Is living a double life ‘cool’?

I have no intentions of hurting anyone. I came across this incident recently. It may not seem a big thing to some, but it bothered me so much that I decided to write about it. I see people living double lives: a real life and a fake life. It is amazing how they manage to do this really well. What I fail to understand is the reason for pretending what one is not. Surprisingly, not only is this found in adults but also in children in their pre-teens and teens. One needs to differentiate between “needs” and “wants” to live a happy balanced life. Victory of a “need” over a “want” leads to unhappiness. I cannot think of a need to drift away from the real. We need to be proud and grateful of who we are. Be truthful. Whom are we trying to convince and impress?

Two high school students, Amy and Marcus are good friends. Amy’s other friends do not consider Marcus to be of their “class”, and kind of dislike him. She does not have the courage to speak for him. Her friends do not know of the friendship between the two, but his friends know it. There are group chats on the social media. The girls ridicule Marcus. Amy is an active participant. Marcus is not pleased. His friends do not support him. They are blaming him for pulling down their reputation. One of the boys even goes on to say “R.I.P. Marcus, July 12, 2016, 9.40pm”. Another one adds “Have a funeral to go to tomorrow”. The group members leave the group one after the other as they are worried about their “image”. Imagine the stress Marcus is going through. Someone tries to comfort Marcus and his reply is “only if I survive”. Just writing this gives me the shivers. These children are living double lives at this tender age. They have a long way to go in life. Which life: the real or fake? It is their decision, but are they being educated to be wise decision makers? How well are we educating them to be successful in the real world?

Jasleen Chawla

(The names, date and time have been changed to protect privacy.)

Being a Parent

family

Raising kids is not same as raising chickens. Providing them with food and shelter is not enough. Children need more than that.

They need your love and your time. Let me put it this way. Love does not translate as ‘material things’. Love is not for sale. You cannot ‘buy’ love and give it to your child. Home is the first school. The child learns as he grows. By showering a child with material love, you are pushing him away from understanding love in its true sense. I am not against buying things for children. However, I do not favor replacing love with these things.

When I mention spending time with your child, it does not mean being in the same house at the same time. You could be sitting on the same couch, yet not giving your time to the child. If your child is playing with his latest gadget, and you are busy with yours, the time is missing. The child needs to understand the real concept of time. People shall say they have no time. They are working hard for the family. I understand. But do you realize that those hard to spare few moments each day translate as ‘few years’? The next thing you realize would be the child’s absence.

If you want your child to listen to you, it has to start with you. And it has to begin early. You need to listen to your child. Try to satisfy your child’s curiosity with appropriate answers. Please avoid evasive responses.  Keep in mind that every ‘little’ thing to you is a ‘big’ thing for the child. Talk to your child about nothing and about everything. You are your child’s first contact. Build your trust and nurture this precious relationship as the years move forward.

Jasleen Chawla