Monday, July 04, 2005

The Word Realize

J has been learning Phonics for a while now. At first she made excellent progress but somewhere along the line, her pace slackened. I have not paid attention to her lessons for want of time. Last evening, I took stock of the situation and was admittedly disappointed because J is capable of much more than she was doing. What is more she was not being her usual eager, chirpy self as she went about her lessons. It looked more like a chore. That learning was no longer fun for a curious child like J was worrisome.

I was mad at first thinking she was being lackadaisical only to annoy me. But there was that look on her face that made me reconsider. She was missing her usual brightness. I engaged her in conversation until I found out that a teenaged assistant teacher had said "J can't read" as her assessment on her work. With that J assumed she really could not and stopped trying to. She heard that as "J will never be able to read". Her will to accomplish had died immediately. Teens I have realized make a great impression on J. Maybe it has something to do with that they look like adults (to her at least) and yet are kids at heart. That makes for a powerful combination.

The kid is hyper-sensitive and I am aware of that. I don't expect the world at large to know or care. J was in tears. I sat her on my lap, held her close and started to explain to her "J, there is nothing that you cannot do if you wanted to. If someone says you cannot read, you need to tell them. 'Yes, I can. Let me show you'. J already knows to read but does not realize it yet. Mommy will help J start reading again. You want to try ?"

J looked at me with the implicit trust that breaks my heart. I have to infallible. I have to always know the right answers and a way out of every situation. That she should repose her faith blindly on someone who is constantly struggling to settle her life's own conundrums is ironic. I want to tell J "Mommy is wholly human, fallible and definitely does not have all answers. She has as much to learn as you do"

We started our lesson with three letter words. J was hesitant at first but soon got in the mood. With each success her fear receded and her excitement grew. I was showing her that she could if she stopped thinking that she could not. She clapped gleefully when she got all the words right. She gave me a big hug.

"So can J read ?" I asked her. "J does not realize it" she replied with a smile. "Next time someone says J cannot read, show them you can. Never believe that you can't do something because someone said you can't. If Mommy says J can, that is all that matters. Do you understand ? " I said as I held her close and rocked her on my lap. Her face glowed with happiness as can be expected of a four year old who has just been told she is invincible and has believed that to be true.

She is hooked on the word realize and has been using it liberally in our conversations since. Of all the things that I said to her maybe that is what touched her deepest. I was paraphrasing Swami Vivekananda's famous quote "Education is the manifestation of the perfection already in man" in a simplistic way and J had latched on to that. In a time where my own abilities fell short, I borrowed wisdom from the best source possible and it worked for me and J.

1 comment:

मिर्ची सेठ said...

Very nice. Captures the best emotions of life that of a mother and the child. Quote from the Vivekanand is great. There is another example from Ramayan which would go great with kids of Hanuman ji has to cross the ocean to act as Ram's ambassador in Lanka. He had the power to fly over the ocean but had forgotten. Then on being realized he just does that.