One day the boy’s friend called him out to his house to play. The boy replied that he didn’t feel like to and that he’ll come the next day.
The friend’s next move was, “Dude, my mom made chocolate cake. Do you want to miss it?”
‘Chocolate cake’ got the boy excited and he announced, “Amma bye, I am going out to play.”
All my efforts to have watched this and that YouTube channel to make varieties of cakes all these years came down to nothing in an instant.
Well, these are just little, silly, boyish tricks!
However, on a serious note, opportunistic forces have been pivotal in creating social inequalities since time immemorial. As adults it is still easy for us to fall into the pits of such forces. How do we protect our children then?
U – Unyielding to Opportunistic Forces
Post #21 of the series: Instilling Social Equality in Children
The history of the world has always been filled with opportunistic forces. In Eve being tempted by the Serpent, in Judas succumbing to the thirty silver pieces, in Dhritarashtra agreeing to Shakuni’s plan of the game of dice, or in Mir Jafar betraying at the Battle of Plassey, it was the opportunistic forces that changed the destiny of humans in the bygone histories. If not for these forces we would be reading different versions of history today – perhaps better versions, at least without bloodshed if not for anything else.
Opportunistic forces are certainly all around us today as well. The smartest brains sitting at some corner of the world are making us buy all the crap that we really don’t need in life. When we enter a super market today, there are 35000+ brands in front of us giving us the choice to pick and pay whatever we want. If we had the awareness of the economic, moral, health, and environmental impact of negative consumerism, we would not even go near the isle that had more than half of these products.
How can we help children from opportunistic forces?
One thing we need to be clear here is that we cannot be protective, at least all the time, of our children from such sources. The only way to make them stay out of opportunistic forces is to feed them with morals that will enable them to take informed decisions at the right time.
Let me give an example. Kinder Joy used to be, actually it is still, a favourite of my kids – not a surprise, it is to many kids. Buying it for the first time was exciting to see what toy was inside. The second time was also exciting to see if it’ll be the same toy or a different one. From there it took children to a point that every time they visited a supermarket, it needs to be added to the cart.
But we caught this consumeristic behaviour of kids quite early and made them see what is being sold for Rs.40.
- High sugar and fat,
- enormous plastic wastes (imagine the amount of the plastic spoons and plastic toys that are hardly used by kids and ends up in the thrash in no time),
- and the false idea the product gives away with its boys’ toys and girls’ toys. While the blue packs have vehicles or avengers, the pink ones contain pretty dolls, make-up stuff, rings, and accessories – an unnecessary discrimination being fed to young minds.
(If you didn’t know, Ferrero, the manufacturer of Kinder Joy prices its products at least 30% higher than its competitors like Nestle and Cadburys, but still Ferrero has managed to overtake the sales of these two age-old giants in India).
Over time kids began to realize the point in what’s being told at home and today when we visit a supermarket, they know that they these products are driven by marketing gimmicks of the profit-makers and not worth to add to our cart. Not only that, they are also able to identify other products like the Gems ball, Tic Tac (another product of Ferrero), and Dairy Milk Lickables from the supermarket shelves that are going to contribute to mass plastic pollution.
Of course, it didn’t happen overnight, but it did, one day!
Consumerism is just an example here. It can fit as well to any other conflict-inflicting force for its own benefit. As they grow, children might have to face many other opportunistic forces that can be aimed at fulfilling their own socio, economical, political, religious, cultural agenda. Most of these, sadly, might be at the expense of creating social and economic inequalities, depriving/bestowing unfair rights and privileges, generating partitions between humans, and even taking lives.
The limited number of years we have with us before children begin to leave our nests to be on their own are precious. The strong and unbiased perceptions we instill in them in the next few years are the only shields they’ll carry in the future to protect themselves from opportunistic forces.