My son Azad, is only a year old. In the past 6 months, managing work, home and a baby meant I have been stretched for time. Multi-tasking is definitely the norm. But most importantly, it has forced me into making conscious choices about my time and priorities. The meaning of parenting for me has transitioned from the normative, textbook style to an experience that makes you think and question your own beliefs.
I don’t have anything against Technology and the so-called “digital – age” that we now live in. But it has an uncanny knack of seeping into your personal life and making countless hours disappear into oblivion. It makes you obsess about what others think rather than address your own emotions. Your life, your choices, your soul is suddenly possessed. I wondered how will Azad remain true to his name in such a world?
So I took the time to think about what I really believed in and wrote it down for Azad…
I want you to know that having a ‘Social life’ is not about how many friends you have on social media platforms, nor is it about posting seemingly smart ponderings about life lessons. Being social is about empathizing and sympathizing. It is about connecting with people in the real world and being genuinely interested in their lives and having a meaningful dialogue.
Genuine friendships will last for a lifetime.
I want you to know that life is not about having the best pictures or the best selfies or #nofilters.
It is about letting your mind capture the best memories.
So don’t worry if you didn’t get that one extra shot on your camera in portrait mode, but let your mind do the wonders. Soak in the smells, the sounds, the feelings and the views. Years later, your mind will recount these memories so vividly that you will be able to experience those times all over again.
Your mind is the most versatile camera.
I want you to know that staying connected with the family doesn’t mean being part of online groups where endless “good mornings” are exchanged.
It is about knowing that the aunty who so regularly sends those good morning messages is really lonely and just one call from you will bring the brightest smile on her face.
A simple cheerful “Hello!” is priceless
I want you to know that bullying and trolling someone online is actually very easy and cowardly. It barely takes a minute to strip someone of their confidence and hatred spreads like wildfire.
But it takes a lot of courage and thoughtful consideration to provide constructive criticism and feedback. So, take the time to think of how your actions will impact others and choose to comment only if you can add value.
If you can’t say anything good, don’t. At least don’t say anything bad.
I want you to know that “just one more episode” or “Just 5 more minutes of screentime” is a battle you have already lost. You will rise from that couch at least 2 hours later.
Use that excuse with something that stimulates your mind and body – “Just one more chapter of the storybook” or “just 5 more minutes in the outdoors” and I promise I will never say no.
Use your time wisely
And just like that, I realized that these apply to me as much as they would apply to him.
Parenting in the digital age is no different than any other age. The lessons are still the same, just the context has changed.
I am a storyteller…
As Director, International commercial product analytics at American Express, I weave stories through numbers and solve business problems. As a mother, I get to tell stories about banal things and make them the most exciting adventures in the world for my one-year-old son.
With children out of school, physical distancing as the new norm, and children’s rights under threat, the new world order has “turned back the clock” on years of progress made on children’s well-being. However, it’s not all bad. As a human race, we’ve been built to adapt: we’ve seen a tipping point in technology-enabled education and the promise of a new education policy in our country.