Sunday, September 16, 2007

Three core challenges of developing a child

The first challenge is that development cannot be ordered, it can only be enabled. You can 'order' your kid to be neat and tidy, but you cannot 'make it happen'. The only way you can make that happen is by 'enabling' it. Many parents forget this basic axiom of development in their kind hearted urgency of wanting their children to be the best. They keep on 'ordering' so many things that their 'orders' lose the sting. Children become experts in hearing it without doing anything.

But the second challenge is even more stiffer. Only a parent can understand what the child will need in the future, because they have a better idea of what a kid will go through and encounter. They have travelled the same path. For instance, a parent knows that not being able to share toys with friends will breed selfishness, or the habit of playing too much can distract children from studying. Many parents miss this challenge because they ignore the context of the child's situation. They forget children can negotiate the blocks when they cross the bridge, and that they were as 'selfish' as their children when they were young.

But the difficult challenge is the third one. Parents may know that sitting infront of a TV can retard the development of 'interaction skill', or the child's habit of 'stress management' is making him perform poorly in exams. Understanding what the child needs is however one half the job; the difficult part is to 'enable' the child see it and alter the behaviour accordingly. A child can neither understand what he needs in the future nor can appreciate the 'logic' of why he or she needs. How does a parent 'enable' the kid to change the behaviour in such a situation - is the toughest challenge. It is the challenge of living in the present, but preparing for the future.

We shall see how parents negotiate these three challenges of development in the ensuing days. Surprisingly, these same three challenges are also faced by a manager while developing his/her employees.Therefore, if you learn how to negotiate these three challenges, you will also benefit in your job.

1 comment:

Hiren said...

Very Very true. This is an extract from my published article on Inter-personal conflict:-

There’s a narrative of a father, who tried to get his son to wash his hands before eating, without much success. He took his son to his doctor friend, who educated him on what germs were, showed them under a microscope and further showed a video film on what could happen to the body if it got infected with those germs. After being oriented like this, the child started washing his hands on his own. Though it is said that wise men learn from the mistakes of others and fools from their own, very often man ends up being a fool because learning is not imparted that way. Whether in personal or professional life, if experiential learning is imparted like this, the chances of reducing conflict are much greater.