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Wednesday, 14 November 2018

NaBloPoMo 2018: Day 14: Do you listen to the little ones?

The other day, I chanced on this picture somewhere online. 

The caption read “Someone give this kid an award already!” I couldn’t help laughing out.

But in real life, one can be pretty sure that this kid’s teacher wouldn’t have laughed. In fact, she would only have imposed some other punishment for this work of art. No wonder then that our workplaces are filled with too few creative-thinking people, and we need to have ideation workshops and innovation training to inspire them.

First, you terrorize children to conform to the norm; then you want them to suddenly show up with bright new ideas and impeccable problem-solving skills.

Ok, I agree I’m generalizing here, but the fact remains that our ways of interaction with the young – as parents, and as teachers – leaves much to be desired.

I remember an incident about 7 years ago when my son was in Class 4. He’d come back home quite upset. One of his friends – let’s call him K – had brought 100 rupees to school on his birthday. It was a gift from his parents, and the kid took a few of his friends to the bakery near the school, to give them a small birthday treat.

The next day, the Principal summoned these kids (my son was part of that group) and gave them a dressing down. The bakery and the school had an agreement that the Principal would be informed if kids from the primary section came there. So, the bakery guy had duly informed the Principal.

K and his friends were grilled for 2 reasons – first because they’d disobeyed the rule. Second – and this rankled the adults more – K had spent 40 rupees on the snacks and then, dropped the remaining 60 rupees into a box the bakery had, seeking donations for the blind. How could he do such a thing! How ungrateful he was to waste his parents’ hard-earned money!

My son said the friends had all tried to dissuade him from donating. He had silenced them by saying that when he saw blind people on the road, he felt very bad, and wanted to help them in some way.

Not for a moment am I suggesting that the kid be applauded unconditionally. Of course, K needed to learn his lessons about not breaking rules, not spending money without telling his parents, and not chucking it away on a whim.

But not one adult had bothered to ask K about why he had done such a thing. No one had said, “Yes, I understand you,” before proceeding to make sure he learned his lesson.

On this Children’s Day, can we decide to really LISTEN to the little ones before sticking labels on them?


6 comments:

  1. OMG! That's such a noble thought at such an young age. Wish we adults could think a bit more openly, subjectively towards making kids the better adults of the future

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    1. Exactly! When we snub that thought, we're paving the way for self-centred adults.

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  2. So thoughtful kid!!! Elders fail to see coz their lens is different and yet being older makes rightful to only keep teaching kids as a result blinds them from seeing such wonderful acts..... I remember one of the Gurus saying who is most of the times happier, who is more persistent on never giving up and yet we elders......
    Thanks, Madhavi Paranjape

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    1. Thoughtful kid, indeed. You're right in pointing out that we are in this "Listen-to-me-because-I'm-older" mode always. Thank you, Madhavi.

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  3. If children are punished they should understand why. That will help improve their journey ahead or else that same feeling can bring in vengeance. I agree Anu that they should be allowed to speak up for their actions sometimes there is hidden motive of kindness like in the story. Well written Anu!
    Rupal x

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    1. Very true, Rupal. Embittered children end up cynical, too, I've noticed. thank you so much!

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