Posts Tagged ‘contentment’

Instant Access

Recently we were at a birthday party. When it was time to cut the cake, all the little children gathered around the table and started gazing at the cake longingly. The hosts started calling everybody around the table as well to ensure that all the family members and guests were present at the special moment. Since the gathering was somewhat large, it took a few minutes to get everybody ready. The children started getting impatient. Meanwhile, the hosts – being family-oriented and respectful to all – waited until all the members, both young and elderly, were there.

This seemed to be ‘getting on the nerves’ of the children. One of them could hold it no longer. Unable to control her tears, she started wailing out loud. All attention went towards her. As she wept and screamed, her parents rushed to her. They asked what was wrong.

Amidst her wails, she said, “I want the cake”.

They said, “Well, wait for just a few minutes, child! We are almost there.”

“No”, she cried, stomping her feet. “I want it right now!”

It was an uncomfortable situation to watch for everyone present. The little girl’s parents, not being able to pacify her by any means possible, requested the hosts, “Since she is the youngest one here, is it possible she could have a little piece of her own right now, since the ceremony seems to be taking long?”

Such stubbornness is a sign that patience has not been taught in the family. It was quite shocking — the unbecoming demand coming not only from the child, but being supported by the parents as well. It  showed there was not enough effort on part of the parents to teach their child any values of understanding, tolerance or endurance. What would such a child’s life be like later on? Would he be able to accept ‘no’ for an answer at an interview? Would he be able to cope with low marks? Would he be able to adjust in a relationship? Would he be able to endure pain or strife of any kind? Would he do anything for others ever?

It seems like the answer to all of the above questions would be in the negative. Such children are being prepared to lead a dissatisfied, miserable life. Such a child would live a life only for himself. He would not consider others in the decisions he takes. His focus would be on ‘receiving’ rather than on ‘giving’.

                Parents’ rationale is that “We want to give our children all possible comfort”. They work very hard and sometimes live a tough life in order to make it easier for their children. They often say, “We did not have any such conveniences that are existent today.” Sometimes, their own parents were not able to afford those conveniences. But now with a lot of emphasis on ‘work-culture’, money does not seem to be such a problem. Result? A life of ‘instant access’ for their children! Whatever children demand is provided to them as soon as possible. In some cases, the ‘supply’ is even faster than the ‘demand’. Children do not have to wait for anything.

                It is important to teach children how to live with austerity. We need to pass on the message to them that it is nice to be important, but it is more important to be nice. They need to hear some stories of sacrifices and what those sacrifices mean to the world. When children have heard examples of people who lived their lives for others and did not think of their own comfort at all, it will help them have patience and endurance.

It is also essential that they see parents leading a life of austerity and contentment. Children need to see us go without some comforts too. It needs to become a family value that is practised – not just talked about. We should model pride in satisfaction. If there are some unwarranted demands from children, we need to explain the reasoning as to why it is unwarranted and unreasonable. However, mere talking does not work. Instead, we have to demonstrate through our daily living that desires have to be controlled as they have no end. For that, we ourselves need to lead a life of discipline. Only then do we understand and appreciate the true value of discipline. And only then do we become eligible to teach it to our children.

                Sometimes, our approach is, ‘It is a noble value, but not for my family!’ This takes us and our children far away from a good life.  On the other hand it should begin with us becoming better human beings — understanding the value of discipline and modeling it. Our children need to live in an environment of gratitude and contentment. When we show we are not being treated well or we do not have enough, then our children will become the same discontented lot. Our efforts might not transform our children completely into disciplined, well-mannered and content people, but whatever little our children imbibe will make their life a lot better.

~ Nivedita Shori


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Being Successful

Children are taught that their goal in life is to become successful so that they can lead a happy and comfortable life. They are told that success means becoming a renowned professional, having a flourishing business or chains of businesses, earning lots of money, living a life of luxury and having a lot of people working for them. When they are little, their well-wishers wish for them to be this type of a well to-do, successful person later in life.

We have come across quite a few people who can be deemed ‘successful’ by the above standards. They seem to be having all that a person needs to live a luxurious and comfortable life. They have houses that are like mansions; they run high-profile industries or work at high-levels in organizations of repute; they have every possible convenience available to them; they take vacations whenever they feel like and to wherever they want. They appear to live a picture-perfect life. Truly successful! Happy and comfortable! Aren’t they? They seem so and much more. Well, actually, quite the contrary!

Often, we envy such people because we think they live a very successful life. Little do we realize that such people often make compromises to ‘look’ good. Outwardly, their lifestyle definitely looks appealing, but inwardly, the case is somewhat different. For want of time due to busy schedules, their families hardly share any feelings of bonding. Their houses are so huge that they end up being either only party-places or a vacant hollow where family members just have a spot somewhere within the walls.

They are all busy because they have to manage a lot of things all the time and therefore have no time for each other, nor for themselves to relax or pursue their inner passions. They wish to leave a good impression upon the people around them and for that, they have to be very conscious of every step they take, each move they make. It adds to the stress they are already in. As a result, they frequently spend sleepless nights thinking about how to avoid every single financial mistake as it could cost them a fortune. The outcome of all this tension is the wealth they earn, which now has to be protected and spent with care, so that it is not squandered away. Amidst all this, it must be awfully hard to feel comfortable and remain happy.

Happiness is not about sharing a joke on the phone or with a few guests. Happiness is when one feels light throughout the day and is finally able to sleep with a smile on one’s face, without any worries about ‘yesterday, today and tomorrow’. Happiness is when one has the time to have whole-hearted interactions with friends and family members. Wearing a mask of happiness while talking to business partners or colleagues is not happiness – it is just a part of one’s routine, an obligation in most cases! Happiness is also when one is able to enjoy the little things in life without having to worry about what others will think.

Being happy is a sign of being successful. Real success lies in being able to create a carefree life full of joy and satisfaction. When you feel enthusiastic about going to work, when you enjoy coming back home to your children or to your parents, when you feel like you have all the things that a person ‘needs’, regardless of what one ‘wants’, and when you go to bed feeling proud of everything that you have done during the day and finally feeling grateful to God for what has come to you – that is when you are truly successful.

We see the gleaming black windows in the mansions of the so-called successful people, but do not see the weariness and anxiety behind them; we see their sparkling cars, but miss the stress on the minds of people sitting inside it; we see their designer-wear clothes but fail to see the restless days and sleepless nights they spend in those clothes. Do you think these famous people are really successful?

Truly successful people are not necessarily famous in the eyes of the world. They are just happy. They are winners in their own eyes. They live according to themselves, not according to others. They are not blind followers of others’ definition of success. They dream of happiness and do things that make them happy. That is what being successful is all about.

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