Scene 1: We visited a friend’s home recently and were standing in the balcony looking at the road below. His 4-year-old joined and soon he was telling us about every single car passing by, be it Indian, imported, sedan, hatch back etc. Proud papa informed that sonny boy knows not only every car but mobile brand and also logos of all the airlines he has been jet setting with parents since he was six month old.
I was suitably impressed with the gyan that the 4-year-old has amassed at such a tender age. The gyan session was interrupted by boy’s mother and we were called inside for tea. Soon the boy showed his skills on a gaming console reaching the highest level. I was not sure whether to be impressed by all this display of brand and gadgetry proficiency.
Scene 2: About 2 weeks later same friend called me in a state of panic it was about 6 pm on a Sunday, they wanted to know which hospital will have a pediatrician available. Apparently, sonny boy was playing in the building garden and in process of decorating a play house has broken some twigs whose sap has gone in his eyes causing great irritation and reddening. Fortunately one of the hospitals close by I knew had ER available on Sunday evenings also and the kid is fine now.
Now I am not going to talk about the parents not taking care of the kid as both the parents adore their son and are highly educated IT professionals. My point is something different, a kid who is smart enough to identify 50 kinds of cars and mobile phones and God knows 100 other things at such a young age has no idea about common plants found in our vicinity and the fact that some of them can be poisonous. This tells what we are teaching our kids and how alienated we are from Mother Nature.
Our own daughter only theoretically knew that milk comes from cow but for all practical purpose believed that it comes from poly packs. She was astonished to see the process of milking a cow during a vacation, when we took her to a nearby village to show her the rural India. Needless to say she could not believe when she saw tomatoes growing on plants and lanes of cauliflowers smiling at her.
That is the reality of our urban kids in India, they know a hundred things that I call information or data point but of not much use for them in day-to-day life. I am not sure what importance knowing 50 different car models at the age of 4 has, but definitely knowing what plant in the garden can cause itching can one day save the little one from a visit to the Emergency room and an afternoon spent vomiting and crying. Like they say common sense is the most uncommon sense.
I think as parents it is up to us what all we teach them, just like we are not waiting for schools to teach the kids about car models, we should not wait for teaching kids about some things in our surroundings.
I would love to hear your experience about such things when not knowing about simple day-to-day things around us have proved to be dangerous or painful for the kids. This should help other parents on Parentous.
Sasha and Prasad Np are proud parents of 2 girls whom they fondly call Princess and Pinkette. He wears many hats after taking a break from being corner office critter for a long time. He is now an entrepreneur, blogger, photographer, traveler and a potential investor in start-ups with unique concepts especially if they are in travel related business. He blogs at Desi Traveler, and can be reached at Facebook and Twitter.