Friday, July 15, 2016

No Child's Play

It was just like any other day. The neighborhood that was quiet in the hot summer afternoon started bubbling with the lively chatter and laughter of kids. It was just like any other evening. The bigger kids came out with their bikes, scooters, bats and frisbees. Not-so-careful-about-appearance Mommies made their presence felt on the scene as the little ones trundled behind. Gently blowing breeze managed to bring down the temperatures a bit so it was a comfortable evening to play outside or to just loiter around.

'Hey, that's not how you throw the ball." A boy shouted. Another intervened in his support. Mommies looked and ignored as this was no serious matter. All the kids who were playing were wont to play their every single day. There wasn't a newcomer on the scene.

Arguments ensued, however. In the group of the bigger kids was one non-Indian child. I wish not to disclose the racial identity of that non-Indian child because of two reasons - One, I don't deem it necessary. Two, I do not want others to hold or form any prejudice for anyone whatsoever. So, the non-Indian child approached the Mommies and told him that the other kids were being rude to him and were singling him out. Then he said, " My mom doesn't like my playing with Indian kids. She asks me not to be around Indians."

This shocked me. I was speechless for a moment. My mind was looking for something right to say. I wanted to tell the little child that he was so young to be holding a prejudice of this kind in his heart. I wanted to tell him how utterly mistaken his mom was. But I did not want to belittle a mother in her child's eyes. So I was quiet.

Then I told him that it was not an appropriate statement to make. I explained to him in simple words that they were all children and no-body harbored any ill-feeling whatsoever for each other. It was momentary anger and if they talked the matter out, all would end well. He listened and so did the Indian kids. Apologies were exchanged and the play resumed.

But we Mommies were stunned. It was a shock that would take some time to get over with.

My heart felt sorry for the mom who was not just cultivating bias in her heart. She knowingly or otherwise, was starting to contaminate the pure heart of an innocent child. This world is already ailing, do we need any more diseases? I questioned myself.

I grieved in my heart, for what I had thought was a child's play could one day take an ugly form. I dreaded that.

As parents what is our first duty to our child? Is mere formal education enough? Giving them the opportunity to study in good schools and colleges, providing them good clothes to wear, healthy food to eat, a secure roof to live under - is that enough? Who will forfend the plague of prejudice from afflicting their lives? Who will nurture in them the qualities of fairness and equality? We try to save them from the 'bad' elements around us. We try to keep them away from violence in the media. Who will save them from our own faults? Who will shield them from our own turbulent mentalities?

Will it not be a colossal parenting failure if a strong foundation of an unbiased conscience is not laid?
What will we weep for when our kids flounder? Will we weep for our faults or their loss?

Image Source



Linking it to Day 7 of Write Tribe Festival of Words # 5

(Today is the last day of the seven-day Write Tribe Festival of Words # 5. It was my first time I tried posting every day in my blogging experience. I was able to post for seven consecutive days, and I tried to read and interact with most of the bloggers who had participated in this festival. In case I have missed you, I am sorry. All in all, the past week was very busy as I had my two kids who decided to fall sick on the very first day of the festival. But somehow, everything was managed and taken care of. With a sore back, and tired eyes, I also have a sense of satisfaction and utter joy. I wish to thank Corinne Rodrigues and all Write Tribers for encouraging me and making this a fruitful experience.)

You might also like

Darkness Scares Me Not...

Food for Goddess

I am an India - What is my Culture?

32 comments:

  1. Very well said Sunaina. Completely agree with you. The onus is on my parents to raise kids without prejudice.

    ReplyDelete
  2. Prejudice sown at younger ages is what grows into a bigger tree of hatred when the kids grow up into adults.Good that you did your part in nipping it in the bud.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I do not know if it has been nipped in the bud. It was just a momentary thing. The child will imbibe only what he hears every day.

      Delete
  3. I didn't think such mindsets still existed today, it really is shocking. If not for the mother, I hope the child understands for himself the likeness of all despite the differences and makes his mom understand. This was my first blog marathon too, although short one. Thanks for supporting, enjoyed your posts a great deal . :)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. The world is reeking with prejudices Darshana.....

      Delete
  4. This is so sad, but Sunaina, it is very true and common a scene! I have observed similar situations, where prejudices have passed on from parents to children and have paved the way for continued hatred in the future! The Rushdie quote was perfect for this post! I wish more folks would focus on imparting the right values and not just educate their children.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Yes, Kala. Parents need to be educated first.

      Delete
  5. Sad that the mother has such thoughts but also sad that the children are rude to him and single him out. The most prejudice and racism I have experienced is in my own country - India. How sad is that.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. It is sad to hear that statement about my country India. Feel so sorry that you have had such experience Suzy.

      Delete
  6. Well said! The things that children learn from looking at their parents or the people around them is what makes them the person they become.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Yes Reema. Upbringing plays a major role in everyone's life.

      Delete
  7. I'd say we should have a lot more Rushdies around. Though he might not be an ideal parent, his broadmindedness should inspire all racists.

    ReplyDelete
  8. I was feeling that scene when..it just came to such a sudden halt. How sad. We learn from our parents and the children around us, as we grow up. That is how hatred is transmitted from generation to generation. Or love. Alana ramblinwitham.blogspot.com

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. True. Love or hate - it seeps through. We ought to choose what we are passing around.

      Delete
  9. That was sad and I feel bad for the little boy is basing his experiences on this prejudices. It's so unfair. I wish, her mother was around and you two could have a chat.

    ReplyDelete
  10. Indeed a sad state. Apologies sort out lot of issues. I liked that piece of advice.
    Enjoyed reading your posts. Hope your kids are feeling better now. Stay connected.:)

    ReplyDelete
  11. You have brought out a very pertinent point in this post Sunaina. At times we are not aware of our own bias and knowingly/ unknowingly we pass them on to our children. Probably for that reason it is important to continuously strive to broaden our own perspective so that we do not inculcate stereotypes and end up spreading bias.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. True Somali. We need to learn to unlearn the prejudices we harbor.

      Delete
  12. I strongly feel that kids have to be raised unbiased of the world around them!
    If we are not asking of them to give respect to everybody, we are not doing what we ought to do!

    ReplyDelete
  13. Its good that a Kid shared the thoughts with others and not seeded them in his heart for further revenge. Sad on his Mother's part- We should set a good example in front of future generation.
    I too enjoyed participating in the Marathon. Thanks to Corinne and all of you guys for the support.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. That is the innocence of the child that he just said what he had heard. But how long before this innocence is washed away. It was good to connect with you Upasna.

      Delete
  14. The boy was innocent enough to not know the implications of what he said. But we will reap what we sow. I feel we already have enough hatred around us to realise the need to stop. An insightful post indeed. I loved the quote by salmon in the end. We need to rise up to it.

    ReplyDelete
  15. Oh, that must have been so disturbing. Agree with everything you said. Raising a child is no mean feat, but we tend to stick to the basics and don't realize that it is not just providing food, shelter and protection.

    One of the things we tend to miss out is letting them form their own opinions and not thrust ours.

    Its so complicated and so easy to fail - parenting that is.


    ReplyDelete
  16. It's indeed a thought provoking post. Oh! prejudice it's so contagious, that the more we condemn it the more it spreads. But can we raise our fingers at the mother of the non-Indian child. What about the Indian parents. Even now we do not allow certain children to mingle with our children because they are born to lower castes. Painful indeed!

    ReplyDelete
  17. It is sad to know the seeds of prejudice being sown in the highly impressionable mind of the child. We all agree here it was wrong on the part of his mother to do so but you see there is a lot of fear in the world, fear of the unknown, fear of what we do not identify with, fear of what we do not understand and that mother's thought process is the consequence of her fear. What you said to the boy was right but until it comes from his home, I doubt if it is going to be effective. This you are talking about US but the things are similar at home in India too with wide differences on account of regions and religions.

    ReplyDelete
  18. Heart wrenching to see a mother harbour such prejudices in young minds at an age where their behavior are moulded. Power to you for making the small boy see change:)

    ReplyDelete
  19. No matter how much we try, doesn't matter if the countless efforts have been taken to curb prejudice, it still exists and it sucks!

    Well portrayed Sunaina :)

    Cheers
    Geets

    ReplyDelete