WHILE sitting at the local park looking at fathers playing with their children, I was instantly reminded of what a pediatrician-friend of mine once told me when I brought my then-three-year-old son for his regular check-up a very long time ago. He advised that the best way to understand and bring up your children is to see the world through their eyes. It all comes back to me now: for any brief moment, forget that you are a grown-up. Forget seeing the world as only a been-here-done-that jaded player sees it. Try your best to imagine the newness by which all children perceive and explore what’s all around them.
I have had little problem with that idea because admittedly, my fascination for toys and assembly kits are still very much alive till this day. When finally I became a father myself, this had been put to good use. I will never forget completely being caught up in the Masters of the Universe and the Star Wars games my sons and I used to play when they were three or four. My excitement at the toy store was always equal with theirs whenever we sorted through all the toys before us, matchbox cars to Lego and other silly things.
At nighttime, whenever bed time stories came around, I remember losing myself in all those made-up tales which I always especially tailor to their preferences. Often, we’d animatedly act out whatever’s in the script-less narration at the moment until the mum shushes. Thinking back to all those stories, they might have made a good collection had we recorded them.
Sadly till this day today, the old-school thinking that adults who act like children are immature, still persists. However, when taken in the context of spending precious time with children, that for me, still remains as one, if not the best approach ever. Although not really a matter of right and wrong, viewing a child’s world through the eyes of a grown up is almost always counter-productive. Often, we are missing the point entirely when their innocently-fresh perspective of the big wide world comes into conflict with the walls of our already-set beliefs. For one, let them play. Let them explore and flex their creative wings. As in writing, edit later. Theirs is the age of discovery and that is where inventiveness and creativity spring from. Every single “No!” or “Don’t” is a wet rag that douses the spark of knowing the ways of the world. From this boomer’s childhood memories, I like others, attest to that.
Just recently, one of our nephews has added their new-born to our ever-growing clan. My only wish is that after perusing through this piece, he gets my point. When his daughter grows up, as I’m sure she’ll turn up to be a fine person, at least, this old advice lives on.
HONORING MY MOTHER
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