What we’ve learnt from our little children…
Six parents reveal life’s biggest lessons that they wouldn’t have learnt if not for their little ones!brunch Updated: Dec 30, 2017 21:10 IST
Love = Respect
Aazeen (3), Natasha and Gautam Gambhir, Cricketer
Gautam: “Aazeen has been taught at kindergarten to be respectful towards her books, colour box, crayons, etc. One day, when I came back from practice dead tired, I casually dropped my kit bag near the front door and forgot about it. Aazeen noticed this and tried pulling the big bag to its allocated place in my room. Obviously she couldn’t move it an inch, but when we asked what she was trying to do, she said, ‘Papa, my ma’am always says never leave your books or school bags on the floor as they are your best friends and teach you so much. The same way, Papa, this cricket bag is your best friend as it helps you score runs in the IPL.’ Believe me, I have never dumped my kit bag like that again.”
God of small things
Myra(5), Avika(3), Neha and Vivek Ramabhadran, Vice President Swarovski Professional
Neha: “Our spunky little three-year-old, Avika, the bravest of us all, saw something in a statue of Ronald McDonald she spotted in a mall that none of us ever did. She ran up to it and prayed to it with her eyes closed. Then she recited the Gayatri Mantra a few times, touched its feet, and turned to us, expecting us to do the same. All we could do was laugh till it hurt. But she showed us that you can find God and goodness anywhere, and in anything.”
Vivek: “Kids see the world with wonder, through fantastic eyes. For Myra, the world is full of magic and happy stories. Once, stuck in traffic in Chennai, she turned to us, then pointed to a group of girls, and said: ‘Appi! Look! So many Batmans!!’ It was a group of girls in burqas! Yes, the world is a magical place, full of superheroes. I learned that from Myra.”
Living in the moment
Nevaan (2), Jasleen and Rahul Kanwal, News Anchor
Rahul: “Marriage did not change my life as much as the day Nevaan was born. That’s when I truly learned the meaning of patience and priorities. As a news anchor, my life hurtles from one breaking news incident to another, and nothing can get in the way. The news always came first – till Nevaan arrived.
There was a big story breaking on the campaign trail in Gujarat. I had to make phone calls to the assignment desk and get our reporters on the story. But Nevaan had just woken up and kept demanding, ‘Pappy, horse.’ I tried to explain to him that there was really important breaking news to deal with. But for a two-year old, riding on his father’s back is way more important than anything the Prime Minister may say about Mani Shankar Aiyar. So the breaking news had to wait till Nevaan got bored of horse-riding on his dad’s back.
All my life, news has been the top priority. But Nevaan helped me realise that life is about managing priorities, that sometimes it’s okay to slow down and put family first.”
Jasleen: “Nevaan has just turned two, and since he was born, I have been struck by the curiosity he has towards life. I still remember when he learned to crawl. The awe with which he finds immense pleasure in the smallest of things, and that is a tremendous lesson to learn. On a vacation in Bhutan, it was pure joy to see him in action, examining pinecones, wildflowers and stones near the river. Every few seconds came the question – ‘What dat?’
Later, when we went rafting, Nevaan told us, “Boat nice.” For him, every moment is priceless. As adults, we forget to live in the moment. We tend to walk through life without pausing to soak in all that it has to offer. Nevaan has helped me rediscover life with a child-like innocence. Though, truthfully, when it comes to ‘being in the moment’, let’s just say it’s work in progress!”
Sahira (9), Ilesha (6), Charu and Jayant Singh Chaudhary, Politician
Charu: “Last year, my older daughter, Sahira, was bullied by a classmate, and she was traumatised. Understandably, she didn’t want to go to school, and she’d beg me to speak to her tormenter’s mother. However, having gone through a similar experience myself, and having witnessed the positive power of my own mother’s gentle but determined counselling, I was very clear that this was a battle my child had to fight on her own. By the end of that school year, my shy, timid child managed to find her own voice and handled the bully in her own way.
I learnt two very valuable lessons from this episode. Firstly, frank and open communication with our children is the most important tenet of our relationship with each other. Secondly, everyone is capable of standing up for themselves. We just need to motivate and trust them.”
Jayant: “My daughters have a well-established routine of hugging their parents at bedtime. I grew up in a slightly formal atmosphere, where hugging wasn’t the norm. But my girls’ hugs and kisses have taught me to love more openly.”
Looking good = Feeling good
Aarna (2), Divya and Rahul Mishra, Fashion designer
Divya: “When you have the perspective of a child, you do not judge people and you have no expectations. Watching Aarna, I feel ashamed that as adults we are always judging people – whether to talk to them, or even whether to smile. Her happiness, excitement and innocence are infectious. Sometimes I feel we should all stay like that.”
Rahul: “I look forward to my Sundays and holidays because then I’m with Aarna, which means that I rediscover the child in me. And Aarna has helped me respect my profession even more. As fashion designers, Divya and I keep our home and clothes very simple. So it was really a big surprise for me to see my little daughter carefully watch her mother getting ready, and then imitate that, ending by admiring herself in the mirror. She made me realise that looking good equals feeling good; that fashion is not just about vanity.”
Lesson in loyalty
Biscotti (4), Shobhna and Vijay Arora, Fashion Designer
Vijay: “Unlike our varying moods, Biscotti is always in a good mood when he sees us, and that kind of consistent loyalty and empathy is worth learning from. Once, when my daughter tripped over him as they played in the garden, she hurt her wrist. The injury turned out to be a hairline fracture. When Biscotti saw her arm, he was miserable and silent. He sat brooding in a corner and barely ate for two days! After my daughter petted and cuddled him, he let go of his obvious guilt, but kept licking her arm and following her everywhere.
Biscotti may not be able to talk, but his actions speak louder than words. He makes us realise that care is less about the words spoken, and more about expression.”
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From HT Brunch, December 31, 2017
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