Two days after an exhausting 14 hour journey, the girls and I were all set to explore the neighborhood. Thanks to Google maps for making the world a really small place! I spotted a little park just mins away from our home. Felt like Dora the Explorer finding our way with the map! We successfully made it and the girls had a great time!
There were a few Swedish parents with their little kids, probably between 2 to 4 yrs, while we were there. Their cool attitude caught my attention. Some parents were snacking and chatting with each other, others who had come on their own were lying on the grass listening to music or reading a book, while their little ones were running and climbing all over the place!
In India, in the same scenario, we will constantly hear parents telling or yelling to their kids, “careful”,”walk carefully”,”don’t jump”, “don’t go there” and such.
Then I realized the reason why. In these western countries, so much care and precaution is taken for the safety and well being of children. Almost every place is child/elderly/physically challenged-friendly. The entire play area surface is padded to avoid injury. Nothing is faulty or broken. As a result people are so confident and secure. They have nothing to fear and they know how to enjoy the little things in life.
In most of the parks that I’ve been to in India, there will always be a broken swing or a broken see-saw, sand on the surface and kids are prone to hurt themselves. Such negligence is seen almost everywhere and thereby we are constantly gripped by one fear or another.
We are so driven by competition that what matters is only memorizing, scoring high marks and getting into professional colleges. All this makes a person knowledgeable. But does it make one a good human? A child having fun is never considered important. A good playground is never on our municipailty’s priority. Are we missing out on the very basics that shapes a child’s personality?
I strongly believe that as a nation we must prioritise children. Provide everything for them to enjoy a carefree childhood – clean outdoors, parks and play areas. Teach them little things in life that make a big difference and not complicate the minds of these little beings with scores and ranks.
I really hope the generation to come will have a safe place to run, plan and enjoy their childhood the way they are supposed to without any fear!
Fears are educated into us, and can, if we wish, be educated out.
Karl Augustus Menninger