Parenting is a way of life. Literally, as we learn, unlearn, search and manage new ways to deal with it.
Often parents tell me that their child is lazy and does not want to read or write. The core issue is something else. Unpeel…. and you will find layers that will help you manage your parenting style. At times it is about patiently watching them learn the ropes of themselves. For now, drop the struggle.
Let me narrate a personal story.
I went to a convent and my alma mater was indeed a temple where I learnt a variety of skills which is now considered as a Life skill curriculum. My teachers were simple souls and worked very hard. Though I always shone as a bright star when it came to writing essays in English, I equally struggled at art and painting. It was just not okay for me! The back to back art class on a weekday required lots of prancing around even before going to school and I would just stare at the works of my talented classmates.
I wondered how they could do a simple scenery with such artistic undulations, flow and intelligently mix water colours. Now how do they just mix three colours and paint it up? The academic year in monsoon always began with the rainy-day painting and all I did was stare out of the window as my mind picturized writing a poem about wet pebbles, dewy grass and school kids in gumboots. In the excruciating art class, I would just draw fences and a poor, miserable looking bird ( it was actually a crow) getting wet in the rain.
Then, the tutor would stare at the mess of water colors. He, am sure, wondered how it oozed so much water as the drawing paper was quite sturdy. In contrast, I wondered, why the drawing books were so large and why was my poem book was so small? My talents did not lie in art and it was proven each year by the grades in art, the smirk of the teacher and the pity seen in the eyes of the class monitor.
In grade 5, I faced abundant trauma as embroidery was a part of the weekly timetable. Now teaching such art is also a skill especially to a learner (myself) who was petrified of the georgette saree, brown handbag, nose ring and the thick rimmed spectacle. I always had a forlorn glance as the teacher beamed and smiled at my talented classmates and frowned with pursed lips at me and my messy cross stich.
My mother is a self-taught artist. She does kolam , sews her own clothes, does anything with needle work and has a magical way of learning new art. She would often assure me that I would get it right, but nothing did seem right. She also never spoon fed any art and did not do my cross-stich homework. I decided to go with flow ( even then I had accepted that this is all I could do). It was a miracle that I got passing grades in art and needle work. You can see the hurried work where the butterfly wings are extended.
I could have almost written a poem on this poor butterfly’s life but that would have irked the teacher even more. During our college days, vacation meant learning henna art, Rangoli, making greeting cards and embossing. I did not even dare to join such classes.
My mother would do beadwork, trace pictures and sew blouses in sultry may noons. I mustered courage to do some pencil drawings. Later, in college I started designing my own dupattas, do an embroidery on the yoke and handkerchiefs and then there was a long break.
Many moons later, I decided to go back to the hobby with therapeutic art which I extend to my clients .
After a span of 40 years, I have once again brought back the cross stich hobby in my life. Thus, it is all about trying.
Do look into your child’s life and see if there is any such struggle, Drop your own struggle, support but do not spoon feed, let them learn from