Report: ISAAC HAROLD GOMES – Member – ICPA
On 18th July the Archdiocese of Calcutta completed a series of Animators’ Workshop, spread across Kolkata to Kamlasole. Now it is ready to test the waters by simultaneous launch of its Pastoral Plans for the 12 Concerns in all the parishes on 9th August 2015. It goes without saying that all these plans are roadmaps and their actual implementation will be as per the local parish needs and situation. Implementation will not only impact Catholics of the Archdiocese of Calcutta but people of other faiths too as one of the pastoral plans is Ecumenical and Inter-religious dialogue which aims to promote harmonious and mutually respectful coexistence.
Undoubtedly one of most important Concerns out of the twelve will be Education. For education is the tool for empowerment and transformation of the weak and the marginalized whose cause the Church champions.
Against this backdrop, on 17th July 2015 Don Bosco School Park Circus Kolkata, invited Prof. Dr. George Kallingal – Clinical Psychologist from the University of Guam USA, to enlighten parents and students of Classes XI-XII on effective parenting.
Prof. George began by saying that Class XI-XII is a period of anticipation of what one’s life is going to be. With a straight driven four he said: “Learn to be book smart and life smart.”
He urged parents: “Have regular dialogue with your children.”
To the students he said: “Alienation from parents will not make your life successful. Learning is not to pass the test. It is the art of living.”
He stressed on the need for functional synchronization of Class XI-XII students who he said have many switches. It is the duty of parents to keep these switches active by posing questions to their children to make their brain more creative. He said most humans use only 20% of their mental energy and a thinking brain will have no difficulty in facing life upfront.
Development of the Heart is also very important for sensibility, compassion, care and love. Children who are loved learn to love and those neglected learn to hate. The most beautiful statement in the world is “I love you”. Next is “I need you” and the third “I am sorry”.
Spirit is also very important as it acts as ethical and legal guide. He said mistakes are the greatest teachers. Mistakes are what people make, not what they are. Parents should dislike wrong doing, not the wrongdoer (their children).
Students of Class XI-XII look for Identity which is of various types. Identity Foreclosure is a state where an individual has surrendered to his/her parent’s or authorities’ views. Example: “My parents are physicians and always wanted me to be a physician also. I am enrolled in pre-med in college.” Then there is Identity Moratorium or Identity Diffusion: “I do not know what I will become” or Mass Youth Syndrome: “Everybody doing, I will also do.”There is Peter Pan Syndrome (PPS) of a male adult who refuses to grow up, in most cases due to too over-dependence on the mother.Mothers are generally known to be protective of their sons and strict with their daughters.The best case is when one discovers one’s Identity and clearly visualizes the career and life ahead.
The fourth important aspect is Gender Difference which is not sex. Sex is given by parents (XX or XY genes). Gender Difference is taught and learnt and it is the duty of schools, governments and social organisations to teach this. He said lack of education on Gender Difference is creating confusion about one’s sexual identity leading to inclination for same sex union. This will bring disaster to the society and natural parenthood. He said the body has many urges and drives – we all have beauty, we all have beasts in us. Therefore there should be some control mechanisms by which mind will command the body. He reminded all about the adage “a healthy mind in a healthy body”. He stressed we all should take of ourselves, so that we remain fit to take care of others. He advised students on “deferred gratification” and not to view girls as objects of sex or toys.
To a question on smartphones, he said if students keep away from smartphones and the internet, their performance level would improve by at least 30%.