Babies are cute, Babies bring happiness, Babies are lovable, adorable and beautiful… We cherish and nuture babies. We also ensure that we do the best for our babies. Most of us have our own beliefs in bringing up our children. In India, it is common for parents to think it is their duty to teach kids right from wrong, to teach them discipline, to teach them religion, and generally to teach our kids all that we know.
But, what if there is another way to look at children and parenting?
A baby is another human being. Right from it’s birth, it is in the process of becoming an adult man or woman. All babies are born with the instinct to know what it needs for survival. We do not teach a new born to nurse. Neither do we teach a new born to sleep. Every baby knows how to do these two vital activities so that it can survive. This is not taught.
Humans are born with the capability to KNOW. We can think, we can observe and understand. A child is capable of learning all that it wants by itself. All children are born intelligent and can learn what is needed for him / her at every stage in life.
Does this mean a child does not need parents? No, Parents are essential to every child. Parents protect the child. They help children with their activities till they have grown in to an independent adult. But, parents cannot take over their children’s life. Parenting does not mean parents defining their children’s dreams. It rather means helping children become a full-fledged individual with their own dreams.
This happened a year back… A friend was worried about her 2 year old child’s inability to learn numbers. She taught her child using daily examples to count. She had tried the abacus, flash cards and educative books. But still her little one did not count beyond two. She recites all numbers by heart, but cannot count objects. This was worrying my friend a lot. But since it was frustrating both of them, they forgot numbers for a while at their home.
One fine day, her little daughter told her that there were many crows in the backyard. The next day, she told her granny that she needs many peanuts to feed her toys. Then she asked her dad for a flower. Slowly it was obvious that the little one was distinguishing between one and many. Over six months from then, she now says she picked two flowers, she has one nose with two holes, her doggie has four legs etc. In this six month period, no one taught the child numbers, or used the books or flash cards. She seems to know numbers naturally, through her own observation and understanding. It is not deliberate teaching, but an example where the child knows naturally.
This learning by observation and understanding is not a one time activity. Humans do this all through our life. From learning to sit and walk as babies, … to creating new dishes and innovations in the kitchen, we continue this self paced learning through out life.
It is common in India that parents want their children to excel academically. School curricula that boasts of academic excellence, international exams and bookish knowledge are believed to have higher standards than a play way learning curricula. Abacus classes that teach children to increase their maths solving skills are a mandatory after school activity. In the name of academics and excellence, we are making our kids forget their in-born ability for self paced learning.
Children in many towns and cities have time only to read school books and prepare for exams. Their parents dream of making them score good marks and land a high paying job. But, his attitude towards life, how well he evolves socially and mentally, his creative talents, his presence of mind etc are not given importance. These skills can be acquired only by natural learning through out life. It is acquired only by giving the child freedom to learn on its own pace and observation.
Are parents in India ready to understand this…? It is time to respect the freedom for a child to observe, understand and learn at her own pace. Let us give our children the joys, activities and freedom of childhood.
. Image source: Static News,