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We adults often pay no heed to social messages. Rohini tells us how her little daughter taught her a few invaluable lessons about environment. Beginning this Saturday, we are introducing a weekly column on parenting, by this author, exclusively for Different Truths.
Every day we come across advertisements (advt.) that teach us to save water, save electricity and many such related things for our next generations. We adults see these advertisements, but are we serious about such warnings? Do we really take time to think about the value of the advt.? Personally, I ignore because ‘I’ am very busy, and I have the capacity to buy the best of the best and pure drinking water for my child.
This ‘I’ is the group of so-called ‘educated people’ – urban and upwardly mobile.
But what happens when your little child comes and asks if you are taking any steps to save their future?
My six-year-old daughter made me realise my mistake and since then I am religiously following her instructions.
Often, we just ignore their question and sometimes we try to console them with some tricky (read smart) answers. Something happened with me. My six-year-old daughter made me realise my mistake and since then I am religiously following her instructions.
It was a Sunday, she was busy in her own world of toys and craft work and I was busy with mine. She came to me with few triangular cutouts. Every cutout had something written on it. These were:
1) Don’t waste water
2) Save electricity
3) Give water to plants
4) Plant new trees
I asked her, “What is this honey?” She replied, “Mama, I have read in my EVS subject that we should not waste water but save it. We should also plant new trees so that we can breathe fresh air.” I patted on her back and said, “Very nice,” to her.
She became very upset and said, “But Mama, no one saves water and all the uncles are cutting down big trees…. Then how shall I get fresh air to breathe? How will my asthma get cured?”
But she became very upset and said, “But Mama, no one saves water and all the uncles are cutting down big trees. You also waste so much of water when you brush your teeth. The uncles who are making new homes are cutting down the trees and not planting new ones. Then how shall I get fresh air to breathe? How will my asthma get cured?”
I was surprised to hear all these from her. A few days back, I was talking to my mother over the phone saying that due to the cutting down of trees, pollution is soaring. Asthma is increasing. Children and elders are the ones getting affected the most. She had overheard our talk and now she was referring to that incident. She suffers from allergic asthma and hence she connected everything in her little mind. I was zapped as to what to answer her.
Instead of ignoring her question, I sat with her and told her calmly, “Sweetheart, first I am really sorry for wasting water. I promise that from now onwards I shall try not to waste it anymore. Also, I can’t stop the uncles from cutting down the trees, but I can plant a new one in our balcony. You make sure that you give water to them every day. You can also ask your friends to plant small plants in their balconies. In this way, the number of trees shall increase, and pollution shall lessen.”
She smiled and hugged me. Since then whenever I am brushing my teeth or cleaning utensils or doing anything that has use of water, she immediately comes to me with the triangular card and shows, making me realise my mistake and stops me from wasting water.
Why did I forget my school chapters as I grew up? Was I waiting for my little one to make me realise the mistake that I was making and contributing to the global pollution?
I remember reading about our planet earth when I was also in school. I had also read the same things. Then what happened? Why did I forget my school chapters as I grew up? Was I waiting for my little one to make me realise the mistake that I was making and contributing to the global pollution? Why do we adults forget our responsibilities?
Let’s try to remember the chapters read in the school and try to implement or one day our children shall not leave any moment to make us feel guilty. This incident taught me two things as a parent:
1) Listen to the child and try to answer their queries calmly if also ‘I’ (a parent) am busy.
2) Sometimes let the children be your teacher and there is no harm in accepting our mistake. This sets a good example in front of our child.
In obeying them we teach this virtue to them. Also, we teach them to accept mistakes, gracefully.
I am happy that my daughter is my teacher.
©Rohini KB Reddy
Photos from the Internet