Vinita Dawra Nangia
Even though living together, families can still be far apart, influenced as they are by disparate elements! How does one ensure bonding.
Living together in the same house,each of us is further apart than would have been imaginable some years ago.We dwell in our own worlds,are exposed to totally different influences and have touch points in our daily life that are nothing to do with each other.The books you read; movies you would like to watch;performances and musicals worth attending, and Malls to be checked out - these are no longer family discussions, but recommendations friends make.
With a whole new set of authors and books coming up for the young,even the books your children read are not the same as you read.Their world is so far removed from what came earlier that they are unable to relate with books you may suggest! The movies they enjoy are different from the ones you like.You may be as wedded to your computer as they are addicted to theirs, but the sites you surf and people you interact with are a world apart from theirs.And not just children, even adults tend to grow further apart as they give in to disparate interests and influences.He goes for business lunches and golf,while she groups up with female friends for girly lunches and interesting outings.
The invasion of smart phones has ensured you are available to office round the clock.So you could be in the middle of dinner when the boss pings you to check on some minor fact. Or you could be putting the children to bed when that critical mail from overseas wings its way with an intrusive beep into your Blackberry!
As such,it has become perfectly normal to be in the same room with each other and yet be wired to completely different gadgets that connect each of you to spaces far removed from the room you are actually sitting in.
In such a scenario how does one ensure a feeling of family togetherness or inculcate the right values in children Obviously one would have to lay down some ground rules and insist everyone follows them.Strange that something which was absorbed as part of daily living together now needs a time,a space and a discipline to be taken in. Children learnt earlier by observing you; today they are so absorbed in their own selves, they may miss out on essential things unless forced to pay attention. Much has been said about families that eat together.And indeed at least one meal together every day is the best way to ensure some togetherness.This time together can also be used for some healthy discussions and bringing everyone up to date on family news. Another idea could be to introduce one topic of general interest at the table and discuss it threadbare.This could be a news item or some other essential general information.
Many families swear by holidays together as great bonding factors.Away from daily distractions,if you choose the destinations carefully, you could indeed use the time away to build strong, lasting memories. And nothing like memories to build bonds and give love a shot in the arm!
I find festivals can be another great bonding exercise for families. Like the much reviled television serials show, a festival when celebrated with traditional fervor and full faith, can teach children a lot about their culture and identity. Praying together is another great cementing factor and time should be kept aside for it.
And if children cannot read the books you suggest, try reading what they are absorbing to understand and bond with your child better! So long as we are all basically secure about each other and care deeply for family bonds and traditions, no matter how far we may travel from each other, the strong thread that binds us together will always anchor us securely.