Mirror Magazine
2nd June 2000

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You've got to be dreaming

By Uthpala Gunethilake

It's so easy to spot them.You can't miss that dreamy look and the blissful half-smile on their faces. One of them may be sitting just next to you, but in a very real sense he or she is light years away.

They are the type who grin or talk to themselves while in the bus or step into puddles when walking. There's a good chance that you may be one of them.

More of us are day-dreamers than we would care to admit. Day-dreaming is the one thing that no You've got to be dreamingone has to teach us, and the one art that is so easy to master.

All of us have at one time or other left reality for a while to revel in a glorious fantasy,where all things look better than they really are, including ourselves. And we don't day-dream only when we have nothing to do: How many times have you caught yourself drifting away in the midst of a maths class?

You should never make the mistake of asking a day-dreamer what he dreams about. Either he will tell you nothing at all, or he will astound you with an endless list.

Liandra (19) says she day-dreams when she has nothing to do. "I actually talk to myself. For instance, if I'm fantasizing about meeting the man of my dreams, I would actually have the conversation I would be having with him. Of course, people think I'm nuts".

However, day-dreams are not always so light-hearted and fanciful. A lot of serious thinking may take place behind that moony look your friend has on his or her face. " I plan my future. I think about what I want to do with my life, where I want to go," says Dilshara (20). He thinks dreaming is useless if you don't put your plans into action.

Through our day-dreams we try to make our world a sunnier and rosier place. Often this helps to boost our faith in life.

"It helps you get on with the day and adds something to life," Liandra says. She adds, "It is also the one thing that no on can stop you from doing, and the one place no one else can enter."

Dilki (29) agrees, but says that day-dreaming gives her more than just the thrill of an escapade. "If you are thinking of how you want your life to be, dreaming can give you strength and determination to carry out your plans."

Too much of revelling in the realms of fancy is also not advisable. As Dilshara says, one should not permanantly lock oneself up in a fantasy world.

If you day-dream at the cost of getting on with real life, then it is certainly time to step back to earth. Many day-dreamers agree that fantasizing is fine as long as it allows you to appreciate life, but if day-dreaming is all that you do, then small wonder that people think you are moonstruck.

Shifan (20) who says that he has no time for imaginary escapades of this kind, has this to say to those who do it too often; "keep dreaming, but open your eyes ever so often and look at the world. Be realistic."

As the poem goes, 'dream, but don't make dreams your master'; don't lose your head in the clouds unless your feet are planted firmly on the ground.

Kids and parents: how we want it

By Kesara Ratnatunga

Ah..youth, when the world exists just for us to live in it. Carefree days when life revolves around home, education, sports and the occassional, sometimes covert, excursion into the unknown. Daring to go where no one has gone before. Sometimes encouraged with a loving pat and sometimes sore with a concerned whack, by those most omnipresent beings...parents.

Bringing up a child is a parent's prerogative, and is most often done as they see fit. Perhaps mirroring the way their parents brought them up. Times have changed and the pressures placed on young people today are different. Yesteryear's methods of 'bringing up the kid' may not be as successful as they were back then.

It is interesting to hear how the 'kids' themselves want to be brought up.

The relationship between their parents and themselves is something that a lot of young people are concerned about. "In Sri Lankan culture there is always a gap maintained between adults and children," says Amali (23). "When it comes to the relationship between children and their parents, communication is often rather awkward." Communication with parents is very important. It doesn't mean being able to talk to them at any time, but more importantly about being able to talk about anything. Kamani (21) says it better, "you should be able to discuss murder with your parents."

It is crucial for parents to have an open forum with their children from a young age, especially during the 'tempestuous teens' when most clashes occur. It doesn't mean having the freedom to say all the rubbish that springs to mind, but having the liberty to express your own views on any issue within reasonable limits. "My family is conservative, but I've had all the freedom to express myself fully, and I know that my parents will be receptive to my ideas," says Sean (23). A common assumption many parents make is that children's views and ideas are immature and do not warrant their attention. "I hate it when my parents talk about stuff and ignore what I have to say. It's especially bad when they are talking about me or my future and I have absolutely no say in the matter," says Ramani (17).

When it comes to freedom, a conservative culture dictates that parents restrict their children's activities to conform to social norms. "I think freedom should be given according to whether or not it can be handled. It's silly to restrain a young person just because of age or sex," says Kamani. Having enough freedom to interact with society on their own, is something that every young person desperately desires. "If parents are overprotective, then you become a little soft," says Sean. Independence and the ablity to make judgements for yourself comes from having played with fire and being burned a little in the process.

However an excess of freedom given at a young age does have a damaging effect. Drugs, alchohol...the vices which could snare a young mind are innumerable. "Parents should put a lot of effort into helping their children learn proper values and understand the down points of going beyond the limit, rather than severely reprimanding them for damage already done," says Shehan (20).

"Mutual understanding is really important," says Kamani. If parents don't trust their kids and vice-versa, there is bound to be conflict between the two. Youth is a time when a lot of support from the home-front is needed. When things go wrong and problems occur, parental support is required though not often asked for. If communication is poor, then a parent will not be sensitive enough to pick up on the child's needs.

Communicating with parents can sometimes be like talking to a rock, and at other times it may seem as if they simply can't lay off. Friends, foes, dictators, jokers...you name it, it's in the parental job discription. Bringing us up is a tough task, and our opinions on the matter may not always tally with theirs. But bear in mind, even if all else deserts us, our parents will always be our greatest fans.

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