Children learn from what we do not what we say!!!!

November, 2020

Dear Friends

It is said that children learn from what we do and not what we say. Actions speak louder than words. Our actions impact the growing up years of our children. Recently I was reading what a young man had written about his dad on his 60th birthday. He described what a typical working day looked like from the eyes of a young school boy as he observed his dad start the day very early at 4 am and wind up only by 11 pm after baking, selling, working at the hotel as a patisserie chef, coming back to the family bakery to keep things ready for the next day etc. He recalled how hard his dad worked, how he cared for the family and gave them the required time on weekends. Looks an everyday thing most of us do but imagine why the young man wrote about this. He said he learnt the value systems from his dad without he ever having to preach him. I could connect with a countless such things that my mother did as an everyday chore that has left a deep imprint in my mind. Each one of you will discover yourself if you are able to connect the dots of your childhood with the key influencers.

Evaluating a podcast of a fellow Toastmaster, I heard him reminiscence his growing up years under a disciplinarian yet affectionate guardian uncle and how his emphasis on learning math or cleaning the fan blades or building an own study-table have made him a man that he is today. He said proudly that his resilience comes from his mother, a single parent who toiled the whole day to make ends meet and give him a quality life. He fondly recalled the guardian aunt who would hand out a piece of the big chocolate at the end of the day only after helping her in the kitchen, gardening and carrying the groceries. I am sure he values the single chocolate piece earned back then a lot more than the whole bar that he can afford today.

It is said children may forget what you say but they never forget how you made them feel. I recall with indignation an incident I witnessed last week during my walk in the nearby park. A group of retired oldies who are the self-appointed caretakers of the park (or so they think and you can find this breed in almost all the parks) were as usual gossiping on the bench. Suddenly one of them stopped a young, fair looking, plump boy whose face was almost covered with the mask except for his eyes that gave away that he was not a local. He brazenly asked him “Hey you, are you from China ?” The boy who had just finished his running was shaken. He replied “No uncle I am from Nepal”. The rest of the oldies laughed at him while another commented, displaying his ignorance “Look at his eyes, he may be from Nepal or from Himachal or some north-eastern state”. The original oldie probed further “Do you have a gun ?” I normally do not interfere even if there is some incident happening but I couldn’t tolerate to see the helpless boy, all alone amidst a pack of mindless, hounding elders. I questioned the oldie “Sir, why are you targeting a young boy who was not violating any rules of the park ?” Taken aback, he blabbered “Madam, asking just for fun only. He is looking like a Chinese. What if he attacks us ?” I admonished him that how can he have so-called fun at the expense of a young boy. The boy left the park immediately, confused and scared. I don’t know how long this incident will remain scarred in his young mind. I don’t know what he will make of elders, what of our city. It was body-shaming in a way, country-shaming in a way, parentage-shaming in a way – all for which he was not responsible in any way ! I am damn sure the child will never forget how he was made to feel that day.

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