Wednesday, 28 May 2008

Children see, children do

It's probably the most cliched saying out there but like most cliches, it's so bang on the spot!!
Happened to see a new video on a friend's profile in orkut that drives home the point. Liked it so much I added it to my page as well: it shows parents drinking, getting mad on the road, abusing others, and their children (hanging around like shadows, as in real life) doing the same. Ends on a good note, though...
Are we doing enough good? Perhaps not. Yesterday, I took my daughter down to play. We live in a multi-storey apartment and there's not much by way of a play area but kids play in and around the driveway and parking lots (when the main gate is closed). There was a 20-something and her kid cousins; the boys were teaching her to ride a bicycle. Took me right back to my school days when I used to ride to school. In fact, I could see this girl doing exactly what I used to; the wrong thing, that is: staring at the handlebars rather than the road ahead. Is there a parallel to our lives in there?
Well, anyways, she had to weave around a couple of enthusiastic toddlers and preschoolers, my own two-going-on-twenty year-old included. There was this other little girl there, a little older than three, with her mother. The mother is a quiet sort, not inclined to much conversation, and very much under the thumb of her mother. She is on permanent vacation with her mother, so to speak. The mother prefers to keep her only daughter and her two little girls to herself and rarely allows them to visit her dentist-husband based in the Middle East. Perhaps all this history will serve to explain the incident I am about to describe.
The three-year-old, let's call her Sammy, is being brought up exclusively on her grandmother's ideas and ideals (which include non-tolerance of other religions, a less-than-kindly attitude to the opposite sex and a general miserly attitude to money and life). Forgive me if I sound biased; I am. Sammy wanted to play with Ditu's tricycle and I let her. My little mad hatter prefers other kids' stuff, anyways, and the more broken-down it is, the better. So she got onto Sammy's cycle (her legs barely grazing the ground) and toed away relentlessly. Sammy made some tart remarks to Ditu and I thought to myself, "The things these kids learn in school!"
But perhaps it wasn't learnt in school, I realised, when she came cycling past me and yelled, "Make sure you keep my cycle back in place after you are with it!" And believe me, when said in Malayalam, there was no mistaking the child's tone or her amazing rudeness. Tempted as I was to yell the same back at her, I bit my lip and focused on Ditu's miserable attempts to go around the building while Sammy's mother beamed in pride at her child's precocious words.
A pregnant friend of mine, on her evening walk, turned me to said, "There is nothing childish about that child!" Yes, I thought. That little girl was already turning into her grandmother, a woman widowed in her forties and with a penchant for telling others how to live their lives. She is so adamant that only her way is right that half the year, she goes away to her hometown after having picked a fight with one of the neighbours in the building. The last time she did that was when a couple of the boys said they wouldn't play with the girls anymore and Sammy got upset. The grandmother charged on the little fellas, yelling at them for making her 'baby' cry. And she was kinda bugged with me, too, I think for being the mother of an 'alienated' girl and not saying anything about it. Ditu did snivel a bit at being excluded but then she found her own thing to do, which would have been Sammy's way if she hadn't been so cossetted.
I remembered when I had first seen her, when she was just about a year old: bright-eyed and eager to experiment with Ditu's toys. How much the child has changed!!
Parenting is not just another day-to-day activity; it's the shaping of a personality through a lot of everyday interactions. And it's not just our interactions with the child that matter, but our relationship with others and our outlook on life. I sometimes feel that we as parents are so caught up in the chores of nappy-changing, meal-making, etc. that we forget the essentials. Children, I strongly believe, are God's gift to us. And He could not have chosen a more profound gift. These little things are a constant reminder to better ourselves so that we can better them.
Do I sound like one of those supermoms? God (and all my friends and family) know I am not. :)But I do try. After all, they are watching. And learning.

1 comment:

Sree said...

And I, the pregnant friend, stand by every word penned here. Jus praying I am inspired to be an efficient and effective mom, when my time comes in another 4 months!!!

Wednesday, 28 May 2008

Children see, children do

It's probably the most cliched saying out there but like most cliches, it's so bang on the spot!!
Happened to see a new video on a friend's profile in orkut that drives home the point. Liked it so much I added it to my page as well: it shows parents drinking, getting mad on the road, abusing others, and their children (hanging around like shadows, as in real life) doing the same. Ends on a good note, though...
Are we doing enough good? Perhaps not. Yesterday, I took my daughter down to play. We live in a multi-storey apartment and there's not much by way of a play area but kids play in and around the driveway and parking lots (when the main gate is closed). There was a 20-something and her kid cousins; the boys were teaching her to ride a bicycle. Took me right back to my school days when I used to ride to school. In fact, I could see this girl doing exactly what I used to; the wrong thing, that is: staring at the handlebars rather than the road ahead. Is there a parallel to our lives in there?
Well, anyways, she had to weave around a couple of enthusiastic toddlers and preschoolers, my own two-going-on-twenty year-old included. There was this other little girl there, a little older than three, with her mother. The mother is a quiet sort, not inclined to much conversation, and very much under the thumb of her mother. She is on permanent vacation with her mother, so to speak. The mother prefers to keep her only daughter and her two little girls to herself and rarely allows them to visit her dentist-husband based in the Middle East. Perhaps all this history will serve to explain the incident I am about to describe.
The three-year-old, let's call her Sammy, is being brought up exclusively on her grandmother's ideas and ideals (which include non-tolerance of other religions, a less-than-kindly attitude to the opposite sex and a general miserly attitude to money and life). Forgive me if I sound biased; I am. Sammy wanted to play with Ditu's tricycle and I let her. My little mad hatter prefers other kids' stuff, anyways, and the more broken-down it is, the better. So she got onto Sammy's cycle (her legs barely grazing the ground) and toed away relentlessly. Sammy made some tart remarks to Ditu and I thought to myself, "The things these kids learn in school!"
But perhaps it wasn't learnt in school, I realised, when she came cycling past me and yelled, "Make sure you keep my cycle back in place after you are with it!" And believe me, when said in Malayalam, there was no mistaking the child's tone or her amazing rudeness. Tempted as I was to yell the same back at her, I bit my lip and focused on Ditu's miserable attempts to go around the building while Sammy's mother beamed in pride at her child's precocious words.
A pregnant friend of mine, on her evening walk, turned me to said, "There is nothing childish about that child!" Yes, I thought. That little girl was already turning into her grandmother, a woman widowed in her forties and with a penchant for telling others how to live their lives. She is so adamant that only her way is right that half the year, she goes away to her hometown after having picked a fight with one of the neighbours in the building. The last time she did that was when a couple of the boys said they wouldn't play with the girls anymore and Sammy got upset. The grandmother charged on the little fellas, yelling at them for making her 'baby' cry. And she was kinda bugged with me, too, I think for being the mother of an 'alienated' girl and not saying anything about it. Ditu did snivel a bit at being excluded but then she found her own thing to do, which would have been Sammy's way if she hadn't been so cossetted.
I remembered when I had first seen her, when she was just about a year old: bright-eyed and eager to experiment with Ditu's toys. How much the child has changed!!
Parenting is not just another day-to-day activity; it's the shaping of a personality through a lot of everyday interactions. And it's not just our interactions with the child that matter, but our relationship with others and our outlook on life. I sometimes feel that we as parents are so caught up in the chores of nappy-changing, meal-making, etc. that we forget the essentials. Children, I strongly believe, are God's gift to us. And He could not have chosen a more profound gift. These little things are a constant reminder to better ourselves so that we can better them.
Do I sound like one of those supermoms? God (and all my friends and family) know I am not. :)But I do try. After all, they are watching. And learning.

1 comment:

Sree said...

And I, the pregnant friend, stand by every word penned here. Jus praying I am inspired to be an efficient and effective mom, when my time comes in another 4 months!!!