I always find my ten years old enjoying the cartoon programs on the television channels. Sometimes I also sit down next to him to watch the show. It is so good to watch him so excited especially when the cartoon characters are out on an adventure. My son would be fidgeting or squealing along with the background music. I wondered what was so special about these stories – Chota Bheem running in the forest looking for his friends who are abducted or Nobita again stuck up somewhere with Doraemon’s gadgets or Motu and Patlu flying up in the air when kicked by the boxer. If that was not enough there is the Ben10 using all sorts of gadgets to save the alien attack.
No matter what the plot was the children enjoyed it and are glued in front of the television set for hours at stretch. And it is not at all good for their health. It is a very common site to find a very young child in specs due to eyesight problem these days. However, it was a very rare sight a few decades back. Even children sitting indoors at home was a rare sight.
Most of our childhood days were spent outdoors having fun with friends. And even today they are our best memories. There was so much we could do and so much we could see and learn from experience.
However, as parents now, we hardly allow our children to learn from their experience. We are always telling them what is right and what is wrong and on top of that, they have a limited time to do what they actually want to do, play. Homework, tuitions, curricular activities, swimming session, dance session, karate classes the list is endless. By the end of the day, the child is completely tired, of course with physical exertion, however not because the child had been doing what he or she wanted to do but what we wanted him or her to do.
This is mostly due to two reasons, FEAR and QUALITY TIME. We fear our child will lag behind in the rat race and hence we start equipping the child from an early stage putting in so much pressure on the little mind that they forget what they really want to do. They start looking at us for the next instruction eventually growing up into an adult who is unable to make decisions or take its responsibility. As parents, we are so busy with our career that even though we might be physically present with the child yet our mind wanders elsewhere. We fail to give the quality time. And even if we do, we restrict it to weekends or other holidays not when the child needs it most, when he gets up from sleep, when he comes back from school and when he is put to bed.
In my book, Grow Up Messy! the protagonist, Misry alias Messy, is a naughty five-year-old and she does all that she wants to do. Sometimes it is right sometimes it is wrong but whatever the end result is, she experiences it firsthand. And astonishingly these small experiences actually shape her up as she grows. Each of the chapters is like small stories interwoven which any parent can enjoy reading with their child. It is more like an adult reliving the childhood and sharing with the child. Set in the early eighties West Bengal, the book is truly inspired by the innocence of the childhood. Let them be what they want to be FOR NOW.
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