Teach for India Diaries 6 : http://archana712.posterous.com/

14th November, Children’s day; a date and day that brings back memories of sweets distributed at school, of fancy dress competitions, no studies and of teachers dressing up as students!


The newspaper was flooded with articles about children, article for the children and articles by the children. Amidst all the hoopla about children, something else caught my attention. I read about these over indulgent parents who had gifted their 14 year old and 9 year old with gizmos like blackberries, iPhones and iPads. The 14 year old even had a Tata nano which in his words he “would just practice on till his dad can buy him a BMW or an Audi”. There was another news piece where there was a survey conducted on the average pocket money allocated to kids in metros. Some figures dangerously bordered my TFI stipend mark!

The thought flow in my mind suddenly shifts to today morning when I heard kids complaining about a child who was carrying a 2 rupee coin in his pocket. I am guessing this was his pocket money to buy candy after school from the nearby grocery shop. I now think about the mini societies we are creating in our lives. Rich schools vs. poor schools. Extremely high pocket money vs. 2 rupees. IPads vs. marbles. Who is creating these societies? Are we as parents unknowingly giving our kids too much? Or are we giving too little?

After digging a little deeper into both the scenarios I found out that those over indulgent parents were super successful lawyers and had all the money in the world and obviously very little time. While the parent of my 2 rupee kid was also working three jobs to make ends meet and hence had very little time. This somehow left me wondering if all those gifts were out of a massive guilt trip? Were even the 2 rupees given out of a small scale guilt trip? If yes, I also wonder does economic status really have anything to do with how much time parents have for their children? I see some parents in my school who drop and pick up their kids every single day without fail. I also know of parents who I have seen only once in 20 Parent teacher meetings. If this phenomenon is common across the spectrum of the economic strata, do parents realize that what their children really crave for is their time? And concerned conversation? And to just show a little more interest in their children’s lives?


As much as I envy the current generation of kids for having more things than we could ever imagine, it makes me look back at my childhood, when there were no iPods or mobile phones or fancy cars. Memories of only fantastic family dinners, fun filled family board game matches, family picnics, PTA meetings, snuggling up time under one warm blanket on a chilly afternoon with mum and dad and lots of time with my parents is what remain.


What is wish not only for my 31 kids but for all children is that their parents shower them with as much love and time as with money and gifts. I know for a fact that while the latter is momentary bliss, the former is what loving individuals and great memories are made of…


Leaving you with images of the fancy dress competition at school. I urge you to look carefully for the love, concern and commitment of these parents in the butterfly wings’ detailing. Leaves us thinking of all those times our folks made such selfless contributions during the times we grew up. I thank them so dearly for just being around, the time they have given us and the individuals they shaped us into 🙂 

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