Thursday, 17 January 2019

Intensive parenting

Intensive’ parenting is now the norm in affluent & middle classes in many countries. How you raise your child will have a profound effect on their whole life. The style of child-rearing that most aspire to takes a lot of time and money. Supervised, enriching playtime; frequent conversations about thoughts and feelings; patient, well-reasoned explanations of household rules and extracurricular's. Lots and lots of extracurricular's are the hallmarks of a 'intensive parenting' style that has been common in upper-middle-class for at least a generation. Intensive parenting is child-centered, expert-guided, emotionally absorbing, labor intensive and financially expensive.
  • Parenting is a skill, best understood by experts and very rarely by mothers and fathers. Parents are constantly informed that what they do - not only matters but also determines just about every dimension of their children’s lives. 
  • Intensive parenting was identified as a middle-class phenomenon in the 1990's and 2000's. The desire and pressure to give kids every means possible to succeed: the best education, music lessons, sports groups, language skills and corresponding anxiety with limited financial means, the family budget and parent time between all kids is stretched, and so are their opportunities.
  • The approach of concerted cultivation and contrasted it with the accomplishment of natural growth, which entails much less parental involvement and which is found to be more common among working-class and poorer parents. 
  • It is not being poor, but poor parenting that is held to account for why children are ill prepared for school. A dad’s interest in his child’s schooling is strongly linked to academic success.
  • If parents from different social class backgrounds are engaging in different parenting practices is not because those parents value different parenting practices because intensive parenting requires an abundance of time and money and some families have more resources than others. 
  • Poverty not only limits parents’ ability to pay for music lessons etc, but is also a major source of stress that can influence parents’ energy, attention, and patience when interacting with children.
  • Few decades ago, parenting by families with sufficient means started engaging in intensive parenting, and then everyone else followed and that elite culture gradually became mass culture.
  • Intensive parenting is a style of child-rearing fit for an age of inequality, indicative of a stratified past, present, and future. The past: The tilt toward intensive parenting originated from parents’ anxieties about their children competing for education and jobs. The more extracurricular's, the better the odds of getting into an excellent college and of securing one of the high-paying jobs. The present: Intensive parenting is an ideal that’s currently out of reach for many families. The future: Practiced as it is by some families might widen inequities in future generations.
  • Many children benefit from intensive parenting teaching them how to manage their time and assert their individuality. But heavily involved parenting can at the same time stunt kids’ sense of self-reliance, and over-committed after-school schedules can leave them exhausted. 
  • The parents who overdo it increase the risk that their children will grow up to be depressed and less satisfied with life. And for parents, the intensive ideal can lead parents to fear that they aren’t doing enough to give their child the best future possible.
That parents exercise enormous influence over their children is not in doubt but they do so not simply through their so-called parenting skills but as members of a distinct cultural, social and ethnic community. The quality of children’s lives and their future prospects is influenced by many variables other than the behavior of their parents. This style of intensive parenting consumes parents' lives, but there isn't much benefit for the children, either. It is better to give kids the best opportunities a parent can, within their means, while still allowing the child to develop a healthy sense of independence and responsibility.
There is no job more important than parenting. 
Treat children like king till 5 years, like a slave until 15 years and like a friend thereafter.
You can't create a world for your kid. But you can prepare them to face the world. 

Children learn from parents by imitating them up to the age of 7-8 years and there after from peers in school and outside. Although learning from other's experiences is fastest, cheapest and easiest, usually most people, especially children, learn through their own mistakes which are expensive, time consuming and embarrassing. Parents must imbibe values in their children by their exemplary behavior. 'Don't do what I do, do what I say' attitude is usually counter productive. Investing in children is a positive thing, but it’s also unclear how much of children’s success is actually determined by parenting.


What political parties are fighting about, is how to achieve a more egalitarian society, where everyone has an equal opportunity of reaching the top. There are too many children without equal opportunities for success. World inequality continues to grow. In  the past three decades, 28% of the increase in real incomes in North America and Western Europe was captured by the top 1% of earners. The top 1% of India's population holds nearly three quarters of the nation's wealth.
  • The majority view seems broadly to want to tax earners and owners more heavily; to take away from some so others can have more. It’s easy to convince people that this is the quickest, actually the only way.
  • Inequality is not in itself unfair. We all know that rare skills possessed should be rewarded better. Building assets for poor people is extremely important. 
  • The surest and quickest way to ameliorate inequality and diminish poverty is radical economic transformation at all levels of government, the entire bureaucracy and the state-owned companies, so that it would spend every single available rupee of taxpayer money on development and upliftment; that state organs’ efficiency and productivity are increased radically; and that corruption is eradicated.
  • The middle class wealth reached its peak in the mid-1980s. But it’s been ravaged by stagnant incomes, unstable property & investment markets and growing consumer debt. 
  • Many developing nations have targeted poverty alleviation. While China has achieved poverty alleviation on an historic scale, the obstacles - bureaucratic inefficiency and failed policy implementation remain. India has made progress in alleviating poverty, although it lags significantly behind China. 
  • Inequality hampers growth by leaving human potential unrealised. The middle class provides market for consumer goods and services, which in turn creates jobs. The cycle is interrupted when profits are excessively retained, rather than reinvested into further capacity – such as health and education sectors. 
  • More than 20% of  Indians are poor. India saw the fastest rise in inequality between 1980 and 2016, and 55% of the country’s income share is in the hands of the wealthiest 10%. Across the developing world, blunt policies are not only proving ineffective at reducing poverty, but also widening the wealth gap. 
  • Most national level policies are either ham-fisted or intentionally ineffective. They tinker at the margins with transfer payments and social programmes, while failing to address structural causes such as gaps in educational achievement and public health. 
  • Failure to improve basic services is one of the most glaring gaps in inequality policy. Private sector and philanthropic intervention, while helpful, is no substitute for equal access. India spends only 1% of GDP on health services, compared with the world average of 6%. 
  • The policy ineptitude by the governments in the US and India are in thrall to discredited claims about “trickle-down economics” and have passed sweeping tax reforms that substantially favour corporations. 
The twin reforms of demonetization and a goods and services tax may have also stunted job growth by crippling the construction and informal sectors, that employs most migrant workers. Political will  is inexcusably weak. Both the economics and the ethics of inequality demand transformational thinking. But the voice of the poor continues to be drowned out by a global minority enjoying elite status and by the many who aspire to such status.

Tuesday, 1 January 2019

Law will take its own course!

In public conversations, 'law will take its own course' tag has almost become a cliche. Law taking its own course is the most favorable course any case can take for the benefit of the accused. Corrupt politicians often take refuge under this umbrella to lengthen the courtroom proceedings, buy time and bailout culprits. This terminology in blame game politics implies that who ever is guilty of an offence will get punished as per law. Law will take its own course is meant for the educated people who are afraid of the law, which is not to be crossed over under any circumstances. Upholding the majesty of law and the principle of equality of all before the law, however high or mighty the persons may be, is the bounden duty of the government. In India, we have the best drafted laws but the problem is that the law enforcing agencies doesn't work effectively and the common people are the worst hit. The law almost never takes its own course in India. The state is always up to mischief against the citizen and the judiciary usually does not resist it. The conduct of democracy rests on three core ideas – representation, rule of law and freedoms. A substantive idea of representation goes beyond the minimalist protocol of electing representatives. It includes an idea of representation of voiceless people who do not know how to speak to power, or who do not know how to use existing laws to protect their lands and forests from rapacious loot by crony capitalists. The second feature of democracy is the rule of law and the accountability of those who implement and use law. The rule of law aims to protect and preserve the rights of people, and if these rights are being infringed, to provide recourse and remedies. And finally, democracy functions through a range of freedoms – to speak, express, form associations, dissent, basically through a mobilization and institutionalization of demands, and a competition of ideas and agendas. Dissent is the safety valve of democracy. If not allowed, the safety valve will burst. This is not part of some revolutionary ethic but comes out of a standard understanding of the mechanics of liberal democracy. Truth is self-effulgent. If truth requires evidence, what will evidence that evidence? - Swami Vivekananda

Traits of Mahapurushas (Colossus)

Among virtuous men the jnani is the best. Such a jnani is a mahapurusha — the greatest among the great. A mahapurusha overshadows the rest. The presence of the others will not be noticed when a mahapurusha is present. In the Bhagavad Gita, Lord Krishna says He is the best in every category. 

Mahapurushas perform all their duties, with a view to pleasing God. They are detached and reach God through bhakti or prapatti. They recite the Pranava mantra. Mahapurushas are not only knowledgeable about the dharma sastras, but also act according to them.

They are also humble. Mahapurushas are never arrogant. Being humble is not easy. That is why mahapurushas are respected - because of their humility. They think clearly and are never in a confused state of mind. Their lifestyle is simple. Their merciful glances can destroy our sins.