Pranjal and Simran were all set for the day. It had taken some efforts, no doubt, but they had got what they had been wanting for quite some time. They had succeeded in organising an event at ‘The Dome,’ where a two-day National meet on Mind Space was being held. Renowned psychologists, psychiatrists, educationists from all over had come to participate. Parents of school children, from all over the city, had been invited to attend a talk given by the world famous, respected and loved Dr. Judy Fernandes, on a very relevant topic, ‘The Child and its Eco-System.’ The massive auditorium was already packed. Pranjal and Simran worked in the field of education and, seeing the confusion of thoughts on parenting among parents, they had arranged for this talk.

Dr. Judy, a petite and charming lady, entered the stage amidst huge applause. With a beautiful smile, she greeted everyone warmly. Her pleasant voice filled the auditorium.

“A very good morning dear friends and I am indeed delighted to see so many of you come here to hear me. Today’s topic is extremely close to my heart, and I can’t wait to share my views with you.” Pranjal and Simran too got drawn in by Dr. Judy too.

She was saying, “Man has always been a social animal. Throughout its evolution, the strongest and persistent trait expressed has been the want to be together. The Universe itself is a Cosmos where each being is connected to each other. To accept this as well as live this, leads to the most favourable state of equilibrium in life. To deny this connection, leads to imbalance. Understanding this connection brings in acceptance for others, and this practice is termed as social skills. Dear Parents, when we are talking of Globalisation in every field, do we realise that many of us are doing so at the cost of our own social eco-systems? A surrounding that breeds pleasantness, love, security and trust is the one that every child is entitled to, but sadly, many are denied this. A child growing in a surrounding where he finds love all around, will love to interact lovingly and happily. An uncertain fearful surrounding will inculcate fear, distrust and loneliness in the child, which can never allow him to be happy inspite of his various achievements in life. The feeling of being connected, the feeling of belonging, are probably the most satisfying feelings in human nature. By keeping our children away in the name of protection, generally is misunderstood by the small mind of the child and he/she becomes unsure and edgy by nature. This then leads to failing to make friends, fear of rejection, judging people negatively, and ends up with a feeling of being disconnected and lonely. Their self-confidence cannot blossom to its full potential.They have problems in talking, sharing, and in relationships. Parents, a happy child can only develop a healthy, thinking mind of his/her own and that is the most essential requirement, isn’t it?”

Dr. Judy looked around. Every word that she spoke was impregnated with conviction. She could see all serious faces looking back at her. She gave a disarming smile and carried on, “Parents, the need that I propose is no doubt serious, but that does not warrant such serious expressions. Social skills are skills that help us interact easily and more importantly naturally, in our surroundings. We should feel positive about each other, instead of looking for a criminal and evil person in everyone around. If we keep the windows shut for fear of dust, that would cut off the flow of fresh air too. It is prudent to teach our children the significance of fresh air, and at the same time make them keep the dust away, by proper cleaning. We should be like the tall Sequoia trees that have their roots entwined with each other, all through the forest, and this enables them to brave the strongest of storms and keep standing tall. We need to teach our children the skill to connect, share, hold each other, and move on together. This would make them adept at maintaining a healthy social life, and we will have uninhibited children who will be more receptive to learning how to deal with challenges in life. We are all a part of a society, and we should show our children this through our interactions and make them active participants too. The educationists around the world are rating the social skills significantly higher than all other skills, for a complete development of a child. Today’s children are privileged to have such achievers for their parents, who are capable enough to offer the world to them. Let us realise the significance and need of social skills that are the pre-requisites to a happy life.”

There was pindrop silence and then, a deafening applause filled the auditorium. Pranjal and Simran were beaming with joy at the success of their event but actually they were overjoyed that the talk had given them - two young mothers of toddlers - a great clarity in thoughts on the need to maintain a balance between giving the child adequate security, along with the freedom to learn to take care of themselves in their own eco-system.



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