Parenting is an ongoing challenge. Anumita draws her inspiration from the music teacher of her younger son in middle school. The entire orchestra followed her silent instructions. Learn more about what and how of the silent instructions, in the weekly column, exclusively for Different Truths.
My younger son is in middle school and he is part of the orchestra. Violin is his choice of instrument, and with some hard work and love, he is now one of the first violinists. Every concert of his, I am seated right in the front row with my camera and cellphone ready. The moment his group is on stage, am shooting away to glory while holding back the tears of pride watching him play and hearing the wonderful music the whole group makes.
During one of his pre-spring concert, I was at my seat ahead of time and watched the first group of young musicians take their seats at their respective places on the stage. They were all very busy tuning their instruments and fixing the music sheets on the stands. I watched as their teacher came on the stage and she was listening and helping some of the children doing the tuning of their instruments. There must be some 25 to 30 kids in each group. If you are familiar with the orchestra ensemble seating, you will know that the first violinists sit on the left side of the audience, then the second violinists in the center with the viola players. The right side of the semi-circle is occupied by the cellists and the bass players.
I watched as the teacher’s petite figure moved around the musicians, she was calm and so were the children. She was listening to a tuning of one of the first violinist and I watched her just turn her head a fraction towards one the bass players at the very end of the opposite directions. She lisped him to play a note and raised a finger without looking, and the base player was playing it for her. She moved to viola player at the very back and asked a cellist to play something again with the motion of her hand and a nod of her head, and the cellist was in Que.
I was amazed at the discipline she commanded from the children. She never raised her voice, she never furrowed her brows, and the whole group was attuned to her tiny actions. A nod, a flick of her hand or just a look and they knew just what is to be done. My respect for the teacher grew leaps and bound.
Sitting among the audience, I could not help wonder why we cannot implement this kind of arrangement in our day to day life. If we did not need to scream, yell or even say things that are to be done to our children at home, would it not be a wonderful thing?
It would, and it is not hard to put that system to work. Yes, it needs a bit of practice and a bit of planning.
At the end of each day, I am so tired and so are the children. This must be true for most families. Most of us are balancing so much more in our plates that we have lost tune of each other. The tuning of the instruments is essential for a flawless orchestra performance. Similarly, the tuning of the family members is pertinent for the days to be less obtrusive.
To make that possible, I decided to talk with my children about how to be organised in their day to day work, and we worked out few strategies. None of the worked-out plans are permanent, with the change of schedules we need to be flexible to change things around. Perhaps, rearrange, add or delete some of the thought-out processes, from time to time.
Like most homes, mornings are very busy. Kids have school, parents must go work, breakfast, lunch packing and getting everything done in time. Often the household is in a frenzy and tempers run high. If the day starts with chaos, there is a chance that the whole day would run on that negative note. We all need a good start for our days.
Remembering my kid’s music teacher, I called for a family meeting of sorts. Love those meetings, as I get to write down rules. We decided on our time to leave home, and with that what all things need to be done from waking up to the leaving time. We made a chart for each one. Then we allotted time slots for each work (an average). That brought us to the time we would need for us to get things done without rushing. The wake-up time could be determined by the length of time required by each member. Then we decided how we can reduce the time. For this, we checked the things that can be done the night before. Once that was thought out, we removed those chores and added them to the list for the night before. We divided our responsibilities and made it clear, if one does not fulfill his/her responsibility and misses the bus, or gets late, no one else is to be blamed.
The first few days were a bit haphazard, but we kept rectifying things along the way. The whole plan was a success. I never wake my child up for school, he wakes up on his own and gets ready by himself and comes downstairs for breakfast. We have our workout routine that we do together and then he puts his lunch bag in his bag. He knows his time to leave and has his school bag, gym bag and his instrument ready. I kiss his forehead and wish him a good day.
Like the mornings, we have small schedules set up for the rest of the days. Yes, there are variations, as no days are the same. I do not want the family to be screaming and yelling our instructions all the time. A nod or a simple reminder on their cell phones work too. I synchronise his sports schedule, tuition times, his volunteer times, his test and quizzes and all his extracurricular activities on the calendars of both our phones.
With the increase in pressure for children in their school life, they need to be aware how to handle time and not get frazzled up. This applies to the parents too. Each one of us has hectic schedule to keep up with. We all want to do everything right and in time. The best way to make this whole song and dance of our day to day life run as smoothly as possible is to set up a routine and avoid shouting and screaming as much as possible. Let us try to orchestrate our day to day life harmoniously.
©Anumita Chatterjee Roy
Photos from the internet.
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