In my boyhood, there were a few family rules imposed by my father. One of them was to have at least one meal together, especially dinner. Ours was a small family. I was the lone child of my parents till I was 14.
So, it was ultimately me who used to be overflown with love showered by my parents and at the same time, had to go through all kinds of strict house rules. The rules included having one meals together, not staying outside of home after sundown, 2 to 3-hour mandatory evening study, having nap after lunch at the weekend (whereas that day I wanted to play all day long), taking amma’s (mother) permission before going out of home, watching television for a limited time, no story book in the evening before dinner, keeping my study table clean and the list can go on bit more.Sometimes some of the rules seemed to be torture at that time. For example, there was weekly movie show on BTV on Monday evening and for some unknown reasons on someday movie’s time had been shifted back and that was going to overlap with dinner time and my sorrow knew no bound.
My father was strict to his timetable. He used to work for Bangladesh Textile Mills Corporation. In his job life, he was posted in different mills. He used to visit us once a month. So, when my father was home, I was very alert about timing. My mother and I lived in our village home at Karatia under Tangail district. The house we used to live in was purchased by my grandfather who was a railway officer. It was a 2-acre garden house.
I was not allowed to go out of the house without my mother or caretaker’s permission except going to school. That taught me how to grow up in loneliness. Somehow I used to like it anyway. Friends from my community used to come to our house to play in the afternoon as we had a fairly big play ground.
Anyway, I was talking about the family rules and lifestyle. My mother was an avid reader of story books and that helped me subconsciously develop the reading habit. I still remember after dinner and TV time, we two used to lie down on the same bed and started reading our respective story books. It happened many times that we slept while reading and the light was on the entire night. Mother felt sorry in the morning seeing light was on. Then my father set a bed switch.
We were very happy but again we sometime forgot to switch off the bed switch. Apart from the play time in the afternoon and TV time in the evening, the bed time reading was my favourite time of the day. The challenge was to collect or borrow new story books from friends and neighbours. We had a kind of monthly fixed budget for buying story books given by father but we two were voracious reader. So, we had to go out for hunting books from others.
I am talking about early 80s when I was a high schooler. Now looking backwards, I feel that it was the best thing for a rural boy developing reading habit from his mother along with other family rules. Later this reading habit enormously helped me in my 22 years of trainer’s life in Dhaka, Bangladesh and now in Canada, because of this habit a whole new world of reading has opened before me. And there lies the importance of family life, family bonding to develop an everlasting worthy habit in life.In this pacy world, everyone seems to be running behind schedule. Nobody has got time for anybody. We know what we do, we know how we do it but the question is do we know why we do it? This question of life will help understand lot of things.
Parents have hardly times nowadays to sit with children to enquire how the world is revolving around them. One or two simple family habits can solute a long term situation as well as help them develop healthy lifestyle and habits. And thus it can be transferred from generation to generation. So, slow your pace, plan at least one meal daily with family in your prioritisation list and if possible, read to your children or you start reading habit so that they get inspired by seeing you.
I read somewhere; there is no app to replace the lap, so read to your children. What a worthwhile statement! Try to instil at least one or two habits in your children from daily family life. It may seem bitter to them at the outset but the result will be very sweet in the long run.
The writer is a Communication Trainer & Public Speaker Edmonton AB, Canada. Email: email@example.com