Travelling everyday in local trains does teach you a lot.
The other day I was returning to office from a press conference in Churchgate. On my way back in the second class compartment which was comparatively less crowded than always, I suddenly heard a lady shouting at a small girl; abusing her, and pulling her by her hand inside the compartment. They were accompanied by another girl who seemed to be the little kid's elder sister. Well, none of them seemed to be from a non-educated background.
This loud chaos certainly attracted everyone's attention.
The lady after forcibly making the girl sit, alighted at the next stop. However, her abuses had not stopped yet. She came near the window and yelled ,"You better not get up from your seat. Or else I will hit you idiot." She also warned the co-passengers as well her sister to keep a watch at the kid until she gets down at her desired stop in Andheri.
By that time the kid was already into tears due to the physical and verbal humiliation especially in public. With head bent low, she sat still, staring at the floor with tears flowing down her cheeks.
Later as the train approached their station, the kid got up in excitement and started walking towards the door. The moment her elder sister saw her get up, she too pulled her forcibly, abusing in a similar way the lady did.
These were the two incidences I witnessed, out of the many which the kid must be facing daily due to her folks.
Adults generally have such kind of approach towards kids. They feel shouting and abusing would stop the kid from doing things at that very moment itself. But, behaving that way, they do not understand that it does threaten the kid temporarily but the permanent mark it leaves on the kids psyche and conduct is far more threatening.
Kids, I have noticed, are excited while travelling in train, astonishingly looking at the fast pacing world outside.
A common perception is that kids are immature, they do not have self respect and its totally fine treating them harshly in public, as people would understand that they are still kids with not as much maturity and intelligence.
Well what we dont understand is these sensitive minds of children do grasp a lot and are open to all kinds of behavior, experiences and situations. Anxious to try new things, get experiences out of those (good or bad), exploring the world they had never seen before, learning and more learning is what a kids brain starves for.
Shutting or stopping him/her from doing so not only brings down this anxiety to learn new things, gain new experiences, but also brings a major change (a negative one) in their conduct.
Moreover, imagine what terrible knock it would cause to their self respect. Why do adults always assume, self respect is what comes with age/education/occupation? Self respect is something that accompanies A Self since birth. From a one day old infant to a 80 year old individual, everyone expects and wants to be treated with respect. And a slap to one's respect during childhood, hampers further growth of the individual causing frequent insults to his/her respect. (this might not be the case always, but a large number of kids generally tend to get inclined towards the negative side after such experiences).
Kids should be treated as kids. Lowering down to their maturity and intelligence and explaining good and bad consequences of their behavior not only does mature a child but also retains his/her respect.
This quote from Stacia Tauscher is effective enough to explain my thought in one line
"We worry about what a child will become tomorrow, yet we forget that he is someone today."