“There are no leaves in this tree. It still looks so beautiful, no?”
It’s difficult to imagine a three-and-a-half-year-old girl capturing the beauty of a bare winter tree in so many words and appreciating it while stressing the word “still”. This tree, spreading itself against the setting sun, was just enough for my little girl to be closer to nature for a moment and be one with it with all her being.
But how often do our kids find time to appreciate nature? How often do we pay attention to their ability to see beauty in almost everything—living, moving, still, dead…? How often do we encourage them to soil their skirts in mud, soak in the rain, or just be themselves?
Not quite often.
That’s how wonderfully we have wrecked our lives and subsequently, our children’s. The worst example of this wreckage is our schooling system that forces parents to pull the toddlers out of bed and drag them to school even before they turn two.
Nothing kills creativity like routine and discipline. And we have added these two ingredients to our children’s lives in oodles. These days our kids do four years of schooling before they turn six. While I understand the dire need for education, I have failed to figure out why should a two-year-old toddler recognise ‘As’ and ‘Bs’ and hippos and rhinos even before she can learn to walk straight without waddling like a little cute duck.
In my opinion, more than our commitment to give a ‘better’ life to our children, it betrays our sheer inability to lead a life that is not only career- and money-centric, but a fulfilling and soul-satisfying one. Worse still, it’s our failure to realise that our children have all the right to inherit one such life or design one for themselves that is different from ours.
I am not sure if these words make sense in a time when we talk less about life but more about lifestyle.