Abhinay Sharma, Chief Administrative Officer, St Mary's (Sancta Maria) Group. (Image: DC)
As a sportsman, I recognised early on that the best way to teach my boys to be responsible and courteous was to get them involved in sports at a young age. My two sons began playing cricket at the age of four. Playing fields are learning grounds and as a father, I got to demonstrate certain values and sporting spirit while playing together with my boys. Because it is a team sport, they learned to respect their teammates as well as their opponents, regardless of their personal appraisal of the other players’ ability.
In a sport like cricket, one can underestimate others only at one’s own peril. They also learnt early on how to accept rejections. It only helped them become more resilient and inculcated a ‘never say die’ attitude. My older son fought his way back from rejections and injuries to become the youngest cricketer to take all 10 wickets in an innings in the UK. My younger son at the age of 10 was picked by a Spanish club for a high performance football camp. He stayed alone for a month in Madrid and learnt how to be responsible financially.
‘Being vulnerable is "a natural aspect of being human’
Kamal Narayan, CEO, IHW Council
Celebrating gender equality and the important yet underappreciated role that men play in improving the world for everybody, International Men’s Day is a fitting occasion to talk about the wellbeing and mental health of men worldwide. The global theme for the 2023 Men’s Day is "Zero Male Suicide."
The subject emphasises the value of mental health for boys and men and encourages open discussion about it without stigmatising their actions or desires. In our nation, toxic masculinity and ego are frequently associated with manhood, and men are expected to be emotionally closed off and not to cry.
It’s time we taught our sons that being vulnerable is a natural aspect of being human, not a sign of weakness or girlish behaviour. We must give our boys a safe place to process their feelings, such as rage, disappointment and rejection, given the rising rate of suicides and mental health problems. Suppressing one’s voice, opinions, or emotions can have detrimental long-term implications on one’s mental health.
C.R. Sriniwas, Group Vice President, HR
My 16-year-old son is developing into a confident and responsible young adult. I’ve watched him develop from a timid, lethargic and dependent child to the man he is now. There are a few things that every parent should bear in mind as they see their kids develop into men:
1. Encourage open communication, something that is in the moment, non-judgmental, and articulate — there is no room for ambiguity.
2. Set a good example in whatever you do. You must be a role model because they are watching you at all times.
3. Start conversations about empathy with children. It helps them calibrate their thoughts.
4. Encourage kids to be part of key discussions and decisions as they grow older.
5. Allow kids to gain independence such as going out with friends, purchasing clothes or accessories they like, and so on.
6. Train children on financial prudence.
7. Encourage healthy relationships by discussing concepts such as consent, boundaries, and treating others with respect.
8. Offer some assistance or advice to help make children more confident, in relation to the physical transformation of teenaged males.
Compassion for animals
Arvind Krishna, Telugu Actor and brand ambassador of Veganuary India
Aside from my strong belief that a vegan diet is healthier, I became vegan because I care about animals. I am also consciously establishing these values in my children. Advait is maturing into a self-aware individual who will accept responsibility for the life decisions he makes. He already understands that all animals are friends and should not be hurt (dogs, cats, cows, pigs, etc.). We humans share our planet with animals which have the same right to life as we do.
Walk the talk
Nikhil Kapur, an Ironman Tri-athlete, and Co-Founder and Director of Atmantan, Wellness Centre
Walking the talk is the best approach to impact children. My father was an Indian Army commander, who lived by a value system. He was a high-ranking sports personality who always supported a healthy lifestyle, hard work, and upheld tenets which included respect for women.
I drew inspiration from him with regard to:
1) Spending quality time with my son to create connection and trust.
2) Discussing critical issues with children, as their interpretation is often spot on because they have an outside perspective.
3) Being patient as a father, and allowing children to make errors, so that they grow up into responsible adults.
4) Letting children know that I am always there for them.
Ramesh Jain, entrepreneur
A father is critical in influencing a child’s behaviour and character. Fathers make a big contribution to raising children who are well-behaved, disciplined, and confident by modelling respect and responsibility, setting the framework for their future success and well-being.
Like father, like son
Suniel Nautiyal, Director Operations, Zamit
Sons are more likely to internalise positive ideals, strong character, and a sense of responsibility when their fathers model these qualities. I set an example for others by stressing respect for both our culture and the other gender. My intention is for my son to develop a positive, well-rounded understanding of what it means to be a man in today’s world by helping him to understand and accept a broad, inclusive definition of masculinity. We involve him in the planning of family activities, rules for the house, and decision-making processes.
"Playing fields are learning grounds and as a father, I demonstrate certain values and sporting spirit while playing together with my boys."