Raise Kids as Independent and Logical Thinkers

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“Mamma, are Muslims bad?”

“Why? Why are you asking me this question? Who told you all this nonsense?”

“So-and-so told me that her mother has told her not to talk to this particular boy in our class because he is a Muslim and they are not good. She has also asked him not to share food that the boy offers.”

“What do you think? Is that boy in your class bad? Does he harm you or anyone else in the class?”

“No. He is a good boy. Ma’am also likes him. He is a polite boy. He like to play with everyone.”

“What does that tell you? Is he good or bad?”

“He is a good boy.”

“Exactly. You already know what is right and wrong. I have also told you that your right may not be right for others. So don’t judge anyone by what you have heard from someone else. Try and learn to answer that question yourself based on your interaction with the person and what you know about that person. Nobody is perfect. We all have flaws. We all make mistakes. That does not mean that we are all perfectly right or perfectly wrong. Do you get this?”

“Yes. I understood.”

“Will you play with him? Will you share your things with him if he needs them?”

“Yes. I will.”

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

This was a conversation I had with my EIGHT-YEAR-OLD a few days ago. Ever since I have been thinking about it and feeling extremely annoyed about how a parent was misleading their child against another innocent child.

Why the hell do we have to drag young and innocent minds into this dirty mess of religion, region, politics, racism, caste and gender?

Why can’t we let them be themselves?

Why can’t we let them develop their own perceptions on different aspects of life?

Why do we have to brainwash them?

As a mother I do understand the fears and worries of another mother. I myself do warn the girls about impending dangers from strangers. I warn them to be careful with people they know as well as people they do not know. But I have never told them to boycott another child because he was a bully, or because she was dark, or because he was from a certain community, or because she was from a family that supported a certain political party. What are we doing? Is there an end to this?

I know it was a personal decision of that mother and may be of their family but it left me fuming because I don’t like children being involved in these petty matters. We complain of young minds being radicalized or being brainwashed. What was this? If we continue to drag them into these, why should we complain about others?

I don’t support any such nonsense. If we really want to protect our children, we must teach them love, kindness, sharing, compassion and being sensitive towards others. We must teach them not to hurt others. We must teach them to respect another’s feelings and their properties. We must teach them to not bully others. We must equip them with wisdom to make out good from bad and right from wrong. Encourage them to use their logic to reach conclusions based on their experiences instead of forcing your own experiences on them. How can you proudly tell your child that a certain boy in the class is not good because he is a Muslim while you encourage your child when he tells you how he managed to knock down another child in the school?

What are your views on this?

Do you think children should be taught to judge others in this manner?

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Dearest Amma

For years I kept myself aloof from you because I felt unloved and uncared-for. I have written bits and pieces on why I felt so and how it made me distance myself from you. But what I have never bothered to look back at or write about is your struggle in raising the two of us all alone.

I am now a mother of two and I realize how demanding this designation is. I feel like a failure many a times and that’s when you come to my rescue and instill sense into me. Trust me, I could have never come this far with all that had happened in the past if not for you and Acha.

This makes me remember how strong you are. In tough and sensitive situations when most of us lose our sensibilities to think rationally, you have proved yourself stronger than almost all of us. That day when Acha fell unconscious inside the washroom and you called me up, I couldn’t think beyond the worst. I almost froze from within. While you ensured to take help from the neighbours, break open the door and attend to him, I ran up the stairs till someone told me he was fine, only to break down right there.

And then the last week when Acha went for the car wash and forgot his mobile at home. I still can’t figure out how the receptionist was so careless to call you up after two hours only to say that he hasn’t reached there. You called me up and I froze once again. By the time we managed to talk to him, you had used your presence of mind and found out the exact number from his phone and spoke to him. And you still believe that you’re not capable enough to handle gadgets?

I know I haven’t been the perfect daughter. I know how miserly I have been in expressing my love and gratitude to you. I know how rude I am at times when I try to pull you out of your insecurities and fears for us. But trust me Amma, from within I have always and always admired you for your courage, practical mind, selfless love for almost everyone including the ones who have hurt you deeply in the past and your power to forgive.

You never wore a perfectly matching saree and blouse till I got my first job because you had multiple liabilities from both families. It used to annoy me when other teachers made fun of you saying how miserly you are. I almost always felt like punching a few. Remember how I answered back to the PT teacher when she called you a miser. She tagged me as a bad child forever and said how defensive I was. Yes. I was defensive. I was defensive because I could never bear to see people hurting you or Acha even with their words. I have never heard the two of you answer back to anyone. And I have always seen people taking advantage of this quality of yours.

If there’s one thing I regret, it is the past because of which I never came closer to you. You did make mistakes but those were out of your own fears of raising us all alone. I now know how our rendezvous with the cane stick in the school corridor would have hurt you much more than they hurt me. You were so so scared for us that in your effort to keep us safe, well-behaved and well-brought up, you missed how I missed your touch, your hugs and your kisses. The ones that were most needed for that five-year old who grew up as a lonely child.

On that day when Acha left for the mid-east on his decade long stint, you were suddenly burdened with the responsibility of handling us alone. And on that same day, I lost my mother who used to have enough time for me, who used to teach me rhymes carrying me on her hips, who used to pamper me with all her love. Somewhere we both transformed that day into people we were not. We both built walls around us for different reasons. We both wore masks for the sake of a bright future.

I’m glad that today I feel I have been able to shed all those walls and inhibitions. I have been able to glance back and reflect on the past and the find reasons for the years we both missed.

Amma, I want to relive all those years again with you, Acha and the little one. I want us to have all those years back. We lost a lot while the world around us only counted our material gains and blessings. It’s high time we start living for ourselves and not others. You both have struggled enough and now I just want you both to enjoy your life with our little ones. I can’t bear to see the stress in your eyes for fear of our future. You have done enough for the two of us and I believe you’ve made us powerful enough to handle whatever the future holds.

You tell me that you learn a lot from me. You tell me how you like the way I decide for myself without fear of anyone. How you like the way I stand up for my people and myself. How I am fearless and can take on the world. What you don’t realize is these are things I wanted you to do for yourself. I am what I am because I was raised by you. I stand up for myself because I know how hurt you would be to see me hurt. I am nothing but a byproduct of you, Amma.

Amma and Me

Absolutely indebted to you for everything that you’ve done for us.

It’s been a stressful year and it took Anu’s one sentence of how mean I am because I refused her kiss the other day that took it for me to realize what you would have been through every time you pushed me away from you. ‘SORRY’ is  a small word which cannot express the amount of forgiveness I seek from you. Forgive me, Amma. I loved you. I love you. And I will always love you.

Let’s live the rest of our lives reliving all those lost years. Just keep hugging me once in a while. As you hug me I can feel all the stress and the tensions melting away. I will always and always need you. Happy Mother’s Day, Amma!

 

 

New Beginnings: Finding Your Calling

“For last year’s words belong to last year’s language
And next year’s words await another voice.
And to make an end is to make a beginning.”
― T.S. Eliot

A Very Happy New Year to all the readers of Dew Drops. I’m slightly late but better late than never.

I wanted to do a checklist of 2016 highlights for myself. But with personal priorities things just don’t happen the way you plan. So, just for the sake of it I’ll list out some of the important highlights from 2016.

  • Guilt is something that can suffocate and kill you. I got rid of it by pushing myself once again to apologize and meet the friend in person. This meet was something that should have happened earlier. Much more than seeking forgiveness, the need was to forgive myself. The kind of introspective person I am, I am my biggest critic. And without forgiving myself it was absolutely impossible to move on.
  • Let go and feel less pain. Yes. I finally learnt to let go. I learnt that things are sometimes not in our control and we must accept it instead of trying to control. 2016 is the year that brought back a lot of turmoil in the personal life. And I am glad that the year is over. I happened to open up in unbelievable ways to my blog audience too. This also ended up rubbing some people from the family on the wrong side. Anyway, the pain and hurt which I have been carrying along has been thrown away or at least it has been kept aside after so many years. The head feels so much more lighter.
  • Defend Yourself Against Negativity and Negative People. Some people are not meant to be in your life. Even if it is at the cost of some other relationships. Be it friendship or family relations, you should not let anyone take you for granted. I realized that I was giving undue attention and importance to some of the relationships that do not even respect my intentions. I closed some of the doors that should have been closed long ago. Peace is always dearer than people.
  • Fight for Your Right. My regular readers know that I was struggling with Mom’s pension issues. Finally she started receiving her pension and other proceeds from June 2016. Nine months after retiring. The journey was not at all easy. We fought people. We fought procedures. We fought corruption. The one big lesson I learnt from Mom’s experience is that we should not be good at the cost of our own self-respect. And the other lesson, you have to fight your battle all alone. People who help you are either doing it unknowingly, by stroke of destiny, or because they want to gain something out of it. Be thankful. But don’t overdo it.
  • You’re your best helping hand. Nobody but you are capable of helping, healing and strengthening yourself. Discover yourself. Invest in yourself. Aspire to be a better you. Learn to love yourself. Learn to prioritize yourself. Self Love is the most important lesson that we were never taught in the name of selfishness. I spent a lot of time on charting out my interests and picking up the areas to focus. A humble beginning to this is the new blog Wings and Chirpswhere I’ll be focusing on few of my areas of interest including Mythology, Travel and Photography. I have started off with #MythicalMondays which helps me read mythological stories from various regions and understand the links between various regions of the country and of the world. The current blog, Dew Drops, which happens to be my alter ego, will continue with my personal journey.

2017 has arrived. And I sincerely wish it happens to be a productive and peaceful year for all of us. Peace to all those beautiful souls that we lost to 2016.

“Accomplishments don’t erase shame, hatred, cruelty, silence, ignorance, discrimination, low self-esteem or immorality. It covers it up, with a creative version of pride and ego. Only restitution, forgiving yourself and others, compassion, repentance and living with dignity will ever erase the past.”
― Shannon L. Alder

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