Sunday, August 23, 2015

Dream Away, Little One!

One thing from my childhood that my little one could do… Hmm...

As I sit here pondering over what this “one thing” might be, I soon come to the honest conclusion that I didn’t do all that much as a child. I had a pretty normal, run of the mill kind of childhood and thanks to working parents I also had large chunks of time all to myself. To do what? Well, pretty much nothing; and by nothing I mean no summer classes, no special classes, no tuitions, coaching classes, no this class, no that class. So what did I do with all that time on my itty bitty hands? Afterall, there is only so much time that can be spent reading or playing with the neighbourhood kids. Don't worry; If I may say so myself, I did not turn out to be a total dunce just because I wasn't sent to umpteen classes. Instead of running from one class to another, my time was spent in blissful dreaming! I lent wings to my imagination and let it soar high with no restrictions whatsoever.

There were no deadlines to worry about nor any distractions to side-track me. I created a whole world of imaginary friends who kept me company when alone and a wide range of fantastical situations which kept me entertained thoroughly! Now, some might doubt if I had schizophrenia but rest assured, I was well aware of the distinction between my make-believe world and the real one. So, at times I was one of Enid Blyton’s Famous Five, hot on the path of solving an important mystery; at another time I was the Princess with magical powers; or I was a teacher who was beloved by all her students; or I was the mother who cooked yummy food for her children and scolded them to eat their vegetables – the scenarios were simply endless! I played all the characters in a story regardless of age or gender and one could often notice me talking to myself, pretending to be one character or the other.

Nowadays, where do children have the time to simply sit and dream? At once, they are accused of wasting time and are packed off to a music class or a dance class or a karate class or a swimming class and what not! Of course, I don’t mean to say that learning new skills is not important. Certainly, they are and one learns the most in the growing years. However, what with the all-pervading spirit of competitiveness that seems to have seeped into our system, as parents we start wanting our children not only to learn everything but also to excel in everything! It is just not enough if the child can draw and colour but she must draw more realistically and colour more perfectly and hence she must be sent to a drawing class asap. It is no longer enough that my child can work out a maths problem on her own, but she must also do it at lighting speed like my friend’s son and hence she needs to attend a brain gym. Amidst all these “serious” commitments when and where does the child have the time, leave alone the energy to dream, to imagine, to fantasize, to simply escape into a make-believe world of her own? What’s more, even if the child does manage to have some time to himself, there are a plethora of distractions right at his fingertips – ranging from the TV to the Tablet - to keep him pretty occupied! Isn’t it a pity? All said and done, only in our childhood do we really have the luxury of indulging in dreams. As the poet William Henry Davies says in his poem Leisure: 

What is this life if, full of care,
We have no time to stand and stare.

No time to stand beneath the boughs
And stare as long as sheep or cows.

No time to see, when woods we pass,
Where squirrels hide their nuts in grass.

No time to see, in broad daylight,
Streams full of stars, like skies at night.

No time to turn at Beauty's glance,
And watch her feet, how they can dance.

No time to wait till her mouth can
Enrich that smile her eyes began.

A poor life this is if, full of care,
We have no time to stand and stare

Yes indeed! So, let's let children free! Simply let them be, let them play with their imagination and let them revel in their dreams – I assure you, you will be pleasantly surprised at the wondrous tales that their budding minds can weave!

*This post is written for the Women’s Web #BachpanWithFlinto blogger contest.

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