How painful it is when trust is shaken, when we are let down, are not supported by the people we had counted upon! You could say it is wrong to have expectations, and perhaps you are correct. Yet, a child who walks for the first time in the outside world cannot help it. It needs support, or perhaps just security, an assurance that there is someone to hold hand in case it stumbles. But soon it realizes that there was no one. Those it had thought were behind its back, watching carefully its every step, had in fact already walked away long ago.
photo credit: Anne Worner Introspection via photopin (license)
Trust should not be broken. Child walking for the first time should have support. But child should not be made dependent. He should be made to relish his freedom. Golden cage is also a cage.
Every time any student commits suicide, I ask this same question — Why couldn’t the child talk to anyone about its problems? Maybe the student was performing very badly in studies and feared not meeting others’ expectations, or may be facing ragging or harassment of some kind, or perhaps relationship problem. The reason could be anything. What is remarkable is that afterwards the parents, elders, teachers, have absolutely no clue what the child was going through all this time. You may accuse me of oversimplifying the issue, but I sincerely believe that in all cases of mental agony and emotional turmoil, the child sincerely, intensely and urgently needs and demands support, someone to talk with, someone who would just listen and not judge. Friends do not help, as they are also travelling in the same boat. And it is then that the young student — fighting the outside world for the first time without any armour or experience — is left alone. It is not a simple case of learning by making mistakes. Those circumstances are life-threatening — a fact that parents and teachers realize all too late. All their claims of support turn out to be hollow when they disappear in the moments when the child needed them most.
In a way, this hypocrisy of support and security is not limited to their relationships with students and children only. If people do not assure support, then perhaps the person could prepare beforehand to fight life’s battles alone. But what is most depressing is this over-eagerness in offering and assuring companionship and not meaning it.
No, one should not make promises that one would not keep. Nobody should bring a child in this world only to let it die . . . alone.
There are two different issues. One is about a regular child. One who wants to move forward. One who does not have the support system others take for granted. We should support the child, let him be independent. If he falls, hold his hand. Second child is mentally injured for whatever reason. One may have intention to help, but one may not be qualified. How would an outsider know what dark depression, what psychological storm is brewing inside. Normal well intentioned people may not pickup signs of chronic depression.
Feelings of the depression would be communicated by the child itself if it has confidence in the parent/elder. That is the whole focus of this post — there is absolutely no attempt at gaining and keeping the trust of the child.
I have strong objection against usage of the term ‘mentally injured’. Do you think that a child feeling lonely or sad, or seeking someone by its side is mentally injured or sick in any sense? Really?
To convey a sense of depression, sufferer has to know he is suffering. In India till recently we did not depression is a disease. It was assumed to be a normal course of high and low. Those who are suffering, may think low is normal. Only a clinician can diagnose. Once diagnosis is done then the question of support arises.
This is what is called shrugging off one’s responsibility. This is what this post is all about. Thanks for confirming my proposition!!