This I Believe

Meenal - Wellesley, Massachusetts
Entered on June 28, 2007

This I believe

I believe that everything starts and ends with a family. From the biggest event in the world to the smallest, at the crux of it is an individual. Each one of us was a child once. How we spent those first ten years of our lives, I believe dictates how we will live the rest of our lives. This is not to deny all the learning that happens every day of our lives till we die but I believe that the values that we learn as a child, pretty much affects all the decisions we make later in our lives.

As we grow, our decisions may get shaded by what we experience but I believe that if we were treated fairly as a child, it is not easy to start treating others unfairly and vice versa. If we have been a victim of anger, slight remarks or violence, our mental world – and decisions that we make as an adult – will be colored and highly influenced by those experiences.

Now this is not – by any stretch of imagination – a new revelation but my conviction is new to me. As a child and a young adult, I believed that we are the writers of our own destiny (and to a point I think we are) however, what I did not realize then was the powerful accumulation of values that we pack as children unconsciously. Love and hate, giving and taking, independence and interdependence, arrogance and humility, self respect and self entitlement, these we learn in a family.

Being a mother and experiencing first-hand the thousands of opportunities we are given as parents to shape a young mind was amazing as well as overwhelming to me. I think that being a parent changes everything you think about in the world and in the life. There were numerous occasions when my children were little when I realized my single act of generosity, curiosity or criticism went straight into their minds.

And that is why I believe that child rearing should be given the utmost respect by everyone. Happy parents with clear values can bring about the utopian society we call crave for. Okay that may be a stretch but these parents are really the backbone of any society or community and I believe that in the interest of any society or community they should be supported with the total strength that it can provide.

Growing up in India, I had seen this time and again – especially when the match making happened for the young couples. Above everything else, the highest consideration was the family background and I used to think that it was not right. But now I know that how people turned out and how they conducted their adult life had a strong correlation to where they had come from. Of course, there are always exceptions but now I believe that how we raise our children will decide not only our future but also the future of our world.