The word independence seems overrated and so does the concept of independent countries. Imagine a person who is completely independent, has no needs from the people around him, how will he behave with others?
Imagine a family, where family members have no needs or expectations from each other. Think for a while about the state of the relationship with each other.
Also, imagine a society, where one section of people are totally dependent on another section of people for their survival. The latter has no needs or any dependence on the former. Think for a while about the state of relationship between the two sections.
Fully dependent and totally independent both seem to have undesirable outcomes.
Nature is an ecosystem of interdependent components. That is the reason for our concern about balance in nature.
All living things in the world are interdependent for survival. That is how the food chain exists. One animal eats plants, the other eats the former animal, and the latter gets eaten by another.
Interdependence is the key to survival. You are consciously or subconsciously dependent on others for survival.
Interdependence is about healthy mutual reliance. Human beings need a great deal of trust to allow themselves to be connected and dependent on others. For this reason, the confidence earned through increasing independence is a vital first step towards our goal of interdependence.
How can you instill interdependence in your children so they stay connected with the family forever?
Let’s take a metaphorical example to understand the concept of interdependence better:
Now, let’s say a relationship is like the wheels of a bicycle. The mom and dad represent each wheel. The child is treated as the load on the bicycle.
But rather than treating your child as a load, you should treat them as another wheel on the cycle. For some, it may get difficult to ride the cycle with three wheels. For some, it may make their life easier. Either way, it will be very useful in building skills and confidence in the third wheel. i.e. the child.
Instead of carrying the entire load on your back how about delegating it to everyone in the family? Better if the same can be done as a team. Let’s explore a few practices to build interdependence in the family:
Do chores and errands as a family. Distribute the work among one another, so everyone is involved. Teamwork makes the dream work. When it is just one person running errands and doing chorees all the time, the rest of the family just depend on them.
But when everyone is involved, everyone knows how things work in the house, and a sense of interdependence is built. This also helps to strengthen the family relationships better.
Other than routines, family projects like Weekend together dining, Monthly picnics, Birthday celebrations, etc can also be planned, managed as a team. Even if the family is of three members, a team of two is possible and effective.
We as parents must encourage children to study in groups. Yes, I am aware that going to a friend’s house may lead to more fun than studying. How about 25% of the study time assigned for group studying?
The objective of group studying is to build on the team’s intelligence and benefit from the process. Study elements like revision, monotonous problem solving, learning by doing & teaching can be done efficiently as a team.
Also, group study builds better interpersonal and team working skills. Teaching and Learning from a friend or peers inculcates a sense of interdependence.
All the members of the family have certain rights and responsibilities. Mom and dad have the responsibility to work and earn money to give their children the life they deserve.
Children are responsible for studying well, getting good grades, and figuring out what they want to pursue in life. These are some of the primary responsibilities members of the family have.
Mom might take a spa day or go out with her friends for a fun night when it comes to rights. Dad might want to watch a game on television or watch a movie. A child may want to go out with their friends and hang out or play.
Everyone has the right to have some relaxation time, and the rest of the family members should respect that.
Disturbing one another during leisure time will only create riffs in the family. Learning to coexist by respecting each other’s wishes and desires will help strengthen the relationships better.
All of the above seems so common sense and happens so unconsciously that the absence of it, is the time when the realization occurs that all is not well.
However, defining and documenting the rights and responsibilities of each member of the family. Publishing the same, respecting each other’s rights and holding each other accountable for their responsibilities is a wonderful practice of interdependence.
Try these practices and create more opportunities of interdependence. It will imbibe the qualities of responsibility, gratitude, teamwork and a lot more. It may seem a lot of effort and very time consuming in the beginning. We all know that fast food has not always been healthy.
We practice these in our sessions with students. At Novo Leaders we invite students and parents to plan and participate in execution. It builds a sense of shared learning responsibility.
The students of The School Matters participated in an Independence Day activity. Wherein they were asked to choose a topic and talk about it.
Deepika Bind and Vaishnavi Sajjan made beautiful videos explaining how much leading a healthy life is essential. Deepika’s video showed many pictures and stated facts on why maintaining a healthy lifestyle is vital and how it helps you lead a long, happy life.
Vaishnavi talked about how our body needs extended hours of sleep to function, an essential element for leading a healthy lifestyle.
She said, “We must sleep and wake up early as waking up early makes us feel fresh and active.”
Vedant Mane talked about leading a healthy lifestyle.
He said, “the main reason why we don’t maintain a healthy lifestyle is that we all eat a bunch of junk food. It is the main culprit.”
He added, “We must start leading a healthy lifestyle from a young age. Parents should encourage their children to eat vegetables.”
Diya and Lasya Gaddam made a skit to explain how one can maintain a healthy lifestyle.
In the skit, Diya is asked by her teacher to write about leading a healthy lifestyle, and she takes the help of her elder sister Lasya to complete the assignment.
Abhishree, in her video, said, “You must start your day on a positive note as it sets the mood for the rest of the day.”
She talked about a miracle morning which included a daily 6 step routine.
Srinidhi, on the other hand, talked about how positive affirmations set a tone for your day and change your mood into a positive one.
She said, “Detox is very important to maintain a healthy mind. Unwinding helps to start clean for the next day.”
So there you have it: healthy lifestyle, self-love, positivity, etc., are all interrelated, and we all depend on them to live a long, happy life.
What are your views and practices of interdependence. Do share with us in the comments.
How to Build a Relationship Based on Interdependence|Aurora Eliam
Why Parents Should Raise Interdependent Children|Ken Ginsburg
Is Being Dependent Good? – NovoLeaders|Sameeha Pudipeddi