Friday, May 15, 2015

To compare or not.......

Comparisons inspire our children, we usually believe as parents. Before we do it should we not also think about the potential of the child in the area where the comparison comes in?

“Look, it doesn’t matter even if all in your group pick up the tricks before you or they all emerge as experts. What I’m interested in is you picking up the basic skills from Sir before he wraps up this training session. Forget them all, just watch Sir’s movements and follow what he says. Because that is the purpose –you learn to swim and later enjoy swimming.” He looked straight into my eyes and stopped sulking.

Did those words carry a magic potion? Did they give him a comfort he badly needed at that time? Call it a miracle or what; he learned the tricks within a week, taking major strides every single day and making up for the last few days of disinterest. The father was visibly happy and the son came home routinely with an exciting story of the day’s achievement. When the month-long rigorous training was finally over, my son stood where most of the other learners were!

Months later, when autumn arrived, Dev was back in the pool with his friends, splashing around and making merry in the water, covering the length and width of the pool, arms moving fast and wide, doing breast strokes and butterfly strokes, gliding in and out of water adeptly, his pace and skilful, smart moves belying that this was the same boy who had almost given up on swimming!

What if we had kept comparing and pressurizing him to learn as fast as some others during those days of training?

Friday, May 1, 2015

Hate me now to love me later!

Have you ever felt gleeful about being a villain to your own child?
My dear Son,
I know you hate me some times and that exam season is the time when this feeling of intense dislike and revenge overwhelms you so much that I begin to falter, wondering if I am turning out to be another ‘Tiger Mom’. It is another story that ‘Tiger Mom’s aren’t really that bad as they are made out to be. But then, that is a highly debatable topic, more so since you are approaching the teen years.
…………………………………………..You want a break and so talk about the library book that would heal your severely battered brain, what with the onslaught of the trickiest problems you had to complete. I agree - conditionally. “OK, but not more than half an hour. All those terrible characters of your book seem to have greater control over you than you have on them or even yourself when you spend too much time with them! Ugh! They’ll wreak havoc on whatever you have learnt till now!”

Bolder after another hour of study after a break with your story book that gives you a feeling that you deserve a pat on your back, you ask for “TV time”.

I am about to give in when your sister screams out, “I’ll watch my channel now!” I am happy in a way since I want you to put in another hour, but I don’t show it and very diplomatically say, “OK, Vini has not had an opportunity to watch TV today yet and anyway you’ll get to watch it when she has her nap.

It’s just a matter of one more hour, darling.” You don’t know whom to hate more – mother or sister and scowl at us. Knowing you would be fuming and fretting in your room instead of focusing on your books with your ears strained to pick up what is going on the screen, I add quickly, feigning not to notice your scowl (the corners of my eyes keep working) “I think if you get done by four, you could be in the playground before others.” It seems to work and you go back satisfied with the deal. Instead of TV time now, you are getting the liberty to be down earlier than you expected.

My mind is furiously working on how to get you back early from the playground (since I want you to do a revision before your eyes get red-shot and you slip into a depression, thinking of how unfair life is!). “Let us have mango syrup together as soon as you are back from the field! Be back on time!” I yell as you finally earn your freedom and sprint your way down the steps with the afternoon sun throwing strange patterns behind the trees.

I know tomorrow it will dawn upon you that you have put in more hours than you had intended. You will see through my clever plans of today and hold me the culprit and extract extra “TV time”. I’ll yield in easily for this is your last exam of the season and tomorrow is another day.

As you will step into your teens, matters won’t be so easy for me. The ball won’t be in my court quite often and my screams and snarls and promise of your favourite dishes won’t work a fraction as well as now. Hatred for me will only pile up and not vanish with steady inflow of chocolates and delicious mango syrups in between study hours. You might even silently wish for early freedom from  this “monster” who happens to be your mother.........................