a good heart is better

My grandson will be with us in a few days. The excitement is palpable. Everyone seems tobe walking on air. The old house is being spruced up. The wood has been polished, the windows are squeaky clean and the ancient and worn out floor is almost gleaming. Everyone is busy and yet time hangs heavy, refusing to pass reminding me of Bergson's theories. The same time will fly once the little fellow lands and then hang heavy again when he leaves. But the purpose of this post is not to write a treatise on time!

Little Agastya is just 8 months old. His whole life awaits him and as any dotty granny I wish it is filled with all that is good and beautiful. Do we not always wish that for our children! And yet what we forget is that we are responsible for what lies ahead. We adults hold the coloured crayons that will fill the blank canvass. The little child will become what he sees, hears, feels and experiences. It is for us to show them the very best.

In a recent TV debate on violence and aggressive behaviour, someone said that what we failed to teach the young of today were values such as compassion and empathy. In a world ruled by possession and control, principles like fellow feeling and tolerance seemed passé and outdated. Children grew up to believe that the measure of success is in the things you had to flaunt and vaunt. Hence you smothered your child with objects of all shades and hue, the bigger the better, the dearer the better!

A good heart is better than all the heads in the world wrote Edward Bulwer-Lytton. I wonder how one teaches a child to have a good heart in our day and age. How does one teach compassion? How does one teach concern, tolerance, humanity. By example of course but examples are few and moreover the child should never feel alienated. I remember a friend who had no TV when her child was growing up. One day the child came back from school upset and crying. The reason was simple: she could not be part of the break time chat that revolved around the latest episode of the latest TV serial aired. So how do you strike the right balance in your quest to teach values to children. The TV programme suggested that compassion be taught as a subject in school. My mind went back to days where we had moral classes in school. But those days are gone too.

My little grandson is still too tiny but as he grows I would like to make him discover the true meaning of things: make him feel the caress of the wind, listen to the humming of the birds and the rustle of leaves. I would like to read to him passages of the Little Prince and make him discover the secret of the fox. As he grows I would like to teach him to celebrate difference, make his own choices and walk the road less traveled.