Since adults often forget what they should and should not do, it is important to remind them of what a teenager thinks of an adult.
An adult is someone who is considered mature, knowledgeable and trustable by a child. But this idea changes when one grows up and especially when one hits the teenage.
As a teenager one realizes that no one is perfect. Everyone commits mistakes and unjustifiable acts . Adults often try to rationalise their actions and I view it as hypocrisy.
In fact I have come to the realisation that no decision in this world is perfect. The world is driven by selfish motives by hypocrites and if you are not worldly wise, you cannot survive in this world. You have to have double standards for the world to have you. You have to treat different persons differently according to different circumstances. By this I don’t mean to go against equality but rather I mean to go towards success. A successful person can handle situations- from easy to tough and as I had mentioned before , your circumstances define you. Your actions need to be according to circumstances , it can be hypocritical but it is a trait necessary for survival. A wise person knows what to do and when to do.
One thing I find really surprising is the idea of discrimination on the basis of age. This has been declared ‘illegal ’(as studied in various books) but still kids are considered mentally inferior to adults and are supposed to respect the latter . The only reason for this respect is age . I think that it is high time we understand that we need to tell our future not to respect people merely because they are your elders.
Respect is earned . Respect is achieved by the virtue of your actions, by the values and principles you keep and your intentions.
Yes, respect your elders who have achieved something, who are superior to you and are an inspiration to you.
For instance, if you ask your child to respect a man, you should make sure that he deserves it. Otherwise, what if the man is not of a good character and regularly beats his wife ? The kid sees him mistreating his wife . He respects the man and believes that his actions cannot be questioned. Now as a boy when he grows up, he would think that it is right to mistreat women . Why? Because since the very beginning he has seen adults do so and still be respected.
So although we should ask children to respect elders, we should also inculcate in them the habit of assessing whether a person deserves it or not.
As a parent or an adult one often tries to present him or her as the perfect human being. Now two things happen-
- You do something wrong, something deceptive. You are bound to because no one is perfect . However, the kid thinks you are right because you are ‘perfect’. This damages the way of differentiating between right and wrong . This is why many of them are dishonest; they have just grown up thinking it is right.
- You set an incredibly high standard beyond reality. Obviously the child cannot do it . As an adult he tries to be the ‘perfect’ person but to survive in this world you have to be ‘worldly wise’. He becomes gullible due to his righteous behaviour. I am not saying that being righteous is wrong.In fact we should try our best to be truthful and right . However, as an adult you find yourselves in situations when you have to have to lie and let go of your righteousness. I am not talking of big crimes but of small things like the act of flattering your boss or an excuse for being late.
Speaking of adults, I am compelled to write about a topic which I deem is necessary right now. We often tell our kids to apologize but many adults refrain from apologising to kids. Why? What harm can a single ‘sorry’ do? It is a result of one’s ego of considering those younger to him as inferior to him. There is a fine line between inferior and younger and even if someone is inferior, it is necessary to apologize.
I as a child myself am telling you that apologising will only make the child respect you for understanding your mistake and respecting the child. Also, asking for forgiveness too is necessary and is often used as a tool by those who are worldly wise. Sometimes you have to apologize like a politician has to apologize to the public so you have to learn to be forgiving as well as apologetic.
In short I want to say
- There is a difference between being inferior and younger.
- Being elder is not your certificate for respect.
- Apologize to those who are younger as well as those who are older to you.
- As an adult don’t present a perfect image of yourself
- I understand that as an adult you need to have use tactics which may not be completely righteous or selfless; teach a child this.
How do I know that all this is important? Because this is one thing I see being followed in my house but not in the families of friends. I am more confident than my friends and certainly always stay away from trouble.
At the end of the day we were born to survive . We live in a society and although we should not lose ourselves in this world, we have to learn to survive. Sometimes this requires to be ‘clever’ . Maybe one day, we will be able to create a society which is free from any social evils but today this is the way of surviving. This is what I have learnt from the adults around me. The are too righteous but then they also handle themselves in tough situations. They don’t do anything in the heat of the moment simply because it is right. They analyse and assess the situation and then take the ‘right’ step. In my understanding the previous line defines who an adult really is.
The adults have to make a child realize that it is not merely about being a perfect human but it is about being a perfect human who can survive in this imperfect world.