I met an acquaintance and asked him causally, ‘Hows your baby girl?’
He said – She is fine but plastered in the legs, she has hurt herself while horse-riding.
Out of deep concern, I uttered almost instantly, she’s only seven, why did you put her into this activity?
And pat came the reply – I want to let her do everything. I will not discourage her from doing anything. The fears must be conquered in the phase of childhood otherwise they dwell permanently.
I couldn’t agree more with him. I smiled because I knew what he said was bang on!!!
When I was in middle-School, I had evolved into a perfect bookworm and a creepy sportsperson. I would sit in the library and prefer reading story books to escape the sports period. My friends thoughts I was abnormal. They thought… how could anyone dare to miss the games classes? My love for books was definitely one reason but my behaviour was the outcome of my fear too. I stayed back and kept away from the fields because I was scared I would fall and hurt myself. It could not be termed phobia but maybe it was half way to it.
The story and the reason for this, dates back to my nursery days. My school was a small one and it did not have a big play-ground and whatever it had was all cemented with little specks of green grass. We had lots of swings around but I was not interested in them. At that time, I was not a lazy bum and I loved running around whenever left to myself, although there were no atheletic genes in me.
To my bad luck and my parents woe, I would fall almost every fifth day, hurt myself, get bruised up and shed tears. The first-aid nurse in school had started identifying me better than anyone and I am sure she had developed motherly love for me too. She bandaged my cuts with great care and kindness. My knees, ankles and elbows spoke of my adventures and debacles when the affected areas swelled and changed into colours like black, blue or purple.
School fun would get over in six hours and then I would dread going home. I knew what lay in store for me. My Mum would cry over it and then she would scold me. She would really get angry and warn me not to run around. For sometime, she asked me to be careful. A few times she reprimanded me but later she banned my running around because I had actually started hurting myself a lot. My parents feared that I would break all my bones one day and return home all plastered up.
One day after a great fall, she made sure that my class-teacher did not let me run around. Both of them conspired to make me believe that my hands and legs would get hurt, deformed and I would look ugly if I ran around aimlessly and kept falling. The fear of getting deformed and turning into an ugly girl settled down in me and I stopped running around.
That was the only activity that would really make me happy but the fear born due to my mum’s extra concern took over it. Thus, I could never become a sprinter. Similarly, my parents thought I would not be comfortable under water, hence they never exposed me to swimming and to this date, I do not know how to overcome my fear of drowning. Though, they only did it all to protect me but it turned into a phobia.
Well, I just want to convey that children should not be held back from exploring their areas of interest. We so often teach our kids to be well-mannered and groomed but this way we actually make them behave like grown-ups and not young because that is what pretense is all about being someone that you are not. While training them to be perfect, we kill their genuineness, sense of freedom and happy chuckles.
My neighbour all day keeps pushing her kids into ways of sophistication, walking in small steps and talking in brief as if they were star-kids. I am sure they have forgotten the joys that come of jumping in the rain puddles. We warn our kids so often and nag them not to do this or that, but do we ever realise that if not now, when would they be doing it all? Until the child jumps in the mud puddle, how will he/she know that it stains the clothes and the shoes and splutters all of it on oneself? At the same time, the joys of doing the jumping act has no replacements too.
So, when we restrict children from trying their hands at something new, we send a wrong message to them. Either we totally pull them off and instill disinterest in them or we make them more curious to try it out when we are not prying on them. Both are actually not in the favour of the children. I know, parents do it merely out of concern, in fact, more to keep the kids safe and sound.
But if everyone thought about safeguarding their kids from the cuts and hurts, there would be no sportsperson in the world. Thus, let them get black, blue and purple and let them just run around but yes, definitely not over the sofas and dinning tables. Don’t restrict them from non-stop talking when you take them to the friends place, let them be extroverts and never laugh over their acts, this affects their confidence gravely.
Engineer by Profession and an ABC by Passion, Manjulika Pramod would elaborate it as Artist, Blogger and a Crazy one for Books. Putting it other way round she loves to travel and write travelogues, she plays with colors to vent out her creative pangs. She is also an avid reader and out to spread the reading virus. She works with a telecom MNC and in little spare times, she reviews books and interviews authors. Manjulika has a story published in Chicken Soup for the Soul to her credit and you can catch her on her blog.