room. Seeing the bananas and the ladder, he wonders why none of the other monkeys are doing the obvious, but, undaunted, he immediately begins to climb the ladder. All the other monkeys fall upon him and beat him silly. He has no idea why. However, he no longer attempts to climb the ladder.

A second original monkey is removed and replaced. The newcomer again attempts to climb the ladder, but all the other monkeys hammer the crap out of him. This includes the previous new monkey, who, grateful that he’s not on the receiving end this time, participates in the beating because all the other monkeys are doing it. However, he has no idea why he’s attacking the new monkey.

One by one, all the original monkeys are replaced.

Eight new monkeys are now in the room. None of them have ever been sprayed by ice water.

None of them attempt to climb the ladder. All of them will enthusiastically beat up any new monkey who tries, without having any idea why.

Many times we do not ask – why we do what we do!

If we have wasted time without asking why we are doing things, let us teach our kids to ask…it is the best thing we can gift our kids.

Here is a good quote – no clue who has said it:

My father thought the world would be same;

My children, however, wake up EVERY day thinking the world will be different.

Let’s begin emulating our children. Time to wake up and make the world different.

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6 Responses to “Teach kids to think, not to follow”

  1. “Kids who argue and do not listen to their parents MAY NOT BE BAD kids”. True words – experienced in real life.

  2. Hi Subra,

    I encourage my kids on valid arguments so that they can learn. Handholding is required upto certain age.

    Regards

    Atul

  3. Amazed at parents who can teach 30 year old strategies to their kids:

    – get a government job, you cannot be sacked
    – invest in LIC – you will get good returns
    – keep money in bank deposits, it is safe
    – buy a house as soon as possible, real estate prices cannot go down
    – do an MBA it is the surest way to success in life

    —list is endless Subra!!

  4. Tweets that mention Teach kids to think, not to follow -- Topsy.com on February 25th, 2011 at 9:48 am

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  5. Subra

    Liked the story theme to hammer the point. Absolutely agree, times have changed and as parents need to change our thinking .

  6. Beautiful story…..

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