Fairy Tales

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Fairy Tales (photo credit: rak12ela10.wikispaces.com)

Children have a wonderful imagination. They are also very quick learners. In our way of educating them and also to develop their sense of wonder, we introduce them to stories and rhymes; verses and delightful prose.

My little one regularly has storytelling sessions at school. The children also get books that are full of illustrations and a few words, to pique their interest and introduce them to the written word. I myself love to look through these books, to hold the stiff board pages, and turn them awkwardly as any adult would do, used to the thin pages of paperbacks. I pore over the wonderful illustrations, the bright colours, the glitter and the cutouts. I try to imagine myself a little child with a fertile mind, soaking in the colors, the shapes and the textures of the world around him.

Every little thing is magic, from morning till night. Right from the sunlight filtering through the curtains, the bright day, the shining orb called the sun, the blue of the sky, the red of the cereal bowl, the crunchy breakfast, the sweetness of milk, through the day, on and on till it is time for bed and a restful slumber. Ah, what a wonderful world the children live in. Their minds are ready to believe anything and everything. To recreate that lovely world, I like to read fantasy books. Nonsensical verses. Outrageously amazing worlds.

I also sometimes pick up the so called fairy tales. Populated by dragons, stepmothers, ogres, talking animals, wide-eyed children, cruel adults, princes handsome and strong, princesses beautiful and helpless, waiting for a magic spell to be broken, to be rescued by someone. More often than not, I find stories that reinforce stereotypes. And then, I feel afraid of what ideas they give to young minds. Also, more often than not, when I talk to my children and their friends about these stories, I encounter questions about the unjust and unethical behaviour of characters. Why are people cruel? Or why do they steal? Or why do they spy on others? Or why are they greedy?

Give me a tale with imagination any day. Of fantastic characters, strange lands, exciting discoveries. Talking trees, animals and toys. Walking pack of cards. Time travel. Space mysteries. I just want to avoid giving negativity to my children so I sift through the tales that show immorality and falsehood, and by being ready with answers that they can relate to, to explain the behaviour of adults and the real world.

Sometimes I clutch my head…

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Let Parenting be a Joy

Sometimes, even a couple of kids at home can be a handful. They may be doing their own thing and still drive you up the wall. Fighting amongst themselves, playing musical toys with only one key being pushed insistently, making a grand mess with blocks, soft toys and other assorted entertaining contraptions that you bought in a moment of indulgence ( or sometimes, to assuage your guilt) starts your brain ticking away at a dangerous speed.

Parenting can be such a great challenge even when you love your kids, want to spend quality time (and also quantity) with them and help them become responsible and emotionally mature adults. There are times when our human failings become all too apparent even though deep in our hearts we want to be just good parents.

I am not an expert in academic terms but still I act as one because I am a long time parent ( and this long time seems very, very long in my memory) and I learn every day by being in the battlefield. I keep observing what works and what does not. You learn every moment, with every child because all children are different and you are a learner forever.

A couple of things I would still like to share, that in my opinion work well across ages and temperaments.

Be Attentive.
Cast away your worries and day-to-day stresses every once in a while and be attentive to your child. To his/her needs, whims, moods. Let us start with young children. Mood tantrums, fussy eating, destructive behaviour? Pay attention to what are the underlying reasons. If you take out a little time and do things as your child wants done, the child would become reassured over a period of time of your love and care. Your instructions and suggestions would be better received.

Lead.
This could be expressed in many other ways. As in, “Set an Example”. The important thing is to acknowledge that you are the parent at most times, a friend and a co-conspirator only for very little time. You need to decide about acceptable behaviour, limits and the values to be inculcated. Sure, you need to do the same things to set an example but most of the times and especially in formative years, children need to be guided gently, again and again. If they slip up, the course correction needs to be on your side as well as theirs.

Yes, I know this actually sounds harder than running a marathon but that is how it is as all parents would testify. As for would be parents, this post would get ignored and tossed in the bin (if it is possible to toss an electronic device) with a shrug.

Shoma Learns to Fly- A story for Children

Shoma was a fluffy white sheep in farmer Bholu’s pen. She was the fattest of the young sheep. While other sheep ran here and there when they were let out, Shoma merely waddled. Other sheep thought she was lazy and teased her.

Shoma, at last was tired of all the teasing. She wanted to do something different. As she was moving near the chicken coop, she saw the little yellow chicks trying to fly. They would flutter for a while and then settle down.

‘I would learn to fly! That would show all the other sheep how smart I am.”

This made her feel very happy. The rest of the afternoon she chewed the cud in a daze, dreaming of flying.

The next day, as the sheep were let out of the pen, Shoma went straight to the chicken coop. Now, she sat in the shade of a tree pretending to sleep. But she watched the chicks from half opened eyes. It all seemed so easy. ‘Oh, but I do not have wings!”, Shoma thought. “Well, maybe, I can use my arms”. She tried flailing her arms but felt tired after a couple of tries. The chicks and the hens saw her and spluttered with laughter. The rooster crowed loudly to scare Shoma away.

Shoma turned to go and saw a large cloud of dust a little far away. It grew bigger and came closer. It was Bumpy the sheep dog! He was rounding up all the sheep into the pen. Shoma ran for her life. In and out of fences, over the puddles, around the bushes and trees, Shoma ran. And ran.

As she reached the pen, she panted and heaved. Then she heard other sheep clapping loudly, “Whee, Shoma can run too!”

Shoma smiled and felt SO proud.