The spectrum of this blog seems massive and I suppose is a long time coming. Don’t quite know where to start, but I will give it a shot anyways. I like to say I get along with kids way better than I get along with adults. The rationale behind this is that kids are non-judgmental, quite un-materialistic, absorbent of new ideas and generally more fun to be with than adults. This theory was put to a slight test this time around.
So I quit my god awful job, gathered by failing health and rushed home for some serious R&R. My nephew all of 5 years became my responsibility during meal times and I ended up learning a lot of things from him. Patience, being one mammoth lesson that I still haven’t mastered, but more so, he became a mirror of everyone around him, including me. It comes as quite a scary revelation, but if one wishes to know about a set of people, pay attention to the kids they are bringing up. I don’t believe in this Asian nonsense of blaming the mother if the kid messes about, it is the parents responsibility at the outset and then the rest of the adults around the kid. My nephew reminded me of a clean slate that added words to its surface every day, in various hand writings.
Mid Ramadan my cousins came to visit with my Grandad. Now these cousins are the ones that I was closest to since ages, and have always gotten along with, they are like my babies and I have always treated them so. Spending time with them this time around reflected a lot of new traits in them and the elders around them, which for quite some time I found difficult to deal with. Now there were 4 kids in the house, ages ranging from 5 to 12. Sharp as tack, observant, slightly spoilt, growing up but still kids, they ended up in my “taking care” basket, a prospect that I quite looked forward to. We watched a lot of movies together, prayed during Ramadan, did calligraphy, had a mini holiday in the City of Nawabs, sorted out quite a few temper tantrums, but in all this fun, a despicable streak of materialism was rearing its ugly head in the kids demeanor This was new territory for me. The thing is when my brother and I were growing up; we were not familiar with the concept of money or who paid for what. We were literally coerced into appreciating a gift and not valuing it by how much money was paid for it.(Thank you mum for that)
Coming to these kids, every single thing we did or bought was questioned by “Who paid for this”? Somehow the payer was of utmost importance and that burned me up, and this was not a one off incident. Amongst the 3 cousins, the eldest 2 were relentless in knowing, and would talk of nothing but how much the new video game costed, and shockingly the 2nd eldest went so far as to describe how the will of her father ought to be divided. She is 11!! Things came to head when I had ordered a book and had to borrow money from my granddad to pay for it, and then paid him back straightaway. The youngest one questioned me about it 2 weeks later with proper righteous inquisition. I felt ashamed to even have asked my granddad to pay then. As much as my temper flared then and hurt for having seen the kids not be kids anymore but mini clueless adults, I came to realize it is not their fault. They are echoing what is said around them. My money, my property, my share in the will, these are the words of adults, with kids as mouth pieces. The very same kids throwing a fit over a pack of Oreos, were also capable of saying “Single kids are spoilt, that’s why a couple should never have just one kid”. Wow, and I mean it. Kids are cute in their audacity which has the potential to amuse as well as shock.
Speaking about anyone’s kid is a very touchy topic and the immediate retort would be “Look at your-self first”. That’s exactly what I did. I looked at myself and saw I don’t care much for money, and I really appreciate gifts given to me. Stubbornness aside I am still absorbing things around me, and have an almost vehement streak of not conforming to the herd instinct.
That said, age has taught me to sift (well kind of) between the right and wrong, because I alone am responsible for the repercussions. What we adults need to appreciate, is that kids don’t have a sifter yet. They merely absorb. To load ones biases, weakness and pettiness on kids one is responsible for is akin to a crime because one is not just destroying a moment, but destroying a being for life. Just because an adult has had a hard life making money, doesn’t mean he needs to thrust it on his kids. Just because an adult might have issues with a family member, it is not called for to talk ill of him/her in-front of the kids.
Why is it ok to discuss the wonders of money and ill of family members, but racial hatred and homosexuality are an absolute no no. How do we decide to what extent we let children around us grow? If as an adult I am utterly confused, what must the state of these poor kids be? We are stealing their childhood like a jigsaw puzzle, and allowing school yard, Wikipedia, horror of horrors Youtube , and whatsapp fill in the blanks. Its true, I saw it not a week ago!
I am not a parent, and don’t intend on writing any parenting skills. What I do intend on doing is damage control, or as much as I can possibly do. All I request and wish is this- ‘Elders please don’t use your kids as a punching bag and instil in them all your negativity, bias and pettiness. Kids look to their elders for example and approval all their lives. Don’t misuse this reliance to misguide them.’
I guess this is what shocked me about the kids this time around. I loved being with them because they were not as clueless as adults (back then), but this time around they seemed to be so and that scared me.
To sum up, being all agitated I asked my mum if all this did not annoy her, and she said simply, “Kids this age can be improved upon and made into better people. What irritates me is adults who do the same things and are incapable of being improved upon”. Well said. We all are constantly evolving and need tweaking and polishing, and I intend on trying my best to avoid instilling those values I despise in kids around me and in turn, myself.