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Modern Society – Family – Crisis of values.

By June 17, 2024Articles
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By Hilda D’Silva, Kallianpur.

 The society we live in today is modern characterized by advanced technology, global access, rapid communication and changing cultural norms. The society we live in shapes our behavior, our beliefs and relationships through several social institutions, cultural standards and shared practices. We here are fortunate enough to live in a rural society still retaining some cultural values bestowed on us by our ancestors and elders.

 Over the years tremendous changes have been embraced by all of us in society. This is an era of rational thought, individualism, rapid industrialisation, urbanization and above all materialism giving way to lack of humanism. Material gains have replaced the core values of life, money and muscle power, creating undue misery all around.

 Family is the basic unit of society where we are born, nurtured, fed, disciplined and made to stand independent and reliant. “Family is not an important thing, it is everything.” – words of Michael J Fox. Family is the compass to guide, inspiration to move on. The only six letter word in which unconditional love, fights and desperation can exist. In our society today, what is the role of our families? Family is like the foundation stone, building the personality of the inmates. According to Dr. Abdul Kalam for a sustainable society and a strong nation, the basic requirement is a strong and happy family. A family with a strong value base contributes to the society, individuals who respect the family, the society and the nation.

 When we reflect on our families today, can we sincerely find happiness and contentment? Can we boldly assume that the core values of affection, respect, integrity, humanism and empathy exist? Education, degrees, technology, Scientific advancement, Media, Capital flow – the characteristics of Modernity – Have these enriched our society or destroyed the moral fabric? Do we witness crisis of values? A few recent fearful incidents should make us, the Elders question ourselves, Where have we gone wrong? Is education a curse to mankind? Have we failed in inculcating discipline and empathy in our children? Have we, in the garb of loving our children converted them into ruthless, insensitive brats? Time to reflect, time to analyse, time to wake up to the ground reality.

Recent incidents in Karnataka itself shakes our belief in humanity. Neha Hiremath, 23 year old University student was stabbed to death by her former classmate Fayaz on April 18th in the KLE Technological University campus in broad daylight in the presence of other students. It was a one sided infatuation. But killing – Is it excusable? Is it human to kill the girl you pretend to love? Is it true love? Is there any remorse in the heart of the killer?

 Similar incidents followed – Anjali, young girl of 20 was stabbed inside her house in Hubbali again by her so called lover Girish a/s Vishwas. In Kodagu, 16 year old girl Meena was hacked to death by her fiance Onkarappa, 32 year old for dissuading him to marry after two years.

 Honor killings, incidents of rape, abuse, suicides, small children attacking friends without any fear or remorse are daily incidents in the modern society today. Is progress a boon to us or a curse? Higher standards of living have brought in more misery than happiness.

 Again reflecting on the same very important issue of value centric families – Can we boldly assert that we are grooming our children and youth with the values of kindness, righteousness, sensitivity, empathy and respect? We, elders are the mirrors to our children. Killers, molesters, psychopaths are not born, they are groomed. They are the products of broken families. According to Dr Kalam, the solution to the problems of society is not the electric chair of prison but the high chair of a babe at home. How prophetic are these words which proclaim to the world that value crisis in families is the serious ailment worse than cancer or AIDS. In the words of Mother Theresa “ The way you help heal the world is you start with your own family.”

 A few reflections on the role of parents in nurturing and raising balanced, righteous and confident children who are assets to society. Of the parenting styles which are authoritarian, authoritative, permissive and neglectful, Authoritative is the most beneficial providing a balance between structure and independence. It allows a child to grow within reasonable boundaries and gain confidence. We parents with utmost patience should strive to maintain close relationship with our teenagers. Boundaries are very essential as we have to groom them to live in society which is complicated.

 Pampering the child and giving in to tantrums is a common practice of indian parents. Isn’t the Pune brash case an eye opener to us, Parents? A 17 year old, drunk killing two in the wee hours of morning,the parents protecting him is a glaring example of permissive parents.

 Children are with the parents only for two decades of their lives but they carry the values imgrianed till the end of their lives. We, Indian parents are poor regarding communication with our children. Do we create a bond where my child feels free to share with me his/her shortcomings. No parent is perfect but what matters is how well you understand your child. If your child finds a role model in you, he/she will live the values you practice in your life. Hence less violence in society.

 Finally, whether we live in a very modern society or a backward corner, values are universal. If there are so many atrocities and evils occuring in our society, I strongly feel healthy parenting has been non existent in many families. “Parenthood….It’s about guiding the next generation and forgiving the last” – Peter Krause. Let us therefore introspect and accept the fact that a value-centric family alone can minimise the evils around us. Let me conclude with the words of Dr Louise Hart, “ If we don’t shape our kids, they will be shaped by outside forces that don’t care what shape our kids are in.”


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