By Vijay Phanshikar :
THE conversation was plainly acerbic, even insulting, to both parties, but more to the elder between them. Certain terseness in such conversation may not be ruled out altogether. For, when an elder, or a parent, asks a youngster to conduct himself or herself properly, certain terseness cannot be avoided. That happened that evening when a father asked his son to return home immediately as it was already 8.30 pm. But the son’s reply was absolutely shocking, to say the least. He said, “I am a grown up person and you cannot dictate like this to me. I am with my friends, and will return only when we all call it a day.
You don’t worry about me. I have had my snacks and will not eat dinner at home. You need not wait for me for dinner. And mind you, stop instructing me like this.” A couple of days after those many sleepless nights, the father approached me requesting for help. “Please counsel my son. You keep writing about such issues all the time. You may be knowing a way to help such arrogant youngsters to change their bad manners into good ones. And then with teary eyes, he narrated to me the whole conversation.
The father’s pain was obvious, and evoked certain sympathy. He did not mind a straight talk with his son who was now looking for a good career opening for himself. But he could not cope with the insult the son habitually handed down to his parents. “This is a routine affair. We don’t know how to respond to his arrogance”, the father lamented. This is, of course, a major issue in our society today -- of the arrogance of the youngsters. All of us are witness to such scenes in our own homes or elsewhere. We often hear youngsters talking with their elders and parents most insultingly, unmindful of the hurt they caused to their sense of self-worth. I have seen many, many parents becoming victims of anxiety on that count.
There is something dichotomous about this behaviour, in the sense these youngsters behave very well with others, or elders in their friends’ homes, appearing as if they are the epitomes of virtue and goodness. And back home, they get back to their arrogant ways. Psychologists and behavioural scientists may have some scientific explanation to such a behaviour.
Those explanations may offer us keys to handling such conduct among our youngsters. Perhaps, we may try those methods and get past the problem. On a practical plane, however, such an advice may not be within the reach of every family. The only way, thus, appears to be making an appeal to young minds to show a mirror to themselves and to assess how right -- or wrong -- they are in their behaviour at home, with the family-elders, and whether they would justify such a behaviour if they get treated insultingly. Of course, we may have to agree that many elders, too, could be behaving with their youngsters in an arrogant manner.
To such elders, too, we will have to offer a similar option -- do you appreciate such behaviour by anyone and also by themselves?! Actually, as most of us often see, we behave most disagreeingly with our own people. We insult them, we neglect them, we ignore them, we push them aside ...! This is where our personal cultures count. It is up to us to decide where we wish to belong to a fine, suave, polished culture where politeness and accommodation are basic virtues! Or, we wish to keep being arrogant, and unmindful of our own people’s emotions and sense of dignity! This choice makes all the difference.