This article isn’t about hunger in our tummies. It’s about another kind of hunger – the hunger to do something, to succeed, to make a difference in the world we live in. And sadly, despite (or maybe because of) their well-fed tummies, this is a hunger most of our kids don’t have.
Let me share something that happened to me. My daughter is a smart, socially-aware girl. Living in India (and having me for a mum, I think!) has made her acutely aware of social, economic and environmental inequities and injustices in our system. Yet the following was the conversation I had with her as we walked to school one recent morning:
Me: Look at this garbage! It’s awful! We must do something about it. Why don’t you go to Ms. ——‘s (the principal) office today in the break and talk to her about it?
Daughter: Why do I have to do that?
Me: Because this is your neighbourhood and your school and you should care about it. Think how much of a change you can make as aÂ school!
D: Why do I have to be the only one who cares? Let someone else care!
Reading this, you might think that I’ve raised a spoilt brat, but believe me, she’s not – and I’m not just saying this because I’m her mother! What she is though, is typical of her generation – kids who have been raised in well-to-do homes, lived in five-star gated communities or fancy buildings, and go to air-conditioned schools.
These are kids who typically have their own rooms, a wardrobe full of clothes, trips abroad every summer and large, extravagant birthday parties.
If you think I’m describing pampered, spoilt children, think again: these are the kids of our cities and what I’m describing, give or take a couple of factors, are their lives. Their little tummies are stuffed full of yummy delicacies, but also with a world-class education, trendy clothes, shoes and accessories, the latest gadgets, and comfortable homes – is it little wonder then that they’re not hungry?
I was talking to some friends and we concluded that our biggest challenge as parents today is to create this hunger in our kids. And how do we do it? I don’t have a good answer, but all I know is that we need to keep pointing out to them the reality of life vs the life our kids are blessed with. This would make them realize just how privileged they are.
need to show them how the world lives. We need to keep making them want to do more, to be more without stressing them out, but by encouraging them to think out of the box, take risks and be themselves. And above all, we need to infect them with the ‘I can bug’ that Kiran Bir Sethi talks about in this fabulous TED Talk so that each one of them believes that they can go beyond and change their own lives and those around them.