Today’s youth are marrying frustrations - Part 4
Many of you must have heard about Kannada actor, Raj Kumar. Back in early seventy’s it is said he had five luxury cars. But his children were walking down to the school. Some fans asked him why he was keeping the cars and the driver at home and sending the children to school by foot. His reply was, “Children should grow knowing the realities of life. Their mind is not yet ripe to understand the value of luxury they never toiled for. They should not feel different from the ordinary.” This is a great vision.
A peculiarity of Malayalee community is that the parents try maximum to hide the shortcomings, erratic behavior, attention deficit disorder, uncontrolled anger, other bad habits and failures of their kids. Some parents support, some encourage, some justify, and some ignore and fail to seek advice from spiritual leaders or experts on time so to nip in the bud. Finally when the kids grow older and are lost they start blaming all around them. One real case comes to my mind: There are two kids in a religious family. The boy served as an altar-boy from the age ten. In American context altar assistants are not need based but to satisfy the parents, a kind of competition. They are neither taught proper church discipline nor understand what is going on because of the language. Not only that the parents do not care how their children are conducting in the Holy Altar, but also they blindly support them and agitate even for silly reasons, forms groups and create scenes in the church. Then they go home, using phone indulge in gossip, scandalize, write and distribute anonymous letters against the dissenters, etc. They get drunk with alcohol and
abuse wife and children at home. Children seeing all these heroism of the father grow with a notion, “my father is a hypocrite.” Coming back to the story, the boy and the girl were admitted in far away colleges. The boy started living with a white girl and quit the community altogether. The girl joined a gang, became drug addicted, indulged in all kinds of forbidden things and dropped out; whereabouts unknown for three years. Unable to bear the setback mother became an acute mental patient requiring inpatient treatment at least twice a year and disabled to drive and work. After three years one fine morning the girl returned, not as a college graduate but as a mental and physical wreck, adding more sorrow to the parents. She does not talk to even her former close friends and what actually she went through remains still a mystery. Until now the parents have not divulged to anyone what happened, if they knew, including the vicar. In such situations what a spiritual leader can do? Then a new vicar came, during a formal chat he said, “I told my former vicars many times to conduct the service in English. They did not. Had they done, I would not have lost my children.” The present vicar started various educative programs namely, started a yahoo group inviting youth to ask questions, not one came up with a question in five years; started a newsletter with a spiritual article from the vicar, the reception was too cold from both young and old and the pursuit had to end in fiasco. Older people objected sermon in English. English service met with stiff opposition. Some people went to neighboring parish on the day of English service or stayed at home only to register their protest. Some people are so intolerant to English causing indiscipline while service goes on. If a vicar is not fluent with English, people demand saying, “We want English. Kids are spoiled because of the achen’s ignorance.” If the vicar is fluent in English and do service in English people object saying, “We are Malayalees, our kids know Malayalam. We are not getting anything spiritually with English service. We do not want English.” The vicar says, “I am at a loggerhead and confused how to deal with our people.”
Another peculiarity of our people is that they do not tell the vicar even when they are very sick. By the time they tell, it will be too late. They are embarrassed to tell others as if t is a shame for others know of the sickness; hospital visit, inpatient treatment,
surgery, etc. When the children and youth suffer from psychological problems; unstable emotional behaviors, attention deficit, eccentric behaviors, acute mental disorders, parents try hard to keep it secret. When it is somehow known to others, the society treats it lightly and support saying, “Let the boy/girl marry; the problem will go after marriage.” Many a cheatings are common on this score putting the innocent people’s lives at risk. Spiritual leaders cannot involve unless requested in such cases. Many people behave as if they expect
the vicar to spontaneously know, without them telling. Some others think it is the duty of the vicar to find out from others and visit them. Worst of all, the same people will allege, “Achen did not visit me when I was sick.” It is a biblical duty of the faithful to call the priest and invite him to visit and pray, James 5:14. Children of such people are bound to feel let down; lose self-esteem and fail to bring out the best in them and frustration builds up from the interaction of parents. Easiest thing for such people is to cast the blame on others for their own shortcomings. Another aspect is: suppose there is a quarrel between spouses and the wife calls the priest to visit the house. The husband dishonors and mistreats the priest; if the husband calls and the priest respond, the wife behaves the same mistreating because each one thinks the priest is in the other camp.
Parents do and say things that are not good for children to hear or see. They argue, use profane language, when they get angry physically abuse wife and children, conduct in-home alcohol parties, indulge in drunken revelry, play cards, smoke and gossip in the presence of children. It results in retarded mental growth of the children. Spiritual leaders can do very little in these cases.
KK Johnachen, Philadelphia, 05/18/10.