Let me be ME

Archive for the ‘FreePlay’ Category

Epiphany#1

The other day a piece of news popped up in TimeHop (an app that shows nostalgic pics/videos). The story was about Sid’s climb to the ThotongLa Pass. It was back in 2018 when we completed the summit. Read a detailed blog here https://momthyname.blog/2018/06/13/annapurna-circuit-5th-19th-march-2018-hiking-with-sid-to-thorong-la-pass5417mts/ Sid was 12- years old and slightly shorter to me in height.

Sid in “My Powai” magazine

We were climbing towards the base of the summit after an acclimatization day. Sid is a natural climber and runner, and he was so thrilled to be climbing higher that he vanished out of my sight within no time. I was having trouble breathing; hence I was climbing slowly but steadily. When I could not spot him for a long time and the “motherhood-syndrome” activated. I was anxious. I kept asking each passer-by(although there were very few) about Sid, mentioning his looks and clothes he was wearing.
Finally, after a long walk, someone told me that he had seen a boy with a similar description upon a rock.

Sid on the way to ThorngLa Pass
Sid merrily balancing between the rocks

I had my stomach churning and suddenly I could feel the bile rising into my mouth. I was fuming in anger now. I speed up my walk and saw Sid balancing himself between two rocks. His palms tightly gripped on one side while feet on the other. He didn’t even bother to acknowledge my presence, nor was he aware that he has committed a “mistake.” As soon as I reached closer to him, he was excited to share his “discovery”. I reluctantly asked him about it. I was still fuming. He went ahead and showed two giant lizards on the rock and told me that he observed them climbing up the cliff.

Sid’s “DISCOVERY”

At that moment, I had no interest in his discovery or observation; I was obvious to make him realize that he has committed a “mistake.”
He could sense my rage but didn’t pay much heed. He said, “mom, I knew you are behind, and I wanted to run ahead. Above all, I know that this is a linear track, so where would I go? You could have worried lesser.”
I wouldn’t say I liked his comment at that moment. But, now, when I sit and think of it, he was correct, and I was getting hyper.


Last year a similar episode happened on our hike in Sahaydris too during monsoons.. He climbed up the slippery rain-drenched hills, and I lost my breath out of fear.

Epiphany #1: Don’t pass on your emotions to your children. They will learn and grow with the right exposure and experience.

Children are born explorers. They have their wild imagination. They are a gift of nature, and nature makes them learn the most critical life-lessons that no textbook ever can. They have a curious mind, which sadly gets tamed and influenced by us.

Sid wanted to be on his own; he knew where it was heading, he knew I was behind him and was confident that he would not wander anywhere, but I tried to instill fear in him out of my insecurity.


Let your children wander
for nature will teach them
Let them explore and feel
and you’ll see them turning into a gem

Don’t let your children dream

Yes, you read it correctly.

Why?

Please don’t let your children dream success, name, fame, followers, money, luxury, or anything that gives them instant gratification. Dreams that foster ego give them a false identity, short term fame, and acquired credit does more damage than good to their personality.

Each child is born with lots of imagination and creativity; don’t tame their childhood.

“The greatest legacy one can pass on to one’s children, and grandchildren is not money or other material things accumulated in one’s life, but rather a legacy of character and faith.”

Think about it.

Name and fame

The high- achiever feeling

The short term fame that children are aiming these days is not just dangerous but extremely hampering their growth too.

Youtube subscribers, Instagram followers, pinned at Pinterest, are just a few examples of a false ego boost. They feel the burnout very soon.

Each parent wants to see their child succeed, and if he/she brings them fame, then it boosts the parent’s ego as well, isn’t it? ‘ 

Recognition at school, medals dangling, certificates in hand, scholars badge on the blazer, wow! It looks amazing. There is no argument that the child has worked hard for all the accolades, but I am very sorry to counter-argue this statement.

Ask yourself. After so much of recognition, are you or your child prepared to face any failures?

Do they hang out with friends regularly?

Do they go out and sweat and play?

Do they have bruised knees to understand how it feels?

Are you raising them as dainty girls and rough boys only?

Aren’t you silently happy about the fame they bring to you?

If more answers are yes, then your child is in serious trouble.

Life is not flowery as you’ve made for them.

Young children are writing books /novels and sitting in closed rooms, in front of their tabs and typing for hours and days while they should be getting burned in the sun and playing outside.

Young girls are posting videos with suggestive poses while they should be exhibiting innocence.

Boys are learning abusive languages from online games.

And there are any more examples.

Who is at fault?

Our children are not at fault.

We parents make a mistake here. Our children are watching us every moment. If they see power, money, luxury with no discomfort, they’ll start aiming for such life because they are far from reality. 

How to enable them to make wiser decisions?

Let them fight their own battle. Please enable them to earn respect and followers from their sincere effort. Make them participate in an online essay or story writing competitions and win accolades, rather than you helping in vanity pub.  

Push them to chase the finish line in sweat and dirt. Let them fall, roll in the mud, and come back home with soiled clothes than perfectly clean uniforms.

What’s a good dream?

Yes, they do!

Children should be encouraged to dream of happiness, love, and empathy.

Make then chase butterflies, run in the wild, take those untrodden trails, play in the sun, lets their knees get bruised, let them sweat, play with strays, laugh loud, be as free a bird in the sky.

Make them share their knowledge, allow them to volunteer, and let them gain recognition by their humility. Involve them in gardening. Let them see the beauty of a growing plant from a seed. Read autobiographies. Watch cartoons and roll on the floor laughing with them.

Go out, go out, I beg of you.

And taste the beauty of the wild.

Behold the miracle of the earth

With all the wonder of a child.

 ~ Unknown

Run and chase in the wild

Children will see what we show them. Our dreams considerably influence them.

We have to show them magic and then believe in theirs.

Sharing some links for reference read,

  1. https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/in-the-trenches/201106/the-child-performer
  2. https://www.insider.com/youtuber-top-career-choice-for-us-kids-teens-2019-8
  3. https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/food-thought/201310/the-ugly-side-child-fame-jonbenet-corey-feldman
This beautiful childhood

Enjoy – Winning will come later

On a typical hot and humid Sunday I entered home post noon after a long ride tanned, dirty face, tired with a parched throat.. I removed my helmet which was dripping with sweat, kept it on the table and rested myself on the sofa. With a deep exhalation I said, “Damn, I could have ridden faster and longer today but it was too humid”. My words disappeared in the air as all other members were busy with their Sunday chores. I was too tired to take their observation into account so decided to head for a wash.

On some other day, I entered my house after my run and checked on my sports recording app for my distance and time. I was unhappy and murmured, “what is wrong with me, why can’t I run fast?”

I reacted in similar way after my swimming or stair climb but I thought my words went unnoticed, really?

It was on Sid’s sports day when I realized that my each word was taken into account.

After the prize distribution he came running to us with more than 3 medals dangling around his neck and his face beaming with joy. Surely, it was an elated moment for all of us. He said in all glee, “, Mom, I am the fastest in the entire junior section and no one is even closer to me “. I patted his back and was surely proud of his achievement.

Sid with his hard earned medals

But then the things changed a little. He wanted to race anywhere, anytime and with anyone. Why? To prove and show that he is fastest of all even the younger sibling suffered several times because he was slower. He was not even happy when he stood third in cross-country race among more than 70 students .Sid asked me one day to record his run on Strava (sports app which records your sports activity) .So, the Strava bug was setting in.
After my rides or run he checked upon my distance and speed. He was also curious to know if I was fast in the group and who was the fastest (he knows some of the fastest riders in the group) .This was alarming .I could see fierce competition.

I was at fault.

Unknowingly I introduced this culprit. My activities  are purely my passion. It is my outlet to anxiety, stress and depression but this was not conveyed properly and I could see my son getting into unhealthy competition.

So, how did I correct it?

Talk about enjoyment first , winning may or may not happen – it is just fine !

After my rides I talk about the fun we had , chit-chat, weather, road condition, what we had for breakfast, some funny instances. Also, focusing on how the group rides together and not to race. I focus my discussion  more on the love for ride than any Strava jargon.

One of our group rides

I run alone so after my run I come home with a satisfied smile and then talk about my sprint for a short distance and slow run for longer distance.  Also, discussing long distance running tactics with my boys and asking for their comments.

In the end it is neither the speed nor the distance that will matter but consistency will.

Parents feel elated by the accomplishments of their ward and look forward for medals too.  It is good to get recognized for the efforts but it is equally important to be happy and satisfied without medals dangling around the neck.

We have a medal stand at home and I love that corner of my house. It shows my effort , my participation, my pain , my strength , my hard work and my will to do more . My each medal has a story and a memory to it.

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Our medals: We have a story and memory attached to each one

It is extremely important to get into a state of bliss when you enjoy any sport than comparing, creating records for recognition, proving oneself better than other and feeling low for not being at par with the group. My accomplishment, effort, handwork and dedication are for myself and not to prove to anyone else.

Joy, during my Rajasthan exploration on my cycle

Children give learning of life and my son did too. I shall continue to pursue my passion towards adventure in full fervor but for myself and not for any competition. I would love to get recognized by own inner belief that will scream to me,” DISHA, I KNOW YOU CAN DO IT “and I’ll give MY complete dedication to make it with a smile on my face.

“My boy, love , live , explore and come out as winner in life”

Summer Break- Let it be FREE

“Children need the freedom and time to play. Play is not a luxury. Play is a necessity.” -Kay Redfield Jamison

“Mom can we play 30 minutes more?” pleaded my 10 and 6 year old boys. My instant reply was a loud and clear “NO”, which even altered the security guards. The other two boys playing grabbed their cricket bat and pedaled away as fast as they could.  I asked the boys what was the time and they meekly agreed that they were late for lunch. Like any other mother I was in my best hyper mode. Walking fast ahead of them and mumbling until we reached the elevator. My younger one moved fast and stood in front of me, with hands on his waist and kind of blocking my way. He gave me a stern look exactly the way I gave them few minutes back. In an assertive tone he said,, “Mom, it’s OUR summer break and we can use OUR time whichever way we want. It’s fun to play cricket in the sun!”

Exactly, it is HIS summer break and he can use HIS time whichever way he wants. I panicked because it was noon with blazing sun and the boys were playing unperturbed by the heat. I noticed that there were very few children playing in the sun.

Another observation I made when I went for my run in the evening was ,only teams of boys playing gully cricket. As compared to Mumbai norms thankfully my housing complex has larger play area and various teams defined their pitch to play mini IPL there. I tried looking for girls but couldn’t figure out any. Going ahead there was a bunch of girls of few teenagers and few going to be teens. They were busy chatting, clicking selfies or seeing videos on mobile phones. This is a common site in the era of mobile-phones-taken-away-play-time.

The next morning again my boys picked up their cricket bats, tucked my pet along and went off to play. When I went to pick them up I was surprised to see comparatively more children than the day before in the park. I was happy and surprised too. My happiness didn’t last long as I saw vanity vans and it took me no time to understand that there was a shoot happening in the complex. These children were sitting diligently in the scorching heat waiting for the “CUT” .It pained me.
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(Vanity Vans in the complex )

Summer break is a time where children explore freely. They should explore the nature, find new friends, discover interesting games , get into the world of reading or create painting master pieces by making their hands dirty . Children should learn things on their own either by creating a mess in the kitchen, or battling out with sibling. We have failed to structure our life but are keen to give a proper frame to a child’s brain in HIS/HER free time.

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Summer camp information starts flowing in much before the school is ready to shut for the academic session.  It is good that children learn something new and get inclined towards progressive learning, which these camps offer. But it is equally important to have unstructured playtime for children. Let them find their own team, have their own little quarrel over lost ball, face the victory and defeat together. Let them learn with messy hands , let them be untidy, non-systematic, lazy but  Let them be. You can’t cushion them forever.

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Let them be

Summer break is for all irrespective of gender so make your girls rough. Not just mentally but physically too. Let them face harsh sun. Encourage them to play with boys. There is much more than dolls and indoor games. There is life outside selfie, pouts and Instagram let them know this.

It is their time with no school routine , no time-table , no alarms, no rush for school bus but let them enjoy this MY  TIME. Trust me they’ll be a happier lot once the school reopens and just think don’t we all need OUR time? So do our children .

 

 

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