The Right Kind Of Parenting Can Set Right A World Of Wrongs

Period Paath logoEditor’s Note: This article is a part of #Periodपाठ, a campaign by Youth Ki Awaaz in collaboration with WSSCC, to highlight the need for better menstrual hygiene management among menstruating persons in India. Join the conversation to take action and demand change! The views expressed in this article are the author’s and are not necessarily the views of the partners.

In this hustle and bustle of life we often hear, see and talk about a hundred things around us and mostly, if you notice, all these activities have one thing in common, they are all of a negative nature (mind you, I said mostly). Either we criticise the PM or we speak ill of our bosses or are stressed about our weight while eating french fries!

I wanted to share something really positive I found while surfing the internet (that’s where maximum time is spent these days). So here was a parent who had put up a post thanking the mother of a 14-year-old boy. Wondering what this ‘Thank you‘ was for?

The previous afternoon, this person’s 13-year-old daughter was returning from school when she got her first period. Yes, you read it right, I am talking about the so-called ‘time of the month’ or ‘difficult days’ (in Hindi, you have various hilarious names for this). So the girl had just started menstruating and got a stain on her skirt. Now this stain was noticed by a boy who caught hold of her, took her to the side and told her there was a stain on her skirt and offered his sweater to tie around her waist to get off of the bus.

The girl was a little embarrassed initially and was hesitated before taking the sweater. The boy noticed this and whispered that he had sisters and that it was all was good. Isn’t it amazing that we do have people around us who do not consider periods as a taboo and have raised their children with these same progressive teachings! And that great lady has also taught her son to treat periods as a normal occurrence.

We read so many negative things about the youth today, but reading about this small incident made me realise just how important it is to raise our children right, especially boys, in today’s world. We keep on saying we want a safe, secure, and healthy world to live in for our girls. Where will we get this world from? Is someone from another planet going to come and create this world for us? Of course not! The answer is that by being good parents, by setting good examples, by passing on a broad, understanding mind to our coming generation, we can create a better world.

Is it really that difficult to create a world that is safe for all of us? No, it’s not but only if we practice what we preach. Just imagine if all the boys of this tender age learned to behave in such a mature and modest way, won’t our girls feel protected? Girls will also have access to all those things which they are denied once they start to bleed! Won’t this world, and for that matter, we as a society, grow and flourish?

It is often said, do the small things right, and the bigger will fall into place automatically. Let’s begin by teaching our boys what is right, what matters, and what is important to create a world that will benefit everyone. Even by one such example (like the one above), a huge difference can be made.

Remember, everything you say or do, your children are listening and watching, and this includes how you treat your spouse to how you treat women to how you address periods. So, do not poison them by being a hypocrite, but instead set an example for how they should treat men, women, and just people in general.

Featured image for representation only.
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A former Assistant Secretary with the Ministry of Women and Child Development in West Bengal for three months, Lakshmi Bhavya has been championing the cause of menstrual hygiene in her district. By associating herself with the Lalana Campaign, a holistic menstrual hygiene awareness campaign which is conducted by the Anahat NGO, Lakshmi has been slowly breaking taboos when it comes to periods and menstrual hygiene.

A Gender Rights Activist working with the tribal and marginalized communities in india, Srilekha is a PhD scholar working on understanding body and sexuality among tribal girls, to fill the gaps in research around indigenous women and their stories. Srilekha has worked extensively at the grassroots level with community based organisations, through several advocacy initiatives around Gender, Mental Health, Menstrual Hygiene and Sexual and Reproductive Health Rights (SRHR) for the indigenous in Jharkhand, over the last 6 years.

Srilekha has also contributed to sustainable livelihood projects and legal aid programs for survivors of sex trafficking. She has been conducting research based programs on maternal health, mental health, gender based violence, sex and sexuality. Her interest lies in conducting workshops for young people on life skills, feminism, gender and sexuality, trauma, resilience and interpersonal relationships.

A Guwahati-based college student pursuing her Masters in Tata Institute of Social Sciences, Bidisha started the #BleedwithDignity campaign on the technology platform Change.org, demanding that the Government of Assam install
biodegradable sanitary pad vending machines in all government schools across the state. Her petition on Change.org has already gathered support from over 90000 people and continues to grow.

Bidisha was selected in Change.org’s flagship program ‘She Creates Change’ having run successful online advocacy
campaigns, which were widely recognised. Through the #BleedwithDignity campaign; she organised and celebrated World Menstrual Hygiene Day, 2019 in Guwahati, Assam by hosting a wall mural by collaborating with local organisations. The initiative was widely covered by national and local media, and the mural was later inaugurated by the event’s chief guest Commissioner of Guwahati Municipal Corporation (GMC) Debeswar Malakar, IAS.

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