Having kids is like no experience you can imagine. It is ecstasy and joy – at their laughter, discoveries and achievements, anger and frustration – at their helplessness and ours to make things perfect, sadness and fear – at them growing up so fast, all rolled into one. The thrill of learning with your child is the most rewarding experience, it beats the sense of accomplishment at your own achievements. My 7 year old has decided she wants to be an author like her Uncle. He is published and hence the dilemma that she had to wrestle with. It was something she thought about for weeks on end, sleepless nights…till one day.
“Mama, Abid Mamu (Uncle Abid) writes and gazillion people read what he writes, so what can I do. I can’t wait till I’m old to be famous!”
So I tell her to think of a way to reach lots of people, I suggest she write on my blog, or she could enter a writing competition, or send a story to a children’s magazine. I tell her there are countless possibilities.
“Hmmm….but Mama those will take weeks and I will be so old by then.” I think to myself how her concept of aging is not really true or else I would be 80 yrs old by now. She says, “I will ask Siri, she has the ideas of the world inside her. Mama can Siri see inside people’s head?” And so the conversation focuses on Siri and her supernatural ability to think exactly what others think. Did I tell you how I hate Siri.
“So Mama, how old do you think Siri is?”
“Oh I would say she is my age.”
“Ha ha ha ha…” That’s the sound of all three kids at once. (Did I mention Siri is a witch – I have proof)
So when my parents were visiting, she got a set of window markers and as usual her little light bulb in her head switched on immediately. She found a way to reach ‘millions’ of people with her writing.
“Mama this way everyone will know that I am a famous author.” What did she do…here are some views…
We had friends help us as well, my soul mate’s girls came over and did some art work too, so they are also now famous.
“Mama, see me and my friends are already famous, now I think I will become an astronaut when I grow up.”
My Dad tells me, “One day Haadia (my daughter) went and lay down beside him as he was napping and started chatting.” She said, “Nanajaan (grandpa), I cannot sleep at night because I have so much to think about.”
“My Dad was surprised, but played along, “What do you have to think about?”
“Well you know now that I am famous because so may people read what I write, I think I will become an astronaut when I grow up. But who will take care of my kids when I am in space? See that is why I cannot sleep.”
I love how kids think of new ways to be creative and amazed at what keeps them up at night. Why are we as adults so bound by ‘thinking inside the box’? There must be an explanation, and the only one I could come up with is that they condition us at school to do things only a certain way, so we cease to think of any alternatives that might work better for us.
Home schooling was not something I thought about a lot, but increasingly I ponder about…
how our children will lead if they are only taught to follow?
how can we trust just anyone with our most prized assets – our kids?
It is not an easy path I chose to delve into, but a catharsis in our education of our children is vital and necessary. No longer are social work, or volunteering the highlights of education, but they are put on the back burner. Math, science and language are stressed upon. Why?
Will we forever be a society that desires accolades but will not get our hands dirty? Stop and ponder –
Eid Mubarak – the festival of sacrifice, let’s sacrifice our ego and make a pact to learn from our kids…after all I cannot wait that long I will be too old by then.