Who in this universe does not have any addictions or bad habits? Virtually everyone except the Almighty. And His Prophets, angels, and any others whom He chooses. The greatest thing for a writer or for that matter any other professional is acceptance of his/her work. And honest feedback about it. Besides, a request for work on a particular topic is the perfect icing on the cake! Especially for writers. I have had quite a few informal, verbal requests.
But a formal request and that too from a respected writing platform like Medium is one close to the heart. I had such a request a few months ago (yes, I have been having too much writer’s block these days). It was for a write-up about the different kinds of sleep disorders. Unfortunately, I have not honored that request yet! I will, hopefully, in a few days.
Written below are the beginning lines in a book I am planning to write. I need your honest feedback on this. Before you start reading the lines, let me state from the Holy Quran that human beings were created weak. They can be the best and the worst too, unfortunately! No human being is immune from sin/s. However, this does not mean that we do not give up trying to be safe from sin. We should continue doing so. And kick Satan out of our hearts!
Am I dreaming or asking for too much by saying no to addictions or bad habits?
Probably, but there is no harm in trying, right? So, where do I even start? Let me begin with one’s childhood. Because this is when all the good and bad habits form usually. And remain throughout one’s life. Leading to addictions or bad habits remaining in our systems if formed unfortunately. Does that mean we cannot change at all? No! Hope lies eternal in the human breast. Therefore, one should always remain hopeful. And maintain a cheerful outlook throughout life.
Deluge of content!
However, all the above-mentioned things are easier said than done! With so much of everything, we are faced with the problem of ‘plenty’! Plenty of content – written, visual, audio, etc. Among all of these, visual content presents the biggest problems. People tend to get titillated. And overstimulated by this category of content. Leading to shorter periods of sleep during the night. And consequently shorter waking hours during the day. This is creating a huge population of ‘zombies/night owls’. Who cannot execute their abilities to the best of their abilities. With loads of addictions or bad habits enshrined in their systems!
I am not saying that working during the night should be not encouraged or banned. In many places, a 24x7x365 culture is becoming the norm. And that is good for businesses. In that, it generates more jobs. However, it has its own set of problems associated with it. Besides, there are certain jobs where day and night do not matter at all. For example, people work as drivers in the entire transportation sector (land, air, and water); doctors, nurses, and paramedical staff in emergency, and casualty services; and countless other businesses and services.
An idle mind is still a devil’s workshop and cause of addictions or bad habits!
Trust me, this is still the most important thing to remember in all of our lives. One needs to keep one’s mind preoccupied with something good and useful. This will translate into proper and meaningful actions and work. And lead to a productive and useful society. As simple as that. Sounds pretty good and easy to implement, right? Not so fast! The eternal and omnipresent Satan is present everywhere. From the neurons and other cells in our bodies to virtually everywhere in this world and the universe. But one cannot forget the eternal promise of the Almighty too that He will save anyone who seeks refuge in Him.
Long story short, even if one does not believe in the concept of God, Satan, etc., there is always an inherent and innate quality in every human being. To distinguish between good and bad. So, everyone can certainly tap into this inbuilt power within themselves. And remain grounded in the reality of good. Staying away from bad. Especially addictions or bad habits. Agreed, everyone strays from the straight and good path occasionally. But then, one can even bounce back from the strayed path to the correct one.
So, how does one ward Satan away and keep him at a yard’s length?
Simple, keep on doing something useful. Throughout the day and night. And especially, the night is very important compared to the day. This brings us to another popular saying, ‘The wolf eats the sheep that strays off on its own’. Therefore, stick to the congregation. Or better still your congregation. By congregation, it can mean one’s immediate family, neighbors, society, etc. This is very important. As it helps to build, grow, and sustain the bonds between one other. This bonding helps create a positive environment in the minds, bodies, homes, and society.
So, does this mean that one should never be alone and enjoy some ‘me’-time? No. Everyone is certainly entitled to their ‘me’-time/s. But extreme care should be taken to not turn this ‘me’-time into ‘destructive’. Or even worse a ‘disaster’ time. The trick to all this is to respect the age-old adage, ‘Early to bed and early to rise!’ This will help one stick to and maintain a healthy lifestyle mentally, physically, and spiritually too. And hopefully keep us free from addictions or bad habits.
Let us start from where it all began, I mean the addictions or bad habits!
Yes, I am talking about one’s childhood! During this most important phase of our lives, all our important and lifelong habits are formed. Of course, this does not mean we do not develop habits once we grow older. But our basic mental constitution, our attitude, and several other important aspects of our behaviors tend to get grounded in our minds during our childhood. So, it is very important to not neglect this aspect of any child’s life.
Unfortunately, this is easier said than done in today’s world! With the world running after money, it leads to both husband and wife working day and night. And with the concept of ultra-nuclear families taking root everywhere, there are hardly any families where grandparents or other elders are present to take care of children. Besides, elders are usually scoffed at openly these days. And their own children don’t want to take care of them. Unless they have ulterior motives. Leaving the children in the hands of either daycare or babysitters/child caretakers. The problem is so huge and starts so early in a child’s life that maybe one year is the maximum that the child is with the mother.
Corporates should become maternal-friendly and paternal-friendly too!
There is considerable pressure on mothers to return to their workplaces at the earliest after childbearing. And once their maternal leave is exhausted, it is back to square one. True, some companies offer even paternity leave. And some husbands do chip in to help their spouses/wives. But time passes very fast. And the kids are left with the entities mentioned above. I am not saying that they are not useful or helpful.
But there is something very important about the early, formative years of one’s childhood. I feel that children should remain in their homes during their first five years of their lives. This might sound extremely difficult for working parents. However, the habits instilled during these formative years remain throughout one’s life. And who is better than the parents or someone similarly close in instilling good habits/upbringing in children? Hence, I am advocating that children should preferably spend their first five years in their own homes.
Well, what about the period after five years?
Here starts the most tricky and tumultuous period. This does not stop until the kids become adolescents and adults after that. So, what does one do in this period? Homeschooling is one very good option. With all the advances in technology, I do not understand why ed-tech startups are not able to provide a ‘school in an app’ (SIAP)! While it is true that some very good organizations like Khan Academy are doing a lot in this direction, there is still a huge gap in this area. Agreed, mostly profit is the sole criterion while creating ed-tech or for that matter any other business. But can’t profit be achieved while combining it with innovative and new-age pedagogical techniques?