If I could do it again

We went to visit a school yesterday, to enquire about for my three year old nephew.

And memories from the horrors of my own school time came back.

Those school years weren’t that horrible, but the kid-me surely felt them that way.

My shyness, my self-consciousness, and to top it all, not feeling comfortable in my own skin. Always wanting to hide away.

I was sharp and studious, but socially, I was awkward, weird and never felt good enough.

To be honest, I never liked the school setup. I never understood why we studied, why we passed exams.

To become something?

Why do we teach kids that we go to school to become something, to get a job, earn a living?

Doesn’t that mean that the kid has to do some hard work, some studying to become something?

Why would we want to become something after the fact? After doing something?

Why can’t we be as we are?

When I see how my nephew is learning conditional bargaining from the adults around him, I feel sad for every kid in the world.

Adults don’t seem to see this, but they are always teaching conditional love. Do this, and you’ll get that. Finish your meal and you’ll get dessert. Do your homework and you’ll get to watch TV.

I had learned the same conditional love.

Adults just want to go to places and do their work, so they want the kids to finish things faster and what other way then to bribe them with something they want!

So I try, as much as I can, to show the kid some unconditional love. To let him be as he wants to. To let him play if he wants. To let him eat or not eat if he wants.

But at the back of my mind, I keep feeling for the kid-me.

How lonely she had felt all those school years!

If I could do it all over again, those school years, I would guide her like a fairy godmother.

I would tell her to be more around Nature.

I would let her be.

I would let her play, let her eat or overeat.

I would let her read storybooks.

I would show her how adults know nothing.

I would show her how life needs no conditions, how living needs no boundaries.

I would take her to open fields, lakes, parks, rivers more.

I would show her how schools and grades aren’t important. Instead, I would sit with her and show her how to be curious. To learn her school work with curiosity and wonder.

I would let her fail at somethings and tell her it’s okay to fail, it’s okay to be imperfect. I would show her that nothing in Nature is perfect, it’s all flowing, fluid and cyclical.

I would show her that people’s idea of God isn’t what God really is.

I would show her to not listen to what others say, or to not believe how others perceive her. But that what matters more is how she perceived herself.

I would let her be free, be imperfect, and never criticise her for how she looked or how much overweight she was.

I would let her rebel, let her express her emotions.

If only..

If only all the kids in the world were allowed to be as they were.

If only all the kids were allowed to grow by themselves.

Like a plant that grows on its own, if it is just given proper sunlight, water and good soil.

You don’t have to keep telling the plant, “grow this way and that way, if you don’t grow this much, you won’t get water.”

With a plant, you need to have patience once you provide the right environment.

It’s the same with kids. Provide them with nourishing environment and let them grow.

Let them be. Don’t put any conditions.

Let them be. And let them grow.


~ ~ ~ ~

Photo by Aditi Premankit

“What is the point of being educated, of learning to read and write, if you are just going to carry on like a machine? But that is what your parents want, and it is what the world wants. The world does not want you to think, it does not want you to be free to find out, because then you would be a dangerous citizen, you would not fit into the established pattern. A free human being can never feel that he belongs to any particular country, class, or type of thinking. Freedom means freedom at every level, right through, and to think only along a particular line is not freedom.”

J. Krishnamurti, in the book Life Ahead

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