Street smartness vs Righteousness

Rashmi Gupta and Nikhil Gupta
One thing is very apparent that we all want our children to be street smart but it is not something that we would like to teach them and rather would teach them how to be righteous & have good values. You can define street-smartness in various ways whether it is about not being taken advantage of or being manipulative (or dealing with day to day utilities that may need street-smartness only if these transactions are leading to bypassing or corrupting the process), irrespective of that we all want our children to be street-smart but at the same time want to teach them only righteousness.
So this is what, is the beginning of a conflict. Children see this and the hypocrisy behind it and they become like us and this continues. First thing is to recognize that we are preaching something which is different from what we want. The fundamental question here is not to find which one is better between being street-smart and being righteous. Question here is that do we know what we are and what we are doing to our children. Coming back to some of the definitions of being street smart given earlier let us understand that a person who learns to not being taken advantage of, also learns how to take advantage of others. Similarly a person who is not gullible also knows how to manipulate others. Hence definition of being street-smart here is also being manipulated to suit our righteousness. And this is what we are doing everywhere, even in our relationships. In the name of self-interest and being street-smart we are manipulating each other thinking that we are saving ourselves by not getting manipulated. Boss does to employee, employee does to boss, wife does this to husband, husband does this to wife and parents do to children and the same goes to any other relationship that we have. While we may have another discussion on understanding “self” and what it is doing to us, don’t we see that “self-interest” is the cause behind all the corruption in the world. Corruption is not just about money, but it is about corruption of everything – love, compassion, emotions, health and the list goes on. Self-interest corrupts everything.
Again through this discussion, we are not encouraging one over the other (being street-smart or righteousness) but ensuring that we are aware of what we are, what we want and what we are doing to our children. Awareness is the beginning to awaken the true intelligence and that helps you deal with the situation without being worried about being street-smart or being righteous. Once children becomes aware, they know how to deal with the situation without having a need to learn them from external sources and the same goes with us.