Society Norms and My Goals (August 2023)

For every mother and father, their little ones become the center of their world the moment their kids come into it. Kids’ well-being, growth, and happiness occupy parents’ thoughts day and night. Parents continuously engage in activities to make their kids smart, intelligent, athletic, and experts in various domains. But it is often noticed that as time goes on and kids grow up and become adults, the same kids don’t always show the same level of concern towards their parents or society. Why does this happen? Could it be that in their fervor to make their kids a most successful individual, parents forget to teach their kids an important lesson – the significance of balancing personal goals with being a concerned citizen? This is the theme of this month’s assignment. The 10th principle of the Arya Samaj emphasizes the importance of balancing individualism and being a concerned citizen. Becoming a model citizen doesn’t mean one needs to sacrifice one’s personal goals for others; rather, it’s about becoming a well-rounded individual who understands the needs of others and contributes positively to society.

Principle in Hindi: सब मनुष्यों को सामाजिक सर्वाहितकारी नियम पालने में परतन्त्र रहना चाहिए आर प्रत्येक हितकारी नियम पालने सब स्वतंत्र रहें।

Principle in English: All human beings should subject themselves in abiding by the rules of social interest and should be free to enjoy freedom of action for the individual wellbeing.

The 10th principle states that it is vital to consider societal interest when our actions directly affect others, but it is equally important to nurture a sense of boundless freedom when pursuing personal growth. Let’s understand the two points stated in this principle.

In society, we must abide by the rules and expectations of our community when what we do can affect other people. It’s really important to note that here we are talking about those actions that affect other people. Such acts need scrutiny, but we must not consider these rules and restrictions as obstructions. Instead, these rules are there to help everyone get along better and feel respected. When we follow these rules, we make sure that our actions do not hurt or upset others. By being mindful of how our behavior can impact others and following the guidelines set by our community, we help create a friendly and fair environment where everyone feels good and treated nicely.

The second point is about having complete freedom in pursuing our personal goals. Trying to become better and learn new things means we must sometimes go beyond the usual things that people do. When we grow, it means we’re changing, trying new things, and facing things that might feel a bit uncomfortable. This can mean doing things that aren’t exactly what everyone else does. To do this, we have to think and act in our own unique way, even if it’s different from what others usually do. This helps us learn more about ourselves and the world around us.

The limitations we must follow when our actions affect others and the freedom we must exercise to chase our personal goals might seem like they’re pulling us in different directions, but they actually work together in an important way.  Let’s understand this point though a couple of examples that many of you can easily relate to.

Meet Ekansh, a high school student with a goal to become a skilled programmer and create video games. While also being a supportive older sibling to Gargi and Ishan, Ekansh maintains a balanced approach. He sets aside specific times for siblings’ needs, ensuring he is available for homework and play. Simultaneously, Ekansh dedicates focused hours to coding during breaks or evenings. This way, he chases his passion without neglecting family responsibilities. Ekansh involves Gargi and Ishan in coding projects, strengthening sibling bonds and introducing them to programming.

In the nearby city lives Ridhi, a teenager who navigates the challenge of balancing her passion for art with her parents’ active engagement in community service. Ridhi openly discusses her interests with her parents, who encourage both personal growth and societal contributions. By creatively merging her artistic talent with their parents’ initiatives, Ridhi designs promotional materials for events. This blends her skills with meaningful support. Ridhi schedules time for art while aiding her parents, demonstrating that personal growth and societal commitments can coexist harmoniously.

I am sure you have noticed that by managing time and blending interests, Ekansh demonstrates that personal growth and family duties can harmoniously coexist. And, through communication, creativity, and time management, Ridhi showcases how personal pursuits can align with community contributions.

Below are some of the benefits one acquires when they carefully manage and balance the considerations for others with the free pursuit of individual goals.

  • Improved Time Management: Learning to balance personal aspirations with responsibilities requires effective time management.
  • Skills Development: Juggling personal pursuits alongside responsibilities exposes individuals to a diverse range of skills.
  • Understanding and Consideration: The act of balancing personal goals with responsibilities towards others fosters empathy and understanding.
  • Resilience and Adaptability: Navigating different spheres of life cultivates resilience and adaptability.
  • Well-rounded Growth: Managing the balance between personal growth and responsibilities promotes wholesome development.
  • Positive Role Modeling: Balancing personal goals and responsibilities sets a positive example for others.
  • Sense of Fulfillment: Successfully managing the balance between personal growth and responsibilities brings a sense of accomplishment and fulfillment.

Unfortunately, several of the above-mentioned attributes are missing from the lives of the so-called “successful” adults because they solely focused on their individual growth. They considered the concerns of society and others as irrelevant. Let’s avoid this mistake.

In this month’s assignment, I request kids to do the following:

  1. Share the 10th principle of the Arya Samaj in Hindi and English.
  2. Provide a brief understanding of this principle.
  3. Share an example of how they have managed or will manage their individual aspirations along with their responsibilities towards others.
  4. List a few benefits they think they will acquire by learning to manage the balance.

With this principle, Swami Dayanand Saraswati shares a framework for ideal individuals and healthy society.  Let’s work together to create that vision and live a wholesome life.

Best Regards,

Harsh Mendiratta