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The heroes of our children.

The teacher sent a note to parents: "A good and bright student but spends a lot of time with girls." A mother wrote back: "Please suggest solutions, father has the same problem."

Once a mother came along with his son and complained to Mahatma Gandhi that he ate a lot of sugar and sought his advise.

Gandhi asked the mother to come next week. When she arrived, he advised the son that too much sugar is not good and that he must stop eating it.

The mother asked: "Why didn't you tell him this last week?"

Gandhi replied: "At that time I too used to eat a lot of sugar."

Friends, it is important to practise before you preach.

We don't want our children to watch TV, we don't want them to waste time, we don't want them to be naughty, we don't want them to always play, and we don't want them to spend time on the Internet chatting. We wonder what, why and to whom our children talk so much over the mobile phone.

But these are the things many parents do. In many cases, they are not the best example. Many drink and smoke in the presence of children, fight among themselves, gossip about neighbours, ill-treat the housemaid. Many spend a lot of time watching TV, surfing the Internet and chatting. Do you think our children are not watching?

The irony is that parents do these things and expect their children to be saints. In fact, children learn a lot from their parents and subconsciously think that it is OK to do it if their parents do. In fact, the roots of many good characteristics and bad habits of children can be found in their parents.

Today's children are more intelligent and sharp. They are smarter than we were. They operate computers, mobile and complicated gadgets we had not even heard of during our childhood.

Hence, it is important to lead them by example and not just by giving a daily dose of advice and lectures. They will not listen if they are not convinced and it is easier to convince through your own practices.

It is important to spend more time with children. It is good to glance through the child's diary or school calendar to know what is happening in the school. It is important to know your child's friends. Many of us cannot name two friends of our children. We need to speak to them. It is far more important to listen patiently. Remember, if we don't have time for our children today, they will not have time for us tomorrow. They will soon be busy with their friends and work.

Both parents are equally responsible for their children. The best time to develop a strong bond is while they are growing up. This is the time to love and understand them.

Abraham Lincoln's letter to his son's teacher can be a great reference point.

"Teach him it is far more honourable to fail than to cheat"

"Teach him to learn to lose and also to enjoy winning"

"Teach him gently; but do not cuddle him, because only a test of fire makes fine steel"

"The best gift a father can give his children is to love their mother".

Let our children learn the first lessons of love, care, understanding and affection from us before they learn it from the boy down the street.

It is true that a family that prays together stays together. It is important that we do things together as a family. Let's read together. Have at least one meal a day together, shop and watch TV together.

I know we fight for the TV remote as we have our preferences for channels, but that's fun too! Let's for God's sake have only one TV at home as it can bring the family members closer. Let's involve our children in our decisions and discussions. Let they know how much we care. Let's go to the church, temple and mosque together. Let's look at our children every morning, hug them, see them growing and we will realise that they are the single best gift of God.

I remember a father who would narrate a story to his daughter every evening. He would repeat it every day and the child would listen to it again and again with great interest.

My dear friends, do you think the child was interested in the story alone? No, it was not the story, but the warmth and care of her father. Friends, I am sure we all have sometimes deprived our children and family of that love, warmth and care.

We can't be Thomas Edison, Elbert Einstein or Steve Jobs. But giving good children to society is our gift to the world! And yes, we can change this world if we as parents do our bit.

Today, let's make a U-turn. No matter what the age of our children, this is the time, let's return to our families, to our wives, to our children, to our parents and to our neighbours and friends! Let's be the heroes of our children!

l Dr George is head of the department of business at the Royal University for Women (

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Publication:Gulf Daily News (Manama, Bahrain)
Date:Jan 4, 2012
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