Everyone is teaching.
Authoritative voices are all over the place: instructions from family members, advice from the radio jockey on FM as you drive to work, instructions from bosses and colleagues.
If you’re a junior at work, there is much to pick up, my boy. And if you are the youngest in the family, abhi bahut kuch sheekhna hai (There is a lot you still need to learn).
As kids we faced our own share of constant teaching from our parents, teachers and others. In fact, we were expected to listen and learn from everyone who was older—the uncles, the aunts, the older brothers and sisters; even the distant aunt of your distant cousin. There was no dearth of teaching. We surely learnt a lot, but often we would want to sneak away from the teaching and take a break.
Then we became parents. Now it was our turn to teach. Suddenly we realised that teaching our kids was important, very important.
I remember one incident: I was lying down, exhausted—just wanting to relax. And the telephone rang. My three-year-old son quickly picked up the phone, looked at me with a sense of achievement, and said, ‘It’s for you dad.’
Everything within me didn’t want to get up from that position of comfort. I didn’t want to speak. I casually said to my son, ‘Tell him daddy’s not there.’
My son looked perplexed. But daddy’s right here, he must have thought. I quickly realized my error and rectified it. (It is good to humble ourselves before our kids when we get it wrong)
I learnt a very important lesson: more is caught than taught. Your kids are watching. Everyone is watching.
We can teach our kids not to lie, but it’s the way we live our lives that they pick up on and learn from. If our teachings don’t match the way we live, they will be extremely confused.
Friends, we do have a responsibility to teach right, but a greater responsibility to live right.