Before I am lynched for supporting Genocide let me clarify what brought on this epiphany.
It was a lazy Sunday morning and I was happily immersed in the Express Eye. Trying to put away the moment when I would have to relinquish the newspaper I asked:
“What do you all want for breakfast?”
The chorus snapped me out of my Sunday mood right away. Oh how I regretted my large-hearted gesture! Kicking myself mentally I began the uphill task of brokering a consensus.
Democracy is hard work.
I was brought up in, what I would describe as, a quasi-democratic home. It was democratic in the sense that we had complete freedom to speak our minds resulting in long and very heated dinner-table conversations (arguments) but the rules were pretty much made for us. Even as we raged and argued and dubbed our parents the worst kind of Hitlers, we were quite aware of this fact and stuck with the rules – well mostly we did. (PS: I did more than my sister, that’s an aside I need to add!)
Coming back to us - ours, I feel, is a way more democratic household than my parents’. And I am not sure that’s a good thing. I have to confess sometimes I invite the children’s views simply to avoid a showdown later on or because I am caught up with something and don’t have the mindspace to make a choice on my own.
As parents/teachers we do need to ask ourselves:
1. Is the child capable of making the right choice at his level of maturity?
2. As the adult in charge, am I prepared to accept his/her choice, whatever that may be?
Having the freedom to make choices is a wonderful feeling for anyone, especially for children and they are quick to exercise and defend it once they have it. Yet too much freedom can not just result in bad choices, it might end up confusing the child. Try taking your young one to the toy store and ask him to choose one toy and you’ll know what I mean.
Democracy certainly doesn't work all the time, definitely not in a parent-child (or a teacher-taught) relationship.
I would like to remember that as a parent/teacher:
1. I do know best. I might actually know the child better than he knows himself or what’s best for him.
2. I make the rules.
3. I will invite suggestions but I will have the final word.
4. I will disregard the rebellions and will be prepared to be dubbed the ‘evil one’.
5. I will not forget that despite the complaints the children will never stop loving me because deep down they know I love them too.
Do I sound like a Tiger Mom ? Well sometimes Moms do need to get out the Tiger/Tigress in them, even if it is only in the best interest of their cubs.