I was reaching my home this evening and as the lift door opened and I walked towards my flat, I saw a young boy walking restlessly in front of the door of a flat. I could see his eyes glow suddenly and face becoming bright and in a flash both went off seeing that the person coming out of the lift is not the one he was expecting!
Reaching near him and seeing his emotions, I asked him, what happened? He said to me that he has been waiting there in front of his tuition teachers home for nearly 15 minutes. Being a Thursday, he was not sure whether she had told him or not about the cancellation of the tuition class as he suspected that they have gone out of the city for the weekend already.
I asked him whether he has a phone to call her. He said, no.
Asking him whether he knows her number, the boy said no.
Then I asked him, whether his father or mother knows her contact number, he said to me, probably his mother. So, I offered him my phone and asked him to call his mother and find out. He said to me that he doesn’t know his mother’s number! I asked whether he knows his father’s number, he said, NO!.
I was shocked. A boy in 7th standard, probably about 13 years of age, does not know the contact number of his father or mother! They are both well educated!!
I asked him whether he knows how to go back to his home. He said yes. I told him to not wait there further and go back home. Then, as a first and foremost thing, memorise their numbers without fail.
I believe that it is the duty of the tutors to inform the parents about the schedule and change of schedules so that parents can keep track of their child ‘s whereabouts. Parents should make sure to give their child with a card detailing full contact address so that in case of an emergency, his/her parents could be contacted.
The over usage of electronic equipment is one factor. But, not educating the children to memorize and remember essential phone numbers is alarming. Is it a sign of poor parenting? I don’t know.
Leaving it to you to do decide. A weekend point to ponder.
Ramesh Menon, Abu Dhabi
09 February 2017