Parental pangs

Children of today do not seem to experience the sheer thrill of anticipation.

Having raised the only child, who is going to turn ten soon, I don't profess to know much about parenting. Peer pressure is slowly creeping into his existence. Our son puts in a daily plea for "his" phone that he can carry to school. “How can I reach you in an emergency?” is his plaintive refrain.

But his heartless parents are far from convinced. His school has our landline and our cell phone numbers. So do his after school program co-coordinators. We have never missed their phone calls. They have called us a sum total of two times in the last two years. Furthermore, neither of his parents has any urge to be in "touch' with him every second of his day.

I want him to realise that denying a cell phone isn't deprivation. Our daily conversation makes me curious about his perception of his world. Does he realise that his parents consider him the centre of their existence? Does he realise that he grew up with both sets of grandparents doting on him? They spoil him in a way only grandparents can - much to our consternation.

Grandmothers make his favourite shira and akki rotti on demand. Grandfathers marvel at the way he munches on every kurkure and the way he licks his ice cream. Does he realise that having roti, kapda aur makaan is so under rated? Does he realise the financial stability he has in his life that he doesn't have to hesitate to ask for little pleasures? Does he realise that his parents continue to get along and are happy with each other?

We do talk to him about the less privileged children. We describe our childhood that was short on gizmos but long on excitement. I still recollect the thrill of possessing the white and pink Camlin Flora pencils over the regular red and black Natraj. Or the joy of having a new school bag. Children of today do not seem to experience the sheer thrill of anticipation.

Eating out was limited to two options - North Indian or South Indian. Today, in spite of having Mexican, Mediterranean to Malaysian cuisines in driving distance, making the choice is a painful process. Abundance has meant that each new acquisition or activity is promptly forgotten in pursuit of newer, better, more or different.

Is ten too early an age to understand that he is privileged? Or for having a relative perception of what life has offered him? Again, relative perception is perhaps only a step towards contentment. True contentment should come from within. How do I make my ten year old boy see that? Suggestions welcome.

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