I’ve always prided myself in being a good human being, not the best, but yes, someone who is compassionate towards others, someone who is willing to share, and someone who wants to help and spend time with those who are lesser-fortunate. Yes, I pride myself in being all this, but more than that, I’m proud of the fact that I had the good-fortune of being my parents’ daughter, and that I could grow up with these values being instilled in me.
So when I became a parent myself, it was a natural progression. I knew I had to teach my daughter the ways of life, the way to becoming a good human being, from an early age. Yes, I was sure I had to teach her that growing up and ‘being human’ were actually the same things, that as you grow up in age, so should your humanity quotient.
Many parents and young mums I have met or am friends with feel that it’s too early to teach your baby the basics of life, that you can’t teach values to your little one while they are babies and toddlers or even pre-schoolers. Absolutely wrong!
My husband and I have been regularly working with street kids and slum kids over the years, making home-cooked meals for them during the weekends, arranging collection drives for clothes, toys, stationery, shoes and other essentials in our housing society, going door-to-door to 108 families collecting old discarded things that are still in usable condition, and even starting and carrying out online campaigns and shout-outs for others to help as and when they can. When my daughter was born, all this came to a standstill for the first few months. We were both new first-time parents, handling everything on our own, and there wasn’t really time for anything else. After the first few months, my hubby took over to doing a little bit that he could do on his own.
As my daughter crossed her first birthday, we decided it was time to begin her lessons in life. Of course she was too small to understand what was going on. So we simply began by taking her along with us as we met these kids. For her, it was a plain outing, but yes, she did start getting familiar with the routine.
As my little girl grew in years, she began understanding that it was actually fun to share her things with those who didn’t have much. So even as I would clean up our cupboards and take out clothes that were not being worn much, or putting away shoes and utensils that I wasn’t really using and someone could have a lot of help with, my daughter started taking out her own clothes and toys that she was not playing with, or even those that she was playing with (she was still not that old enough to understand the difference). When we packed up the bags, my daughter would get excited as we reached the slums, and would start recognising some of the faces and smile back.
Now my daughter is 5, and sharing and caring is a regular part of her life. She keeps biscuit packets in the car, and hands them over to any child who she sees at the many traffic signals. Sometimes she also keeps a few candies. If she goes to get a burger, she makes sure we buy an extra burger or two, and hand it to the street-child she saw standing outside. If we stop at a road-side joint to eat, she will tell us to get the same for the child who comes and asks for money. She has spent her birthdays at an orphanage that we occasionally visit, and loves spending time dancing and playing with those kids, while her mother stands at a corner, teary-eyed at the other little ones without a family there, and a little bit overwhelmed that what I learnt from my parents has now become a strong part of my daughter’s life at such an early age!
My daughter has already been made aware of the fact there are people who have more than enough, and there are those who hardly have anything. She knows that it’s a responsibility of those who have a lot, to share it with those who don’t and who would really need it. She has recently learnt to pronounce the word ‘responsibility’, and is determined to make full use of it in her actions as well.
Yes, I am a proud mother and I admit it!
Debolina Raja Gupta loves being a mommy and best friend to her 5-year old princess. A working mom, voracious reader, social activist, photographer, poet, travel freak, beauty writer and an everything-of-sorts. Best fun is story time and our fashionista time together. My blogs: The Book Worm, A Few Thoughts Here And There, My Little One And Me, Beauty Makeup And More.