A Chapter by JENY

For students and parents of INDIA


                      TEACH HIM TO WATCH


    Sometimes it seems that the curse of present world is our inability to control our eyes. This is a sight dominated world. What we see determines what we are. And what we should see is determined by producers and directors of soap operas, commercialized creativity of advertisers and sensationalizing culture of journalists etc.

                          Number of parents who complain about the TV addiction of their wards are increasing among middle class families. I wonder how many parents have succeeded in curbing their kids from gluing to cartoons, films, sports etc spoiling their study time. The error is not wholly in the inability of the parent to control the child but in the uncertainty of the parent himself what should be seen, when should be seen, how much should be seen and finally, how should be seen.

                      We common people can never curb invasion upon our culture and values by TV and internet. We have no escape from their subtle war against our long cherished moral, cultural values and its impact on our generation. Globalization in this sense is colonization in disguise. But, sitting in the corner of universe we can at least guard our kids from its negative impacts if we are a little bit vigilant. Because globalization has its own merits and it is not easy to prevent it spreading its evils through its merits. Because, denying it’s merit is equivalent to curtailing our own possibilities for growth and development in the modern world. So there is no use of declaring open war against globalization.

                     But we can do one thing. We can cultivate a discipline while exposing our children to TV, internet and the likes. For that, first of all, we must be the role models of this disciplining process. Never watch a program on TV which you feel your child should not. Time interval you watch TV should never exceed than what you want for your school going child for watching TV. After watching a film or a serial ask him what he or she has understood from it. By doing this you can guard the appreciating power of your child and even influence it a lot. It is here- way of appreciating various things on TV- where erosion of culture and value take place grimly.

                  There are many ways of perceiving the same thing. A nude figure or a raunchy scene can be looked at from different levels of mind. That is why; there are nude statues in famous temples of Hindu tradition. It teaches the devotees to perceive divinity in nudity too. Which angle you choose determines your level of appreciation. And providing the perceiver, that is your child, with a right angle of perceiving should be our armour against invasion upon our value system and culture.

                        The area you have to be vigilant and to be work upon is the appreciating level of your child. I don’t think any other easy and possible way for the prevention of erosion of values through visual media. Let the appreciation level of your child watching TV grow to a refined level. Let it pass through a discipline that is in tandem with our morality, values, culture and education of our society.

                        Yesterday I was watching the Malayalam film BRAMARAM with my family in TV. There were my father, my mother, my sister and her two children, my brother, his wife, his two toddlers and me. Performance of Mohanlal was breath taking that I could see many eyes were wet after the film. But after the film I asked my sister, a high school teacher by profession, who directed it, who produced it and who wrote the story whether Mohanlal got any award for the particular film etc… she hadn’t any idea and she laughed at me for casting such strange queries upon her. I will say her appreciation level is below average and superficial and momentary.

                          Person with above average or superior appreciation level will not only probe into the above said queries but may go far beyond them. He may be interested in social relevance of story. He may compare the particular work of director with other similar work of himself or others. He may even probe into the secret behind the talent of Mohanlal the great. All such probing will lead him to be selective while choosing a film to watch. He will have criteria regarding which kinds of films or TV program can satiate his need to know more. An ability to make right choice that is what I mean. I do not rule out the fact that there are adolescents who think of the breasts of female character of the film rather than thinking of the talent of mohanlal or the story of the film. These are typical undisciplined minds which needs greater care and repairing.    

                                Disciplining the appreciation level of growing children is a thing accomplished by a collaborative approach of parents, teachers, and religious leaders of society. I will say it should be a part of curriculum of Indian education. We teach our students to appreciate literature and science and art. In the same way we must equip them with healthy appreciating habits with regard to visual media. We can not control forces outside us. But we can control what is within our reach and guard our society and culture from the attack of western culture through visual media.

                        When I speak of choice it should be a personal choice, a spontaneous one about what must be seen, not a choice imposed one by do’s and dont’s of elders and teachers. What a man appreciates is closely linked to what he needs. It is his needs that determine his choice and his level of appreciation. So we must be able to inculcate new intellectual needs in the individual in order to raise his level of appreciation.  A habit of choosing the refined and excellent from myriad stimulants by virtue of ones own respect for ones culture and values that is what we should aim at. That is why I said it should be collaborative effort. And it is not impossible.

                      We can not say you should not see. It is impossible. But we can say that there are many ways of seeing things and you must choose the best, refined and rational. If we are not doing this we will keep on lamenting about the erosion of culture due to evasion of visual media. Come out , let us begin our war against this invasion in our own way that is peaceful and efficacious. Let not our sights choke our INSIGHTS








© 2010 JENY

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Added on April 17, 2010
Last Updated on April 19, 2010
Tags: Education, psychology



Kerala, Thrissur, India

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