Arun was playing with his younger sister, Nina in a park. The park was beautiful lush green with many swing sets, see-saw, and slides for the kids. As the sibling played heartily in the park, their mother was sitting on a bench nearby, talking on the phone. Just then, Arun came running to his mother and said, “Mamma, we are hungry. What snacks do you have?”
“Oh…my children are hungry! I have got chips, muffins and apples…” said his mother while taking out the food items one by one.
“We want chips!!!!” exclaimed the kids in unison as their eyes sparkled looking at the packet full of deliciousness.
“Ok ok, here you go!” said their mother.
After the kids were done relishing on the chips and some muffins as well, Arun asked, “Mamma, where do I throw the wrappers?”
Their mother searched for a garbage bin, but it was a bit far from their bench. With no realization of the consequences of her answer, she said, “Throw it here itself. There are people to clean the park!”
The kids obeyed their mother and threw the wrappers near the bench. After some time, they all left the park with happy moods and a plan of coming back to the same park the next day.
But, the thrown wrappers stayed on the ground accompanied by many more by the end of the day. That beautiful corner of the park was soon filled with garbage.
We all do a lot of ‘eewws’ and ‘yucks’ when a garbage truck passes by. But what about the fact that we are making our planet a big pile of junk?
What an Irony!
This year marks the 150th birth anniversary of Mahatma Gandhi. We call him the father of the nation but how much time do we take out to think about his teachings?
Mahatma Gandhi not only fought for the freedom of this country but also put forward the importance of cleanliness. Throughout his life, he urged people to maintain good hygiene practices, spread awareness about cleanliness, both internally as well as externally. He stressed on the fact that the lavatories should be kept clean to live a healthy life. Gandhiji was completely against the common practice of spitting after chewing on tobacco and betel leaves.
He once said,
“I will not let anyone walk through my mind with their dirty feet”
He believed that sanitation is the most important thing in life and people should not treat it with less priority.
“Everyone should be their own scavenger”
So true. Because your hygiene determines your health.
Moreover, how many times we have heard this phrase – Cleanliness is Next to Godliness? This phrase has now left to be called clichéd with people scrolling down the message. Sanitation is not only the responsibility of the Government or local governing bodies or any concerned authority appointed for the same. It is also the responsibility of everyone to understand the importance of sanitation in and around us and act upon it.
The first step towards cleanliness is to educate our future generations through practice and inculcation of a few habits from the beginning. We need to make them understand the importance of cleanliness and not just by making them repeat the phrase ‘Cleanliness is next to Godliness’ 10 times a day.
Following are a few habits about cleanliness and hygiene you can teach your child. (Also practice what you preach, that’s the most important thing!)
Always use the dustbin.
Be it in the house or in the public, encourage your kids to use dustbin no matter what. Make them understand the importance of recycling and reusing. You can segregate the garbage into recyclable and non-recyclable in your house itself. After all, charity begins at home.
Encourage your kids to take good care of skin, oral health, nails and good menstrual hygiene. Make them understand that washing hands before any meals are not only a habit that should be followed at home, but at school as well. Personal hygiene for kids is a very important point for parents to consider after all health and cleanliness go hand-in-hand.
Kids will keep the public places clean when they learn to keep the house clean ‘on their own.’ Segregate your household chores with them and let them take the responsibility of keeping the house tidy.
Inculcate the habit of folding their sheets in the morning and fold the uniform after school. They’ll understand if their clothes or sheet require cleaning and eventually this will invoke the feeling of being responsible for their own hygiene.
Internal cleanliness of the mind is as important as external hygiene. Inculcate the habit of daily exercise in your kid along with meditation. Kids go through a lot of stress due to exams, peer pressure, scorecards, etc. Exercise and meditation will help them flush out any negative feelings and cleanse their mind.
Climate change and the irresponsibility toward garbage disposal are closely knitted together. The earth is now tired of hiding our mistakes. It is very easy to play blame games. We can’t even throw a wrapper that’s lying on the ground if it is not ours. Our health and cleanliness is our responsibility first to make this world a better place for our future generations. It is important that we make our children aware of the value of internal as well as external cleanliness. It is time to wake up, really it is!