Bringing up children..

We were at the Grand Canyon. It was almost end of day. Tired and exhausted. The muscles cried for some rest after hours of battling the sun, the heat and the height. Perhaps for the first time, the camera was whining too, with the batteries draining.

Attempting to take one last shot of the ‘depth’ of the Canyon, I ventured as far as daring would get me to and the missus would allow. It was a sheer drop beyond the point I was attempting to walk upto.

Earlier in the day, the bus driver had joked, ‘If you want to get to the bottom of the canyon faster than the bus, I recommend that you keep walking off that ledge. Beyond a point, it would take you all of 6 minutes”. And then he indulged himself into a shoulder-jerking-in-fits–of-laughter !

His words ringing in my ear, I took each step of the descent to the ledge, with great care. When I was about 5 feet away from what seemed like the end of the world, two important occurrences took place. One gradually receding and another getting more and more pronounced.

One, courage was steadily evaporating. Slowly but steadily. Leaving behind traces of the big sized occupant that it once was. For, from where I was, I could see the end of the stretch of land I was standing on, and the beginning of a sheer drop.

Two, from a distance, the missus was howling me to stop right there. Howling to the point of embarrassment. Anyone could have mistaken me for one of those greedy bigamists who was just running away with her jewels! There perhaps were two elements that powered her thought : One, she had heard the driver. Two, she knew me well !

Anyway, the combination of those two factors got me to stop moving, at the speed of light. Perhaps faster. I stopped. Waved back to her. Indicating that I am not moving an inch further, and she stood right there, in a distance, crossing arms.

In that moment, there was transformation. Of the howling scare on her face, transforming into a solid stare, perhaps indicating what would happen if I did. These of course are moments of silence and depth in our marital life!

As a consolation, I pulled out my camera, and started clicking.

Which is when this young mother walked past me with her kid in one hand and the camera in the other. I was aghast. She walked right past me, straight to the ledge. Got her kid to sit down, she sat down too. Two steps to her back or one step to the left would mean she would go down thousands of feet ! A concealed squeal escaped my lips.

She pulled out her camera and started taking pictures ! I stared in awe. I turned to gesture to the missus to see whats happening only to see that she her face was buried in her palms, not wanting to see what was going on.

That is end of the story. Obviously the lady, after clicking few pictures, stood up, looked around and walked away. Impervious to all the hyper pumping that she caused in at least two hearts.

What we didn’t know was that this scene was to take several avatars and play itself out many times over during our trip. The settings were different but the theme was the same. Parents that seemed inclined to expose kids to what could be called, a certain ‘spirit of adventure’.

Which took me back to how kids are brought up in the households of neighbours / friends / relatives and colleagues back home here. For instance, would anybody let their kids go that close to a ledge? Am not so sure. ( You would notice that I am conveniently side stepping the angle of ‘Would anyone go close to a ledge’).

Which is when the mind darted to a comment that an auto rickshaw driver made some time back, while discussing seat belts. The sum and substance of what he said was this : Daily life in itself was such a challenge, adventurous and risk-prone.

He spoke of his kids who were about in their pre-teens years old, who carry the satchels, cross the highway, take a public bus, at peak hour just to reach school. Everyday. For the past several years.

Now, quite obviously, crossing a highway will not be at a zebra crossing but just looking at and dodging traffic and rushing through. The public bus perhaps has all of four inches of feet space available. Of potholes, the less said the better.

With an arid tongue and matter of fact tone, he said, ‘This safety & risk business is for soft people like you who live in high rises. Beyond a point, nothing matters’. The rest of the journey was populated with such conversation laced with moments of silence.

Quite often, I wonder how kids are brought up here. Forget risk. Do kids in modern day metro go out and catch fresh air, throw themselves at nature, run with gay abandon…? Like we used to ? I am not sure.

Ofcourse, I wonder what you think..

16 thoughts on “Bringing up children..

  1. shobha says:

    Kavi,that was a brilliant post!! I am glad you noticed. Your observations are sharp and true. There are no bad children, but there are children who are recipients of ‘bad parenting’. Your blog displayed the power to impart, that most parents today totally ignore. The result is the lack of adventure spirit, the ability to take risks, or even to pursue your own dreams (which maybe contrary to the parents’ dream.)Thank you for that wonderful word picture. Can I have your permission to use it as an illustrations in some of my sessions? shobha.

  2. I am speechless…
    a. I was feeling like being at Grand Canyon.
    b. The message is so clear.
    Really as usual great post Kavi.

  3. Swatantra says:

    Well said Kavi!! Many a times we overprotect our kids. Every day morning when i drop Siddharth to the school in a car, there are many kids i see on the road who cannot afford the cars walking across the fleet of these cars and managing their way. It is the way of life which makes them strong.

  4. aativas says:

    There is a thin line between over-protection and adventure – if not always at times. But yes, overall we are cowards .. we talk so much about eternal soul and cling to the safety of bodily life!

  5. Insignia says:

    Super!! Trust you to come with such posts.

    Parents here are over protective. Forget the adventure; how many parents would encourage their kids to go out for trekking?

    Scared due to lack of safety measures maybe. But just let go! they will fend for themselves is a true way to learn

  6. Jeevan says:

    To say about in Vadivelu style “for her taking risk it seems eating rusk”. hehe.. Today’s kids wonder for nothing and it’s all the way brought up. What they practice is safe at home, smooth rides on luxury cars and experience life at social network and television. I had been in sheer drop once in Valparai – down in a foot step, but this is grand anyway!

  7. ashok says:

    great post kavi..

  8. nsiyer says:

    The insecurity and fears of parents get manifested in their children.
    Well written.

  9. I have thought similarly many a times. Not many let our kids be free and over protect them. And, we are busy in our own world and the kids conquer the unreal world on digital gadgets. How unreal? Huh!

  10. ~G says:

    Don’t know if it was meant to be funny but really LOL at “These of course are moments of silence and depth in our marital life!”


  11. Lotus Eaters says:

    I is something like :”To have the cake and eat it too” …………want the children to be really smart (not only in studies in every aspects of life)but we all never let them to do thing on their own………..

  12. Pearl says:

    There are many styles of parenting, of course, but it seems that, in the U.S., we do not believe that things can hurt us, and that, if they do, there will be court-ordered recompense…


  13. dr.antony says:

    That mother was probably confident and I cant call it irresponsibility. I have very bad examples of over protection in my own family.Parents have to give responsible freedom to children.

  14. Truly enjoyed the post. Trust me, having witnessed such “howling” recently in Mumbai, I could pretty much picture the scene.

    Yes, the true sense of adventure is inculcated at an early stage and that helps them greatly in their lives, both professionally and personally.

    We are more emotional than westerners even at work. That is a key reason for us to be not adventurous, as we consider many personal constraints in life before taking the first step in anything.

  15. ♥ Braja says:

    That was somethin’ 🙂

    Nice to see you again Kavi 🙂

  16. cyber gipsy says:

    ( combination of those two factors got me to stop moving, at the speed of light. Perhaps faster.) LOL ! Reverse velocity ?

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