Influencing children


After a long gap, I decided to give the children some Ragi porridge.

My 3 and a half year old refused to eat Ragi porridge saying that he doesn’t like it. I refused to budge and told him that he could have nothing else and the only option he had was to go hungry, which we both knew was a very difficult proposition.

He finally finished his bowl.

The next day too he had the same dish and this time my daughter and I spoke about how strong the ragi makes us and how we can start lifting heavier weights, etc. He finished this time, too.

I continued this for 7 days and with inter spurts of refusing to eat and understanding that his tantrums wont work, my son had pretty much got used to the ragi porridge. In between, one day he flatly refused to touch it because it looked like it was ‘dirty’.

Its been a month now and I wanted to have a small party with the kids at home. I threw open the choice of food to them, and guess what my son came up with – the brown milk he said, referring to the ragi porridge.

I realise that this is exactly what Oreo or Kellogs Chocos has done to them. Influenced them into their way of thought.

And its just not these products alone. Its books and people and floating thoughts and ideas and inventions and places and discoveries. These things influence us. And makes up a good part of all of us.

In that sense, even if you feel that as a parent you don’t have much to say to your child to do anything that will ‘influence’ him, its time to take this thought seriously as the world around him is ‘influencing him’. He takes twists and turns in his life trying to figure out the natural from the cultural. Its time to ‘influence’ children to be careful about potholes and quicksand. Who else better than the parents to do it. Its very important for parents to be the chief ‘influencers’ and guide them through a small part of their life and then empower them with enough ‘experiences’ for them to carry on.

I guess this is the new balance to strike between military-like disciplining and total ‘freedom’.


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