Why “child is the father of man”?


Whenever some child behaves somewhat erratic, the immediate reaction of an onlooker is that it is the element of sanskaar (behavioural pattern) the child blood wise inherited ,from his/ her parents. Similarly, if the child behaves well, the same background is emphatically repeated as the factor. My daughter-in-law, Garima, a mother with two kids, asked me a question the other day innocently as to why only parents are held responsible if their children do something otherwise. I quoted to her a line from Wordsworth’s reading as ‘…. child is the father of man’. Intrinsically, it is true that children are an specie incarnate of their parents, and for that reason they are cent per cent what their parents are. Because they are what their parents are, obviously what they do is taken as a miniatured version of their parents, and this holds good for all the cases. This is just natural. After the stage of infancy when the children grow in age, this very element gets side lined as the other factors start coming into effect. The overall atmosphere of the house hold, the neighbourhood surroundings, the school environment with first friends and also the look, style and behavioural pattern of the teachers act as the basis for the children to build them up. The children are of a kind very tender and delicate with their receptivity factor being very sensitive but strong. They receive the things just on their face value. This is the stage where parents role starts getting minimised, but there are other dimensions of responsibility for them that emerge anew like monitoring their school schedules and their involvement in other activities. At this level when a child does something otherwise, the question that is raised by the onlookers and well wishers is as to which school he/ she belongs. The child grows to the level of an adolescent and the stage that follows it is when child is no more a child but a man sitting on the threshold of father hood/ motherhood. Parents role becomes more secondary as their children are going to be themselves the parents. This is a very natural cycle. It’s a most pertinent point here that what basically counts for a child for the whole of his/ her life is dominantly the blood factor he/ she inherited from his/ her parents and other levels that follow are considerably secondary in nature. This is the reason why parents are held responsible at the first instance whenever their sons/ daughters go astray and behave otherwise. Children are not just the children, much more than that they are the ones heading towards a full fledged maturity as adults and onwards as men and women to live the future.

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