Pratap was a young child who lived in Gandhi's Ashram at Sabarmati (Gujarat). Gandhi made no distinction between his "immediate family" and the members of the Ashram community. They were all members of his family. He was concerned about their welfare, their habits, their diet, their health, their dress, work and everything else. He was equally concerned with the way they moulded their character or brought up their children. Gandhi had a pocket watch. He kept it on his table. Sometimes when his visitors showed no signs of getting up and leaving, though the time he had agreed to give was over, he would gently lift up the watch and hold it up before the eyes of the visitor, to remind him that his time was up. Sometimes when he was walking about, the watch would be dangling from the fold of the dhoti tucked on his hip. One day, when Pratap and his mother were in front of Gandhi, the child caught sight of the dangling chain and the watch. They attracted him. He wanted them, and began pulling and tugging at his mother's sari, making it plain that he would not leave her in peace till he got the watch and the chain. Gandhi watched for a while, and sized up the situation. He walked up to the child and put the watch against its ear. As the child listened intently to the tick-tick, he said to the child, "Hear, how well it ticks! tick-tick, tick-tick." Then he took the watch off from the child's ear, and said "You have your toys. I have mine. This is my toy. So you should not ask for it," and he moved on to other matters. Gandhi believed that parents had a heavy responsibility to the children under their care. It extended not only to feeding and clothing the child, but to training the mind of the child. Everything they did or did not do had an effect on the mind of the child and the habits it formed. The child should never be encouraged to make unreasonable demands or do things which resulted in the formation of unwholesome habits. Parents had to set examples, wean and nudge, and above all make full use of the law of love, to train children in the duties that love cast on both sides.
Source: Bapii As I saw hint - Ram Narayan Chaudhuri.
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