“What have you done for me?”

Dr. Navniit Gandhi
Sunday, May 14, 2017

Suruchi was twelve years old, when she had blurted out the above words, and her words had sharply pierced the hearts of both the parents.

The adolescent girl had exasperatedly vented out her feelings: “You just keep saying No to all that I ask… What have you ever done for me? And, please…. Do not start on that spree again that you have given me fine education and a home and food etc. etc. Providing all of that was just your duty. Everybody’s parents do all of that and much more… I do not wanna talk to you. I know you do not care a bit for me. Just leave me alone…”

Is it true that our kids these days are not grateful enough?

Are your children grateful for all that they have received, and for all that you do for them?

Do they acknowledge your efforts and the sacrifices you have made for them?

Is it not strange that suddenly we are seeing an entire generation of children who are just not bothered? Isn’t it strange that irrespective of whether you are a Dentist or a School Teacher or a Marketing Manager or a Software Engineer, the atmosphere at home-- kind of looks the same, with some minor variations though? We buy all that they ever set their eyes on; or what they verbally insist that they want—clothes, week-end junk meals, i-phones, i-pads, tablets, shoes, games, accessories, bags, vacations, and much more. And, strangely somehow, it is all too less or nothing for them?

It is not that they are not happy. In fact, there is instant gratification. However, it lasts too, only for an instant. The happiness on their faces lasts barely a few minutes, hours or days. Sometimes, after taking them out for shopping and buying some essential and a lot of unnecessary things as well, and dining at a fast-food restaurant, -- they come home happy but within a few minutes or hours, they can be seen frowning or bored or they pick up an argument with the siblings or either of the parents. The smiles on the innocent faces, which the parents so earnestly wish to see—are gone within a few minutes.

Most parents are perplexed these days… Slogging hard day and night, they are determined to give the Best to their kids. They work for long hours; put up with work-places they detest and are consistently engaged in multi-tasking and juggling with endless tasks—only for the sake of providing the Best for their children. Obviously, it hurts terribly to see the kids dissatisfied. Even if they are satisfied, that look of amazement or adoration for all that they are blessed with, is very rarely visible.

What is to be done about it?

There is a solution; an explanation. Very simple it is… Very easy, too.

Step 1: Let us take a mirror in our hands.

Step 2: Look closely at ourselves in the mirror for one full minute.

Step 3: Close the eyes. Take a deep breath.

Step 4: Ask ourselves a few questions.

Are we ourselves—the real grateful kind?

How many times in a day does our head bow in gratitude for the roof over the head, the two square meals, and the livelihood?

Do we remember each day that we ought to be grateful that we have two eyes; two arms; two legs, a straight spine and a healthy mind?

How many moments do we spend calculating what we have; looking around and counting what others have; thinking of making more money and investing more in property, shares, gold etc.?

Once, we start to answer the above questions—the truth will dawn before us like a flash of lightening… We do easily see the frowns and dissatisfaction on the faces of our children, but alas, we cannot see our own, till we take up a mirror and look therein.
How many of us smile throughout the day, thankful for the parents we have and the jobs we have? How many of us feel truly contented that our children are healthy and fine? Do we still not hanker after them so that they can score as much as the others are scoring? Do we not feel something amiss unless our child is also learning Football, Tennis, Music, Dance, Karate, and Abacus etc. etc.? It is no rocket science that somewhere one reason for our kids being ungrateful is that they have seen our behaviour. They have seen us living dissatisfied; dying dissatisfied. They have seen us spending days and nights calculating the worth of people and gifts… Have they heard us look up in gratitude and say: ‘We have enough; we need nothing more. We are happy; we are contented. Thank you ever so much for bestowing so many blessings on us.’

They have heard us wondering which house and car next to buy… How many times have your children seen you sigh in relief that you have all that is needed for a good life? They have heard the mother lament for more clothes, gold, diamonds, bags and shoes. They have seen the father on the laptop for long hours –in search of more lucrative mutual funds and shares to invest in.

While it is no crime to yearn for more and seek better life styles, it is the lack of relief and contentment expressed that probably is touching the souls of our children. And of course, added to this attitude is our obsession to give them the Best, that is ruining their development. A friend who is the Vice-President HR in a reputed Foreign Bank decided along with his wife (who is a senior Software Professional) that they would have just one child so that they could give the Best to the child. While every couple’s decision in this matter is a very private one, on which none should comment, yet it should make us ponder at least-- that we have chosen to give Things to our children, rather than a sibling! Which University in the world can teach as much as or more than the precious childhood years with a sibling can??? And which such gadget you can gift your child which will give the child security and joy as the presence of a sibling does?

One or two generations ago, there were contented parents and grandparents who were the role-models for us. I do not remember discussions on money, shares, second and third homes, or other luxuries—amongst my grandparents or parents either. Do You? As far as I remember there were strict instructions that not a morsel of food was to be wasted; newspapers were read aloud; Books were bought for us as ‘rewards’ for good behaviour; there were very few, but very memorable visits to restaurants and the Best was not handed to us on a platter. A visit to a park did not mean that the mother or maid carried a bag full of juices, chips, pizzas, chocolates, flavoured milk and a whole lot of other goodies. Our children in the parks here can be seen gorging on all of these and many more goodies within a two-hour span. They open cans, packets, and bottles without a care, ---take a bite or sip and throw the rest, mindful of the fact that there is abundant at home or will be available at the next trip to the store.

Discontentment has seeped into our beings so much so that even husbands and wives do not look up and thank God for the partner they are blessed with. We are dissatisfied with our Bosses, our colleagues, our friends, our neighbours… We discuss at home the lacunae in the behaviour of others. We are not satisfied with the increments, bonuses, salaries etc. We are unhappy that we are not getting what we deserve—then how will our children sleep with a smile, knowing that they have got in abundance?

There is but one answer to the Question that why are our children yearning for more and more, and not grateful for what they have…

The answer lies in a simple picking up of the mirror, followed by a pause and a bit of thinking.

Dr. Navniit Gandhi is an academic, an author, counsellor/trainer and a freelance writer/columnist. She writes extensively for several newspapers, magazines, web-portals and academic publications and has authored six Books till date. Raindrops — a collection of usual and unusual short love stories— published and released in Feb 2018 is her latest literary endeavor.
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Express your comment on this article

Murtaza Bhaila
Posted on Wednesday, September 6, 2017

Excellent article!
We are taught that - If you get "Satisfied"... you will not be able to progress. The constant urge to get more, newer Things, and the freedom to get it anew if lost has made us very "casual" about the blessings we have. Our children are simply copying us!

Santhosh Menon
Posted on Tuesday, August 8, 2017

Brilliant ...very poignant and well written ....definitely some soul searching required here ...Kudos ..take a bow for opening our eyes !

Christopher Fernandes
Posted on Friday, July 28, 2017

Dr. Gandhi what's said is story of every home parents from all walks of LIFE... Thankyou awakening call knowingly we forgot taking things for granted.

Cheryl Fernandes
Posted on Wednesday, July 26, 2017

very nice article. every bit of it is right. we as parents must first thank for everything in our life so that our kids learns to thank.

thanks dear

Posted on Sunday, July 2, 2017

Excellent write up ! a valued etiquette, virtue and a quality lost in rat race. gratitude is a gift many of us are missing.
Thanks for bringing this up.

Posted on Saturday, May 27, 2017

wonderful article and very true indeed. let's be grateful to what God has given us n cherish so that our children also will emulate us

Posted on Saturday, May 20, 2017

Materials make the house but people make it a home. House(materials) becomes home(family), only if there is love between each other. What is a use of big houses when there is no love between each other? Small pretty home is better than big beautiful material house. IN THE END, LOVE IS IMPORTANT THAN MATERIAL.

Don’t know how many days left in our life. Stay Together. There is a guarantee that work will be there till our last breath but there is no guarantee that our loved ones will be there till our last breath.

Many people have wasted their valuable time in trying to fulfill what others wanted. Life is so beautiful if one is satisfy in what he/she has.

RUNNING, Running, running, Where don’t know, FINALLY DEATH BY LEAVING ALL OUR MATERIALS & FAME BEHIND US. Only our Deeds (Good or Bad) will go with us after our Death!

Posted on Saturday, May 20, 2017

Materials make the house but people make it a home. House(materials) becomes home(family), only if there is love between each other. What is a use of big houses when there is no love between each other? Small pretty home is better than big beautiful material house. In the end, love is important than material.

Don’t know how many days left in our life – Stay Together – There is a guarantee that work will be there till our last breath but there is no guarantee that our loved ones will be there till our last breath.

RUNNING, Running, running, Where don’t know, Finally death by leaving all our materials & fame behind us.

Posted on Friday, May 19, 2017

Truly said.

Someone I know has been practicing a very simple exercise each morning since the last 20+ years.

As soon as she gets up, she recites the names of all those who have helped her right from her early childhood. Those acts of help could be 'trivial' or really life changing.

She says her prayers much later in the morning - emphasizing 'those who helped me are my real angels' .

She IS VERY contented. Not to mention that this has influenced others as well.

Pls check out


May you be benefited !

Posted on Wednesday, May 17, 2017

Very enlightening. Highly impressed. Keep writing.

Dhody Thomas
Posted on Monday, May 15, 2017

One of the best reads in IIK ...
Thank you for the wonderfull article

Siva Mani
Posted on Monday, May 15, 2017

Very True, Good Article.
We need to Thank God first and guide our children in a nice spiritual way giving importance to the Values and not Money!

Posted on Sunday, May 14, 2017

So true and informative...Dr. Navniit.
God bless you.

Suman Kalia
Posted on Sunday, May 14, 2017

So very true and hit the nail on the head! And this is not confined to one country or race or religion. I see so much materialism around me that one wonders how much a single human being can consume in terms of food, enjoy how many diamonds and clothes. And the most negative things that I find in our countries - the so called under-developed or developing countries is the will and determination to give little back to the society, If each one of us decides to contribute for the betterment of our society (in whatever small way they can), we will surely leave behind a better place for the future generations to live.

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