118 years of Trust THE TRIBUNE

Sunday, October 18, 1998
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Hazards of parental pampering

By I.M. Soni

A 14-year-old boy was picked by the police while sauntering in the streets late at night. He stated on questioning, that his parents stayed out late at parties, leaving him alone in the house. He confessed to having pilfered money and escaped for late cinema shows — as he had done on that very occasion.

Neglected children lose respect for elders and ethics. Once convinced they are unwanted, they all fail to develop responses for good behaviour. They brood over their emotional deprivations. A minor slight or neglect drives them to indiscipline.

Outwardly calm or shy, they conceal beneath their docility, an appetite for violence. Most crimes committed by submissive-looking youth are to be traced to this cause.

They are brought up in an atmosphere of friction, hostility and mutual disrespect. They develop impulses for destruction, violence and hatred. They look upon men as brutish and make up their mind to have it out on them or society.

Parental dissensions expose them to the worst of neglect. They witness the mortifying sight of one parent going at the other and suffer privations like going without food and love.

Doting parents on the other hand, shun correction, punishment and discipline on the fallacious assumption that self-expression is always natural and right.

The are often apathetic to what their children do, think or utter. They impose no restrictions on their comings and goings, nor do they take any interest in the type of company in which the young move about.

Such children grow into insufferable egotists. They become wilful, tell lies, feign illness and fly into tempers, knowing that their tantrums would compel immediate attention and compliance.

Their ego, unused to discipline, demands pampering. It craves not for what it needs but for what it desires.

They steal not because of necessity but to appease the sick ego. It is not the ‘thing’ but the ‘act’ that thrills them.

St. Augustine, a delinquent in his youth, says: "What I wanted to enjoy was not the thing I stole but the actual sin of theft."

One major cause of delinquency is an inadequate home, a home where indulgence, neglect and a faulty conception of the child’s needs and the parents’ role result in bad behaviour.

Sadly, parents desire their children to be mere extensions of themselves. Thus excessive stress is laid upon certain codes of behaviour which the parents themselves consider right.

Children are caught in a conflict between their basic impulses, seeking expression and the rigid codes imposed upon them.Unable to measure up to the high and idealistic (but unrealistic) standards set by the parents, they either develop an inferiority complex or wilfully flout the codes to assert their individuality and independence.

It is, therefore, dangerous to carry the socialisation process to extremes — as it also is to leave it to sheer chance.

Love for the traditional rewards of society, irrespective of the child’s inclination and ability, results in bad behaviour.

The child has barely started carrying a satchel when the die is cast. "My son is going to be a doctor," declares the fond father, with the air of a prophet.

Little does he observe the boy’s aversion for science. His persistence leads to truancy and a dissipation of talent and energy. One more talent sinks in the sea of stark failure.

I know of a fine boy who was forced to take up medical in college. His protests went unheeded. The consequence — four failures and a flight from home. He is now working as a wireman in an electricity department.

Parents’ desires have their own place but the consideration must be shown to inclinations and the natural bent of mind of the young.

Left to amuse themselves they fall an easy prey to pleasures of the world. It is not uncommon to see large numbers indulging in acts like raiding orchards, defiling gardens, cutting fences, knocking at doors to harass the inmates and giving obscure telephone calls. They derive an impish delight out of these acts.

Recreational activities in which the family participates and share other’s joys and interests are of more value than passive participation in things like going to the movies. Or giving fat sums of pocket money.

The young look upon parents as symbols of authority. Every minute, consciously or unconsciously, they are moulding themselves in their image. A great responsibility, therefore, rests upon them to be models of perfect behaviour.

An ideal home, the cradle of an ideal personality, shelters infancy and trains the young to fit into the behaviour patterns of society. It imparts training in the art of living, weans them from dependence, so that they learn to struggle and serve amidst rougher conditions of life.

Trust is necessary but distrust is disastrous.

"Parents wonder why the streams are bitter, when they themselves have poisoned the fountain," says Locke.Back

The Queen of the battle loses charm

By Pritam Bhullar

THE Infantry Day falls on October 27. Because of its importance in battle, Infantry, the biggest arm in all armies of the world, is also called "Queen of the battle". It was on October 27, 1947, that one infantry battalion (1 Sikh) was flown from Gurgaon to Srinagar to prevent the bands of raiders, supported by Pakistani troops, from capturing the Srinagar airfield. This day has come to be celebrated as the Infantry Day for the past few years.

That the infantry has the final say in battle cannot be denied even today, despite the fact that modern warfare has become a hi-tech affair. This was proved not only in both the World Wars but also in the Gulf War of 1991. Notwithstanding, the destruction caused by the multinational air force in this war, it was the ground battle that concluded the war. It was the infantry that bore the brunt of the battle. No wonder then as compared to the other fighting arms, the infantry suffers the highest number of casualties in battle.

Time was when a majority of the good cadets at the IMA, Dehra Dun, opted for the infantry and several of them who could not get this arm, were really disappointed. Today, "the Queen" having lost its charm, does not attract young cadets. Nowadays our youth prefers to opt for the softer services like the ASC and the Ordnance.

Why is the Army tight-lipped?

"The Army is slowly opening up to the media and adjusting to the new environment". This is what the Chief of the Army staff, General V.P. Malik, says. General Malik can be rightly called the architect of the Army-media interaction. For, he was the first one to hold a seminar "Mass media and the armed forces" at Jalandhar in January, 1994, when he was a Corps Commander there.

No doubt, in the last few years clear instructions have been issued from the Army Headquarters specifying the level and the subjects on which the officers can interact with the media. But most of the Generals are still reluctant to speak to the Press. The reason is that these instructions are over-ridden by the Government rules and regulations of the Raj days which have not changed so far.

The archaic Army Rule 21 prohibits all persons subject to the Army Act from communicating directly or indirectly to the Press even on service subjects without the prior sanction of the Central Government or any officer specified by the Central Government on its behalf. The Army Rule 21 must be suitably amended if we want the Generals to interact with the media. At present, they have a lurking fear in their minds that they might be caught in a cleft stick like a former Army Chief, General S.F. Rodrigues.

The marathon India Run

IT was a Greek soldier who created a record in long distance running of 42 km from Marathon to Athens in the 490 BC. Thus was the name Marathon given to the long-distance race in the Olympics. An infantry battalion —16 Jat — has undertaken to create a new record of several marathons of 1426 km, one after the other from the Jammu region to New Delhi in 31 days. The event is named as India Run.

Jats are known to be long distance runners and their horse-like stamina is ascribed to the high consumption of milk and milk products such as curd and ghee. No wonder then, the oldest Jat battalion, i.e. I Jat (Light Infantry), now redesignated as 2nd Mechanised Infantry, which was honoured with the title of Royal Jats by the British, carried out the longest march in the history of the British Indian Army.

The India Run team comprising one officer (Lt Sumet Rawat), one JCO and 16 men from the ranks set off from its location on September 16.

After traversing through Jammu and Kashmir, Punjab, Haryana, Rajasthan and Delhi, the team will terminate its run at India Gate, New Delhi on the Infantry Day — October 27-- and will be received there by the Director- General, Infantry, Lieut- Gen Shankar Prasad.

India Run was flagged off for its next leg from Chandimandir for Ambala by the GOC-in-C, Western Command, Lieut-Gen H.B. Kala, on September 27.

The female touch

"SERVICE with a smile" is the motto of the Military Nursing Service (MNS) which was raised as the Indian Military Nursing Service (IMNS) on October 1, 1927. The MNS celebrated its anniversary the other day by recalling the devotion and dedication to this service by Florence Nightingale, "the lady with the lamp".

The MNS has undergone many changes in its structure over the years. But it has continued to remain short of nursing officers because of the service not being very attractive.

At present, the intake into the MNS is through the Armed Forces Medical College (AFMC) Pune, which runs a B.Sc. (Nursing) course for them. Those candidates who have passed the 10+2 examination (with science) and are between 17 and 24 years of age, can apply for this course. On the successful completion of their training, the first 60 out of the total of 100 students are granted a permanent commission. The remaining 40 are granted short service commission for five years, which can be extended by another five years.

A diploma course for three years is also run at the Army Hospital, Delhi and at a few command hospitals. But it is likely to be discontinued after the year 2000.

Military hospitals are well known for the cleanliness of their wards. The credit for this, to a large extent, goes to the nursing officers who give them the much-needed feminine touch.

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