At a recent interactive session, which I attended, several parents were invited to answer a basic generic question. Given a chance, with which person would you like to have dinner? Every couple answered hesitantly or assertively their choice. It ranged from sport celebrities to flamboyant actors, rich and famous entrepreneurs to notable leaders. Nelson Mandela figured on the list along with megastar Amitabh Bachchan, even Marilyn Monroe’s name cropped up.

The twist in the tale came when their kids were invited and the organizers asked them the same question. Given a chance, with which person would you like to have dinner? Much to the amusement of their parents, the youngsters all agreed on one generic fact.

“I want to spend dinner with my mom and dad”

“Do I have to dine with a celebrity, why not family?”

“All of us have fun at dinner time, so it’s family first”

Notwithstanding the fact that the young kids were spot on with their logical choice, the question that goes out to the parents is, “Where has all the love gone”. Have you been so caught up in the commercial rat race that you forgotten the interrelationship with your near and dear ones. Does eating out with a celebrity, matter to you more than building an emotional bonding with your kids. Instead, start restoring hope in building family ties, transforming your kids’ lives.

While conducting workshops for the youth, I generally hand them small slips with varied subjects to talk on in an impromptu way. On this particular session, the presentations were based on emotions.

Towards the end of the session, the last slip bore the word ‘Love’. Looking at his topic, this 19-year old youth cleared his throat saying. “Sir, I need to take a sip of water.” He walked across the end of the room, drank a mouthful of water and returned to the speaking area. What he said next shocked everyone in the room. “Love is a two way thing. The only person on this planet who loves me is my grandfather.”

Saying this, he shuddered and broke down emotionally. I walked across the room and hugged him in a cathartic way for a few seconds saying soothingly, “You may sit down, if you do not wish to continue.” He did that precisely and made his way back to his seat.

Post session, I asked the other youngsters for their take on the emotional scenario. To my utter amazement, everyone felt that the tears were a sign of strength as opposed to the general thought process of them being a sign of weakness.

Much later, the analytical conclusion reflected that each of those participants was going through similar pangs of depression, feeling of being unloved and sadly orphaned.

Where Has All The Love Gone?

Let’s face it, more often than not, both modern day parents need to be gainfully employed to cope up with the ballooning inflation and pay the bills. However, that’s a lousy excuse, to ignore basic parenting that involves a fine balancing act to guide children through their growing years, more so as teenagers.

Kids want to be teenagers, adults want to be teenagers again, and everybody wants to be a teenager, except teenagers. They are the most misunderstood lot on this planet.

Teenagers are treated like children, but expected to act like adults.

Restoring hope, building families, changing lives. There are two things we should give our children—one is roots and the other is wings.

Lancy D’Souza