While speaking all this the queen had her eyes closed as if she has reached in a deep meditative state. Her face was gleaming with wisdom, courage and compassion. The setting sun on the other side of the horizon was adding a mystic glow to her face. The audience sitting there was totally mesmerised including the king Harshvardhan himself. He had never seen Sulochana in such a state before. Now he came to know that the regular study of the queen which he could himself not do so regularly because of his engagement with the public tasks of running the whole kingdom. He admired Sulochana in his heart for the high life state she had achieved by dedicating most of her valuable time constructively in the Buddhist study while he was away. The powerful vibes in the environment were felt by one and all.
The round of questions started again as the wise answers of the queen were very gratifying for the people as if they had found a doctor who had remedies for all their ailments. A young woman posed her question. She said, “Rani Sahiba! I would like to share my plight with you. I have three children two sons and one daughter. They are the cause of my biggest worry. I have tried to inculcate best of values in my children but I do not know where did I go wrong with my parenting. My eldest son is addicted to smoking weed. He doesn’t listen to me, instead, he keeps asking me for money all the time. My younger son doesn’t study at all and seemed to be in bad company. I have caught him red-handed many times bunking the school and gambling with his friends. My daughter who is still an adolescent had fallen in love with a boy of a different community and was trying to abscond with him at night three days back though I caught her red-handed and she could not succeed. I could have kept silent or ask these questions to you personally but I think most of the parents of our society must have been facing these parenting issues with their children which I am facing. We have such a good guide in front of us in your form who isn’t orthodox who is bold and is satiating the questions of all of us so convincingly so I feel the solution suggested by you today could serve the purpose of many others like me.”
Sulochana smiled and she could clearly notice a positive shift in the mentality of the people of this village just by this small dialogue. She had since always believed that people should open up for healthy conversations on issues which are considered to be taboos otherwise and also be more willing to share and express their failures and accept them with grace. The inability of the common man to do so and containing his emotions to himself due to social fear or aloofness leads to social problems such as depression and increasing suicidal tendencies in the adolescents these days. This leads them to fall into bad company to find solace in illegitimate activities spoiling their own life and also of the others dependent on them.
All such problems arise due to the lack of inner strength which seems to be the major cause. One could clearly see that the youth of today has become vulnerable to all such issues as it has become easier for them to be affected by such issues deeply and still not being able to know the ways to escape it due to lack of guidance. Sometimes the parents aren’t qualified enough to guide them to show them or help them finding their raison d’être, their true purpose of life. In such times, if they are steered towards right way of life and enhanced inner strength which is very much possible with the regular chanting of the Lotus Sutra and other writings of the mentor, everything could be changed for better without much difficulty.
She herself had been very pragmatic in her approach in dealing with her own growing children in order to help them overcome the juvenile problems which they may be posed to due to changing times and this was one of the reasons that she was able to inculcate good family values and respect for people around them despite being surrounded by all sorts of luxury and opulence around them. She found her three children very docile and honest when she looked at them impartially.
The audience were fast shedding their inhibitions and had started participating openly. They say inhibition is the first obstacle in the path of knowledge and the refusal to gain knowledge despite knowing the source leads to a bigger sin called ignorance. Where there is ignorance, saplings of prosperity can never flourish. For the residents of this village today was a new dawn. On one side we could see the sun setting, on the other a new sun has risen, the sun of wisdom, courage and compassion.
The question posed by the lady was actually the voice of the masses to which all the parents could relate and possible could have wanted to ask but were too inhibited to ask. So everybody lent his ears to what the queen was about to say. The queen replied, “Life is a cycle, what goes comes around. Had the same day come few decades back, the one who posed the question would have been our parents and their matter of concerns would have been us. Dealing with youth is not an easy task. I accept it as I also have three children. This difference in mentality of children and the parents, called the generation gap, has since always been there. The challenge is to recognise it, accept it and then find the solution. Firstly, we all have to understand that it cannot be mitigated in a single day. It begins with connecting with them on mental level and then with small efforts from the parents side to encourage and motivate him, identifying his misconduct makes the child aware of its possible consequences and all this begins with a constructive dialogue between the parents and children. You have to be very cautious of the content of the dialogue. As a parent, only you can take the guarantee of the language and mannerism used to ignite the constructive perspective of the child and it definitely has some dos and donts.
Firstly, The dialogue should be one to one.
Secondly, The choice of words should be very selective. Try to avoid negative words which hamper their confidence and trust in you to talk further. Instead, use such motivational words which fortifies their inner strength and they can talk to you more openly without being intimidated. You have to encourage them to participate by being a good listener to their point of view rather than imposing your perspective on them forcefully.
Give them a chance to speak and put their opinion. One side dialogue is not a decision. it’s on order and the child’s innocent and unbiased mind is not ready to take orders without reasoning. We must accept that they have a reasoning ability better than ours. A child’s thinking is only made up of logic without experience but the thinking of elders is based more on experience. Time has always taught us that experience outweighs the logic but experience only comes with age. Here I would like to emphasise neither logic nor the experience alone can win the race.
There has to be a proper equilibrium between the two. Having this preconceived notion that as a parent we are always right and overriding your children’s choices may lead to a disastrous relationship between the two. So during such a dialogue always listen to your children first and don’t suppress their voice and opinion. Then tell them your perspective. A discussion should never convert into an argument. You have to adapt yourself to their aggressive style of expressing their opinion.
………..To be continued…….