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“Coming up next is a ballet performance by the upper KG, called Little Red Riding Hood,” roared the speakers.
Tiny little feet carried pretty looking performers on stage. Bosky, a six year old, stood on stage, ready to begin upon her teacher’s cue. As she glanced at the audience, she saw the room packed to the last row. Since the performance was housed in the school itself, the classroom was converted into a theatre.
Bosky was keen to see her parents. They had promised they would be there. Where were they?
The music flowed out and filled the room, and Bosky knew it was time to look at the teacher and follow her cues.
The ballet ended to a huge applause. Everyone was standing, and again she couldn’t find her parents. But she saw her little brother Joe. Her anxious face broke into a grin. She waved out to him and he waved her back excitedly.
In a while the teacher announced that they would now be distributing the certificates. Waiting at the wings, Bosky again kept peeping at the audience, where were her parents? She wanted to see them. Since Joe was there she was sure that they were there as well. So why couldn’t she see them? She so badly wanted to see them.
When Bosky’s name was announced, she walked to the centre stage to receive the certificate while her eyes remained glued to the audience. Just as she received her certificate, she heard her name being called out. She recognised her dad’s voice and looked in the direction. A hand waved at her. She saw her dad’s face for a second before it vanished behind the camera again. Joe, her little brother called out her name and she looked at his bright and radiant smile and felt comforted. Right next to him was her mom. Bosky looked hard at her mother, but she was glued to the camcorder. A brief glance was all that Bosky got.
Both mom and dad were there, but neither of them were looking at her.
Bosky kept looking at her parents in turns and hoped they would ‘look at her’, but they kept looking right into the gadgets, ensuring that they captured the glorious moment for eternity.
The next name was announced and it was time for her to leave the stage. Bosky walked down the stairs wishing she could have seen her parent’s faces, being able to know how they felt, and whether they were happy for the job she had done.
In the car, on the way back home, Bosky asked her mom and dad about how they felt about her performance. They both pulled out their respective gadgets to show her the recording and the photographs.
Bosky looked at the images for a while and then looked at them both in despair. Her dad enquired, “What is it sweetheart? Aren’t the pictures good?”
“They are,” replied Bosky. “But they are all my pictures!”
Baffled, her parents looked at each other and her mom asked, “Well isn’t that a good thing?”
Bosky was still upset and asked, “But what about your faces? I wanted to see your faces when you saw me perform. I wanted to know whether you were happy. But I couldn’t. I thought it might have been captured in this camera, since you people kept looking at it all the time.”
It finally dawned upon Bosky’s parents what she really meant.
An infant begins to know its mother first by voice, then by touch and finally by her eye-contact. It is the face that pops onto the child’s world most number of times throughout the day. And these are the pair of eyes that the child falls in love with. And before you know it, the eyes become the most significant medium of communication because it can transcend distances. An affectionate look from a loved one across the room, can work magic. A flying kiss from a mother outside the classroom can sooth the crying child more than words can express. These are the extra special bonding moments that leave a positive and permanent impression. That’s seeing things from a child’s perspective.
The eye is rightly said to be the window into the soul. Emotions of joy, sorrow, grief, excitement, pain, anger, anguish, empathy, all can be expressed and felt through an eye contact. Yet today this most ‘human’ experience seems to have its priority misplaced.
Here’s the thing
Children grow far too quickly. Before you know it, their world will be filled with too many ‘others’ and you will be fighting for your rights.
Its time you hit the checklist to see whether you are doing your things right, to be able to even appear in their list. The advent of the screens, be it on the phone or other devices, the virtual worlds are becoming more important than the real ones and constantly threaten to hijack the parent-child relationship. What is true for you today will be true for them tomorrow. It is important to realise that like Bosky, your child may know that you love him/her. But it is always reassuring to see that love again and again in the eyes of their parents. And more so when they have outdone themselves at something. They need to be able to have the assurance and comforting space to make full meaning of these new experiences that they have. Such emotional ‘nurturance’ can only be provided by the parents.
So what do we do when we wish to permanently capture those cherishing moments to relive it again and again, and yet not lose out on the real experience either?
Family and friends are more than happy to pitch in such happy times. Let someone do the job for you. But you remain focused on your child. That truly empowers and cements the child’s confidence. These treasured moments are far and few between. Do not compromise on those. Even if they are not captured on camera, they will be permanently impressed into the heart and mind of those who truly matter. And isn’t that more important than the post on Fb? Be there organically for your dear ones, in their moments of glory, behold and love them across the room, all with a ‘look’ of pride shining through, more than words can tell.
I ensure that I give all the undivided attention to my kid. Explore, experiment and grow with him at every stage. Participate with your child in this magical phase of their lives and see the magic dust descend…. Khuljaye bachpan!!