Pic.: Fr. Reginald Pinto
The other day, I was discussing something with a gentleman, and, suddenly the discussion turned quite heated. I was in my usual form - as gentle and passionate I could be… but, not aggressive. The other person went quite ballistic, with unpalatable language. Yes, the matter pertained to someone else; nothing was aimed at me… Yet, I was trying to help him see the necessity of being less brash and aggressive. Obviously, he had not appreciated my view; and, he was justifying his method by being more vocal, more aggressive, now.
Just then, his 7-year-old son stormed into the room. Perhaps, he had heard the familiar voice of his dad while playing with his friends outside. The gentleman quickly asked his little-one to go outside and play. But, the little-one refused to go. “No, I want to be here,” he said.
“Raja, I told you to go out and play,” the father reminded the son, “here, our meeting is going on.”
“No, I want to be here,” the little fellow declared, looking at me.
“Don’t you understand what I am telling you?” This time, the father was telling his son, “You better…”
“What happened? You are angry with this uncle?”
I got up immediately, ran my hand over the little one’s soft head and said, “No Raja… Dad is not angry with me. He is my friend; we were just talking loudly.”
Saying so, I decided to go outside. “This is more important,” I told the gentleman as I was leaving, “Not our discussion.”
The man had used very provocative language aimed, as I told you, at someone else who wasn’t there in the room. Probably, the son had heard his dad doing it quite often at home and elsewhere, too. I quickly sensed, that the child had rushed to the spot on hearing his dad’s voice because he (little-one) was afraid, insecure…
I felt really bad for being a part of such negative contribution to the little-fellow’s growth. The only thing I could think of to salvage the situation was to tell the little-one, lovingly and sincerely, “No Raja, your dad is not angry with me… He is my friend; we are just talking loudly.”
“Don’t use bad words.”
“Don’t quarrel with your friends.”
“Be gentle to everyone around.”
“Say sorry when you make mistakes.”
“Don’t talk ill at someone’s back.”
“Be a good example.”
Why do we tell all this to our little-ones?
How would they ever learn the value of
these values unless we walk our talks?
That evening, I really felt guilty for doing such things - many, many times before - myself. This time around, it was the other guy who was so abusive and repulsive… But, the little-one’s insecurities couldn’t allow me to stay there even for a second more…
It was important, I felt, the dad had to make his little son feel secure!
Do we all do such things?
I have done it, often… though less now.
Yes, I have failed to realize what is important in times like that!