We Reap What we Sow...

Sep 2, 2010

A school’s headmistress called me one day.  It was about a girl in the 4th Standard, whose behaviour at best was described by her teachers as weird and, at worst, mad.  Soon I met the girl’s parents as the father was eager to find out what was wrong with his daughter.

This girl’s brother was studious and the father’s pride.  The girl was ‘okay’ but the father wanted more from her.  He had ambitious plans for her higher studies.  He also had a dream that someday she would be married into a well-to-do family.  This is quite typical of any parent, but so much was his zeal that it led to verbal and physical abuses for any wrong she did.  In her short schooling years, she had received little or no love from her father – and when she did, it was purely conditional.  Gradually she began to dread her studies and her father.  The girl was like a pressure cooker on the boil, with a malfunctioning valve that would not allow her fears, anxieties and even anger to escape.  It escaped almost involuntarily at school.  The girl would hit, jab, poke, pinch and push other girls without any provocation.  Further, the girl hardly smiled and looked wide-eyed at everyone.

Reminding him of her present condition, I begged the girl’s father to take his own time to ponder over a simple question: going the way she was going, would his daughter become anything for anyone by the time she reached adulthood?  Two minutes later, he cried tears that came down like rain.  In my heart I instantly knew that the girl could be saved.  It was only forty-five minutes later that he was able to regain his composure and the first question that he mumbled was, “How can I make amends?” 

I explained to him the need to communicate to his daughter how sorry he was; that he would never hurt her; that he would love her and make up for all the years that he not been good to her; and to show it in action.  The idea was to make her feel wanted and loved again.  I also reminded him not to create any time lines as it was an ongoing process.  After they left, I prayed.  The father’s heart had taken a u-turn for the better and, fortunately, the transformation in the girl began to show in less than a month. The Headmistress felt that it was a miracle. The only miracle here was the father’s acknowledgement of his failure and the willingness to make reparations.

We live in a world that undeniably is governed by the universal law of cause and effect.  Simple said, if a ball is thrown at a wall, it will bounce back.  For every action there is an opposite and equal reaction.  It also means that if you a see a ball coming at you, it has happened because someone threw it first.  This is the physical aspect of the law.  In chemistry, if we mix one acid with another, the effect is not less than obnoxious and even dangerous. 

Our lives – mind, body and spirit - are governed by the same law, but with effects that may or may not be proportionate to the causes.  Today’s diagnostic machines are capable of looking at very small details  in our body and they have confirmed what our grandparents would tell us: “Child, don’t take tension, it is not good for you.”  While there is an effect, it may not be immediate.  One effect also has the potential to cause another, and over a period of time, the original cause may even become masked.  That is why so many times we are left wondering what went wrong.  Further, we don’t know in what manner and to what degree the effect will be.  In the girl’s case the signs became clearly visible when she reached the 4th Standard, although early signs may have gone undetected - as it happens in many, many cases. 

We have already observed and commented, perhaps a hundred times, that the world is growing from bad to worse.  I agree, but how much part we parents have played in this deteriorating scenario? is a question that needs to be honestly examined.  We can easily blame their friends if our sons become drug addicts, but how many of us are willing to ask ourselves if we were in any way responsible for pushing them towards it?  After all, not all kids do drugs because others do. 

A lot of my friends ask me to write articles deploring our falling political and moral standards.  Don’t we have enough of that already? If we spend more time educating parents on the potential effects their actions have on their children, and eventually the world, I think we can then say that we have played our part.  Remember, it all starts from our homes.  Sure enough there is peer pressure, but children who are honed spiritually at homes, have a less chance of falling.  Even if they do fall, they have a greater chance of recovery.

Our children are not being treated like children any more.  We want our children to do the same things that we see other children do on television.  The same goes for a teenager who is studying engineering, or medicine.  I was in a chat with a professor of medicine of a very famous educational institution in Manipal and he told me that in any given year, nearly 20% to 30% of the students studying medicine never wanted to.  I have little doubt that the same holds true for engineering students, or any other stream.  No wonder we witness so many students seeking escape in drugs, alcohol and – tragically – even suicide.  In the seventies we barely heard of students committing suicide, and when it happened it was always with those studying for degrees.  The present scenario is witness to students of 10th standard committing suicide – even before their exams!

Usually the thought of death scares anyone; but, the truth is we are living in a world where parental pressure is so enormous that a child prefers to face death than life.  It is also important to remember that enormous pressure for one may not be enormous for the other.  We all have certain patterns in the way we live and behave.  Any sign that does not fit the child’s usual pattern should be enough to alert any parent.  Not that every shift in pattern should cause alarm bells to ring, but for parents whose primary objective is the mental and emotional welfare of their children, playing ignorant is not the answer.

Our stresses have other outcomes. Look at migraine alone.  A research done in the USA several years ago among women revealed that a huge percentage of women got the attack days before they knew they had to visit their mother-in-law. 

If you have tried every possible treatment for that hypertension, including diets, medicines, and several other “therapies” that this commercial world offers – and the rising pressure is still not relenting - then perhaps the underlying cause could be the anger and deep resentment that you may be holding onto.  And that calls for “spiritual” therapy.

Discontented couples go through every possible book on “the chemistry of love,”  “how to re-ignite and re-energize your married life,” “why men behave the way they do and why women behave the way they do,” – only to find some day that all that was needed was a simple apology for something that was said fifteen years ago!  This is not an overstatement - some of them remain unhappy till death does them apart.  Two maladies are at work here: Sloth of the Spirit and Sloth of the Will.  Remember what the holy scriptures say: DO NOT LET THE SUN GO DOWN ON YOUR ANGER.  That goes for our hypertension, too.

The holy scriptures have put the entire law on cause and effect plainly: WE REAP WHAT WE SOW.  Are these words an alert of impending disaster, or words of encouragement?  Either ways, the words are extremely beneficial if understood and applied.  The holy scriptures have also sounded a warning: "For they have sown the wind, and they shall reap the whirlwind."  And because God has spoken, this law – abd any law written by God - applies to every single person on this planet, or beyond it.  Civilian or criminal laws may not catch up with us, but God’s laws do.

No matter how our faith might be, not in the next billion years of asking is God going to give us grapes, if we have planted a mango sapling.  And, if we already know that, then we must also know that mere planting of a sapling is not enough; we are still required to nurture it into adulthood.  The same is equally true for us humans.

How many of us are guilty of this statement: “Son, it is a cut-throat world out there and, if you want to succeed, you need to become a cut-throat”!  We may not say it in exactly the same words, but we nonetheless imbibe it by our words and actions. 

I have borrowed something that I once saw on the wall of a clinic.  I was quite taken by its TRUTH and I hope parents, too, will:

If a child lives with criticism, he learns to condemn.
If a child lives with hostility, he learns to fight.
If a child lives with ridicule, he learns to be shy.
If a child lives with shame, he learns to be guilty.
If a child lives with tolerance, he learns to be patient.
If a child lives with encouragement, he learns confidence.
If a child lives with praise, he learns to appreciate.
If a child lives with fairness, he learns justice.
If a child lives with security, he learns to have faith.
If a child lives with approval, he learns to like himself.
If a child lives with acceptance and friendship,

I am reminded of a true story, which I would like to share:  Faced with the untimely death of his younger son, even though several years had passed, the father’s sorrow became unbearable for his wife. While he sought alcohol, his wife moved out. Fortunately, by the time he had lost everything and his eventually his life, his older son had reached college. There his basic needs were met by a relative.  The older son went on to become a very successful man and a model citizen of his community.  In an interview, he was asked how he turned out to be the person that he was when he had gone through so much turmoil during his childhood.  The young man answered, “All I remember is that every night my father would come to my room, run his fingers through my hair, kiss me on my forehead and whisper that he loved me dearly.  I have always felt his love in me.”

We are a product of what goes not just into our minds, but also our hearts.  If every parents’ objective is to see their children happy, then why lose focus?  We may have heard stories of rich people who have led very lonely lives.  Does that mean that happiness and wealth cannot go together?  It can, but only if an individual retains his capacity to love and receive love; and that is possible if he has been enriched by love. 

As long as we love our children unconditionally, then and only then is there hope for the future. 

by Oliver Sutari
Oliver Sutari, currently living in Manipal, provides free spiritual counselling service and, on invitation, visits schools and colleges to motivate students and teachers alike. He has already worked with scores of alcoholics, couples with marital problems, and individuals who saw no purpose in living. He has visited several countries and, is a self-taught photographer, who uses his knowledge, experience and skills to teach the under-privileged.

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Comment on this article

  • Anuradha, Mangalore / Pune

    Mon, Sep 20 2010

    Truly a Wonderful Article..!!! Please keep writing... Thanks a Lot..!

  • Savio Cardoz, Mumbai

    Thu, Sep 09 2010

    This is a very good & inspiring article. May the almighty God bless you & your family. Keep writing such articles, it will keep motivating many people.

  • Victor Nobby Sequeira, Kirem/Alkhobar, Saudi Arabia

    Tue, Sep 07 2010

    Dear Oliver,
    Wonderful article, it really touched my heart. While reading this I went through a small exercise within me recalling some days of my past and realized that the things should have been in a different way. Moreover this article is also a spiritual enlightenment. Please keep writing such articles and encourage parents to change their attitude and pattern with their children. God bless you & your family. I will keep in touch with you through email.

  • Oliver Sutari, Manipal

    Mon, Sep 06 2010

    Happy to know that the article has touched you. You may contact me on my email oliversutari@gmail.com or call me on my landline (820)4290960.

  • gracy brank, mangalore, valencia

    Mon, Sep 06 2010

    Dear Mr. Oliver, thank you for the great article. I would like to write to you personally. Please could you send me an email with your ID's and contact nos. thank you. I have few things to discuss on my family and get your advices.

  • Christine, manglore

    Mon, Sep 06 2010

    Health is great wealth in the life.and to stay in health emotion is the main.in our emotion to stay well need peace of mind. And it will be where have love, Mostly every one of us think we want money for our childrens high education. how we know our hard will work out? If children are good in emotionally than only they will go through that.

    We none of us born with wealth. came in naked and go same way. live high life or law we are only sometime visitor in this world. we have peace joy enough daily bread in life than only that is wealth for us. first seek the kingdom of God and he will give rest. so I can tell If we go through that he will provide all our needs. according his riches and glory.

    I thought myself and forcing me from my relatives money is most needed for children. but it not worked. And its too late for me to understand. so with experience I will tell this. who want to believe than believe.
    (Some advises can get in the bible.Ecclesiastes.) Thank you and God bless you.

  • smitha, manipal

    Mon, Sep 06 2010

    Very very good article.
    Thank you Sir and God bless!

  • Walter D'Souza, Udupi

    Sat, Sep 04 2010

    Nice article. real eye opener to the parents who are competing / comparing to other children.

  • jacintalobo, moodubelle

    Sat, Sep 04 2010

    hi Oliver, keep on writing more articles

  • John , manipal

    Sat, Sep 04 2010

    Most of the parents are right now in a Catch 22 situation. Either they are unable to give time to their children due to office work / overload or they are unable to pay the costly fees of most good CBSE high standard schools. So, the best thing would be to give time for their children while working within limits. Health is wealth...so is Family?. Pray for the Family and also, read the Promises of GOD so that we stay POSITVE in whatever we do.

  • joy lobo, kuwait

    Sat, Sep 04 2010

    Very nice article gr8 job god bless u and ur fly
    goavilla fly moodubelle

  • f.l.fernandis, bangalore/usa

    Fri, Sep 03 2010

    Wonderful article.In this competative world parents give much pressure to their kids in studies and compare their own children according to their marks obtained.Each child is different.One can grasp the subjects quickly where as the other takes time to grasp.Some children at early age picks up the studies very well and some later part of their age grasp fast.Comparison among their children affects them psychologically and pressurising the children in studies also affects their behaviour.In order to get success in life one need notto be an engineer or doctor.In any field there are chances to come up.Only acadamic exelancy won't help to come up in life.Role of parents are very important in order to bring up their children.It is true " we reap what we sow".

  • J Rebello fly.,, Kaup

    Fri, Sep 03 2010

    Dear Oliver, glad to read your wonderful article through the columns of Daji. As we know, parents play a very important role in upbringing the child and we parents need to give a close attention in their every step and understand their joys, pains and needs and shape them for their future. You are doing a great job Oliver. We alrways remain grateful to you for your support and guidance.

  • Christine, manglore

    Fri, Sep 03 2010

    Nice article thanks need comments & advises from experienced so this can be helpful for others get lesson,
    Love and peace cannot buy in money or from world,Child is in the womb of mother if mother get love & had peace within than that child will be healthy,well in emotionally and same way growing also if love and peace have in home than that child will go well.learn and produce same. because they have within.
    good to grow children in the family together with both parents.they will know what life,learn and it will be helpful for their own,we blame children for the behavior,mostly parents part missing,and everything went vanish after regret,chidren try to get different way may freinds habits,end education ect…for some it will hit emotionally.after Life in hell.hard to come out.Some think only about money and they don’t give time for their children,some keep far away for some reason and all.we all go with tradition,after coming spiritually than also difficult to get what lost.and never get back completely.

    God loved us and he want us to live happy.but sometime our sins,wrong dicissions,disobeying respecting parents,breaking commands can bring generation curses in our life too.we don’t understand or know to come out how much we try hard also no happiness,health,wealth,family life and all.now everyone can read bible.so please read and try to walk according the will of God and blessed in every way,(please forgive me if anyone thinking I am wrong.I have experienced some)thanks.

  • Vincie Rodrigues, Thottam/ Mississauga, Toronto

    Fri, Sep 03 2010

    Dear Oliver:

    I appreciate your wonderful understanding of emotional effects of the behaviour of the daughter and the father. One would always think, there is nothing wrong for a father to aspire the best for his daughter. However, promoting the aspirations into the heart and mind of a child needs special expertise. Some children need special ways to convey your objectives in life. Parents of yester years perhaps did their job without much conflict. More importanly, they lived and lead an example of living within their means and derived total happiness with every gift they had from God. Today's parents including myself for some peculier reasons strive to bring out super heroes out of our children. It has always been a struggle to provide what we have and be happy with each of those situations. On the other hand, I have always wondered why the children of today DO NOT share the ideas and ideals of their parents. It has always been a problem of being on the same page with each other. Children's "needs" today are far from simple because of the changed world we all live in. It looks always, as if, there are problem parents and not problem children. The kind of parenting needed to alleviate harmony into life is the prime issue. To promote an ideal into the minds of young people is certainly important to live in that ideal. Some simple ideas like 'praying together as a family', 'eating together as a family' and getting involved with each other can probably help

  • Rebecca, Mumbai

    Fri, Sep 03 2010

    Its a very good article Olimama.

  • Prescilla Braggs, Balkunje / Pune

    Fri, Sep 03 2010

    This article is worth reading and an eye opener for all of us. I strongly believe in this proverb 'Don't worry if your children don't listen to you, but worry that they are watching you'. Parenting is not so easy in this materialistic world and our human tendency to behave as per our own conveniences. Thank you Oliver, hats off to you for this awakening article.

  • Judith L, Mumbai

    Fri, Sep 03 2010

    Mr. Oliver Sutari, Thanks for sharing your views through through this wonderful article. Just reading and appreciating is not enough, we have to use it in our daily lives then only the importance will be known.

  • Oliver Sutari, Manipal

    Fri, Sep 03 2010

    Dear Fr. Clifford,
    It is heartening to read such beautiful comments coming from a man of God. Thank you so much. If in any way I can be of service, you may email me on oliversutari@gmail.com

  • irene, niddodi, Bejai

    Thu, Sep 02 2010

    All kids need is a little help, a little hope, and somebody who believes in them. Earvin "Magic" Johnson

    Every empathic act that helps a child become what he or she wants to become, every expression of love toward children heals society and moves it in unexpected, wondrous new directions. Lloyd deMause

    One looks back with appreciation to the brilliant teachers, but with gratitude to those who touched our human feelings. Carl Jung

    When you put faith, hope, and love together, you can raise positive kids in a negative world. Zig Ziglar

    A child's life is like a piece of paper on which everyone who passes by leaves an impression. Chinese Proverb

    Internet Links to other web sites about compliments and other words of encouragement:

    You're Inspiring! Thank you Mr.Oliver Sutari. God Bless you.


    Thu, Sep 02 2010

    Very nice article.In this busy world many children are facing such situations.waiting for more articles. GOOD LUCK

  • Antony T. D' Souza, Karkala / Qatar

    Thu, Sep 02 2010

    In itself is a complete article. Nothing to add further. Rather happy to say “Well Done Oliver”. Enlightens . Well balanced. Flowing in the tempo of psychology and spirituality. Our people has to receive it well . By now interest could be judged by the reader’s limited comments !!
    Recently there was an article in the same column about ‘ cruelty to Dukor on the day of Ross’. Really I was surprised to note that comments were pouring in from all parts of the Konkani world over 175 Nos. within no time. Mostly readers were contesting for Dukra Mass for Ross and living behind the actual subject of cruelty because it was all about Konkani Culture first, Dukra mass and Ross. Interest on subject issue, Sowing and Reaping all comes later !!

  • Xavier Colaco, Kalina

    Thu, Sep 02 2010

    Dear Oliver, it is a great and thought provoking artcle. May God bless you in all your endeavours

  • Fr Clifford Fernandes, St Joseph's Seminary, Jeppu

    Thu, Sep 02 2010

    Congratulations Oliver Sir
    Good article and a beautiful blend of Theology and Psychology
    I hope and pray this article may inspire many more
    Praying for you and wish you all the best.Fr Cliffy

  • Theo D'Silva, Kadri/Toronto

    Thu, Sep 02 2010

    Dear Oliver, it's an excellent article with 3 types of people. The teacher recognizes the defect in child, Oilver is the Doctor who helps to solve the problem and most importantly the father who acknowledged the problem and rectified his duties towards daughter. So, the moral is in this world we need plenty of teacher-like human beings to notice the differences. We really need Psychology Doctors like Oliver who can remedy the sicknesses. Thanks, Theo.

  • adshenoy, mangloor

    Thu, Sep 02 2010

    Very good advice Mr. Oliver. Can I further add.Let the children be children. Let parents be right parents. Employ correction where required. Todays children are more guided by the external enviornment than parenting. A child is born and his/hers character is shaped by parents and the enviornment. Strike a balance in nurturing and upbringing making sure the values are intact for childs future.
    Pay close attention to children and thier needs emotional, social, cultural, financial or otherwise.
    Develop falth and emply family prayer everyday beyond worday. Find time to be with them.

  • Clement C., Bola, Dubai

    Thu, Sep 02 2010

    Simply superb article, Touching and inspiring. May this be an eye opener to all the parents.

  • Cynthia Dsouza, Udyavar/Muscat

    Thu, Sep 02 2010

    A very good & inspiring article.
    God bless you. Keep writing.

  • A.S.Mathew, U.S.A.

    Thu, Sep 02 2010

    An Excellent article. All the parents must read that a few times so that they can get some guidance
    to love and train the children to become great citizens.

    How many parents kill their children emotionally due to the high pressure and lack of love displayed to them?

    Personally, I know many families where the children have left them for ever some have committed
    suicide due to the high pressure in life, and their lack of love at home.

    We are living in a highly materialistic society, and when we join the parade of getting more of this world's goods and prestige from the society, we are pushing our children to the edge, and they
    may land in the depth of the ocean. Keep on writing such articles to enlighten the world.

  • Francis X V Passanha, Manipal

    Thu, Sep 02 2010

    A real eye opener. A lot of truth in what you have written. As a parent I wish and hope to practice it. It requires a lot of grace and maturity.

  • Veronica Alva & fly, Udupi/Dubai

    Thu, Sep 02 2010

    Very touching article.Keep writing on these subjects.You can change lots of minds young & old.
    May God bless you Mr Oliver.

  • Gracy , Bangalore

    Thu, Sep 02 2010

    Wonderful Article.I appreciate your thought and the clarity for the parents to make themselves involved into the child's mental growth too.. World is running over time and money today and they want their children's also to do the same so that they have wonderful future that's true but we hardly know the future! Trying to live in preset these days has bcome out of stock!!

  • Hansel Ralph Furtado, Barkur/Mumbai/KSA

    Thu, Sep 02 2010

    Excellent thought provoking article that identifies the root cause and converges to a remedy which is the need of the hour. May your tribe increase.

  • juliana braggs(d souza), mayyadi (omzoor) Ghatkopar

    Thu, Sep 02 2010

    A perfect reply to all the self-dignified parents those who are always the commanders in their children's life but of no use. they only provide them with money and pleasure but never understand their own children. first of all where the parents have the time to understand their children. world is become so advanced the parents are very busy in their money multiplying matter. the previous generation had many children but not minded. let us all learn from this valuable article and apply to our own families so that henceforth we will not find the desparate cases like this. will Mr. Oliver Sutari make an effort to publish this article in THE EXAMINER Mumbai and translated article in DIVO. Really heart-touching.

  • EDWARD D'SOUZA, Nerul,New Mumbai

    Thu, Sep 02 2010

    A very good & inspiring article.Keep it up Mr. Oliver.

  • Dolora, manipal

    Thu, Sep 02 2010

    Dear Oliver, Congratulations!!!Wonderful writing. Very touching facts in the article... "Must to know" and "Must to follow" truths in parenting... thank you...keep writing and God bless you.

  • F. Cutinho, Mangalore - Kuwait

    Thu, Sep 02 2010

    Dear Oliver, very inspiring article for Parents/Couples alike ! This will serve as an eye opener to all Parents who, just for their own prestige/ego, push their Children beyond their limits ! Thanks indeed !

  • Clara Lewis, Kemmannu/Dubai

    Thu, Sep 02 2010

    Wonderful article, it is very true these days parents put lot of pressure on their children, most of the parents want to show the world that their children hold big title job, it is very true many of the children study medicine and engineering out of pressure from parents, these children never do justice to their job, once I met one software engineer was use to dose while working, when I inquire the reason, he said, he was very good in maths and wanted to become maths teacher but parents forced him to become engineer and the job is not intresting him, only to survive he work and not out of intrest.

  • Celine Pinto, India, Mangalore

    Thu, Sep 02 2010

    Good Job Oliver. Motivation is required for present generation by giving spiritual counselling. Awareness required to solve problems of married couples. School Teacheres, Pl. get in touch with Oliver to give some talks to children and also to the couples in their pre marital classes.
    Good Luck Oliver.

  • Swetha kamath, Mangalore / Hyderabad

    Thu, Sep 02 2010

    Good article by Mr.Oliver Sutari.

  • Shirley Mathias, Abu Dhabi

    Thu, Sep 02 2010

    Wonderful article Oliver. An eye opener and a must read for all parents. Keep writing.

  • Verna Fernandes, Mumbai/Kuwait

    Thu, Sep 02 2010

    A very inspiring and well written article Oliver. Thanks for sharing your views. God Bless!


    Thu, Sep 02 2010

    Wonderful article. An eye opener for all parents. The same applies to me as well. Paretns, Teachers, plz read this article and try to motivate the children of present generation.

  • dr.makhija, mumbai

    Thu, Sep 02 2010



  • linus josh, Mangalore

    Wed, Sep 01 2010

    Good article n good job Oliver.God bless you more.

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