The dilemma of children
In reminiscence of the profound childhood memories and vast
experience in life, Colombo University Sinhala Department Senior
Lecturer Prof. Sarath Wijesooriya expresses his concern over the present
day condition in the world of children, in an interview with the Daily
"I was born in a peaceful small and humble village called
Boragodawatta in Minuwangoda. This village was closely bound with
nature. I grew up with the love, care
Negative influence of modern technology
and attention of my parents. With the arrival of the open economy,
complex lifestyle began, where people engage in a rat race rather than
enjoying life. Therefore I doubt whether children of today's society
have the same kind of mental satisfaction that we received in the past".
In recent history, we witness a clear increase in the number of
suicides among youth as they are isolated and deal with a bunch of
psychological disorders. According to Prof. Sarath Wijesooriya the
negative influence of media, mobile phones, internet and exams have
taken their toll upon the youth. There is a huge commercial propaganda
to promote brand names of various communication networks. These distort
the minds of the youth and fill them with futile and unwanted things.
Most of these arouse sexual desires. So there is no wonder that the
youth is easily attracted to them. These things have contributed towards
an emerging trend of bad behavior. This has belittled the gravity of
romantic relationships. Today, we often see instant relationships and
their instant calling offs.
If there is good communication between parents and children they
could be guided towards the correct path.
"Parents should deal with their children as friends. During our
childhood, our family members used to discuss daily experiences and
incidents even at the dinning table. We never wasted our time in front
of the TV it is not the case today.
For a child, the family environment is highly influential. If the
parents lead a happy, satisfactory and united family life, the life of
the child invariably becomes happy and relaxed.
Wijesooriya identifies this kind of a family as an ideal place for a
child to grow up.
"The unfortunate situation is that, many family units in the present
day have lost its peacefulness and serenity. When a child is born, the
mother gets isolated with a heap of responsibilities and duties. The
contribution of husbands in domestic work is less, and some of them
interpret them as wives duties. Therefore women become highly stressed.
This break down in the family unit is often seen amidst the educated
It is with the intend to express these ideas and attitudes in his
mind Prof. Wijesooriya has written books such as 'Iskoleta Baradeema
(Handing Over to the School), 'Adaraya Denenna Jeewath Wenna (Let the
Love be Felt), Jeewithayata Garu Karanna (Respect Life) and Atheethaya.....
Sithaka Vehesa (Weary Mind) was written by him gathering true stories he
encountered about weary husbands due to the collapse of family life.
With the lapse of time, he was provoked to write Sithaka Vehesa 2 (Weary
Mind 2) collecting the true stories of women found to be suffering from
on the same condition. In that he brings out the idea that the women
fall to the bottom rung of life when they do not receive the necessary
admiration for the work they undertake.
Electronic media is capable of making greater influence to children.
Recalling the past, Wijesooriya mentioned that, radio was the powerful
medium during his childhood.
"Radio was very influential at that time. We were able to receive
good education and knowledge through it.
It is due to the influence of radio that we even today use language
very aptly. Even the songs of our time had deeper meanings and those
could be really entertaining. Today technology is advance, but I see an
unidentified small dissatisfaction among its users."
The overwhelming number of TV channels in today have invaded the
leisure of our children in a drastic manner. Wijesooriya pointed out
that even some cartoons shown on TV are not suitable for the child's
mind. "Some of these create aggressiveness in children. When we evaluate
the content of many teledramas today, they contain the stories of broken
family units and domestic violence. Nobody can have a sound sleep after
The role of the mother is the most important factor that affects
children. Prof. Wijesooriya claims that a child cannot be reared
properly in the absence of mother.
"I see that at least one parent of well brought up children is either
a teacher or a principal." A teacher's contribution has a greater
influence on shaping the personality of a child. Teachers must feel
empathy. The heart of a teacher must be sensitive. They should not get
angry over the mistakes of children.
Wijesooriya recalled the teachers of his time during our encounter.
"Unlike today, there was huge support from teachers for us. Teachers of
our time loved children. When a student was absent they visited his/her
home and inquire about him/her. There was high respect from the society
for teachers. They were in a good economic position and did not pursue
The syllabus was small at that time, but they taught us many external
things from than the syllabus. They even conducted extra classes after
school without pursuing money. Today we see only a battle to cover the
With prof. Wijesooriya's observations that teachers do not make a
great impact on children, he wrote the book Daruwanta Gahanna Epa (Don't
hit children) to create empathy in teachers. He wrote this book with the
incentives he got with the birth of his first child.
"After writing this I got both admirations as well as angry comments.
Thereafter I got invitations to address various audiences through which
I believe that I could make a positive change in society".
"Society must go forward while protecting the deep bounds and
qualities within it. For that we must make sure that our future
generation grows up in a society that they can rely on. For that we must
really love our children.