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Your Values or Mine?

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Your Values or Mine?Ever noticed how clearly drawn the battle lines between the young and the older generation have been in recent years? Never before have people who loved each other so much, clashed so often, and so disquietingly over codes of behaviour and value systems blindly cherished by one and increasingly questioned by the other.

What constitutes values?

As adults most of us have a set of values by which we operate, values which have come to us from our parents, teachers and the general environment we grow in. Quite often there is a clash in the process of our imbibing them, particularly when we refuse to go by the norms set by our parents.

Across the corridors of my past there is an echo that reverberates from the bowels of my early teens, spilling into the manifold pathways of my adulthood. It’s the theme song of my entire life – this string of do’s and don’ts. Though some of them seem to make sense now, they didn’t then.

“Come home before it gets dark.” “Don’t talk to boys.” “Do not talk to strangers.” “Don’t idle away your time.” etc. Much as I inwardly rebelled, outwardly I obeyed. Because that was the done thing. We were the good girls and boys of the ’50s and ’60s. Taught to obey without question. Our parents were fortunate. But parents of today be warned. Values are up for reassessment. Your teenager wants an answer to his questions. If yes, why yes? If not, why not? Sample the views of the teenagers I spoke with.

Megha Kamath, a perfect specimen of what youth when invested with trust, freedom and right grooming can turn out to be, claims she uses her discretion in any clash of views with her parents. “I can understand our parents concern for our welfare but I don’t agree that they can determine the course of our lives. I sure feel glad that my parents instilled in me a sense of values and taught me how to care for others.

Conflicts arise not because of different value systems but because of the different ways in which we use those values.” Shobha R. believes teenagers know exactly what they want out of  life. “Values are like the roots of a solid tree which can’t be uprooted. Barring the occasional clash of opinions, I think my parents did a great job of raising me.”

Prashant labels his generation as a cool one. “We don’t believe in respecting people just because of position.” He feels his teachers are tyrannical and not worthy of respect. Maybe these teenagers are not entirely reflective of their generation. But as long as there are young voices that respect values there is hope for the flowering of fundamental human qualities.

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