Handing out opinions

Are You Handing Out Opinions? Think Hard… Harder!

This is a guest post by Nidhi Tayal who is a registered dietitian, a blogger and a school counselor. Nidhi is a post graduate from Lady Irwin College and has served in leading hospitals and fitness centers in the Delhi-Noida area. She was a freelance counselor associated with a NGO “Behind The Moon” dealing with pediatric nutrition. Recently, she has been working as an educationist at an NGO-run school teaching the underprivileged. Nidhi writes columns for various online magazines. Her columns featured in Prevention, an India Today Group Magazine has won her numerous accolades.


Handing out opinions
Image Credit: Flickr User subewl, via CC

An evening stroll in the park with chirping birds, blooming flowers, smiling faces all around in the backdrop of that typical February weather in Delhi… divine. Aha!! That feeling which hums, “All things bright and beautiful”. It was an evening routine I wouldn’t trade for anything in the world. It made me feel recharged, refreshed and rejuvenated… filling me with enough fuel to come back to the daily grind both personally and professionally. It was “my space”, very much required as a mother of two boys 10 & 8 and a wife of an IT professional who had everything to offer to his family except “TIME” among donning other roles of an RD and a counselor .

But, today evening turned out to be different… shocking, surprising and a great learning experience. A group of boys (all primary schoolers) were playing football merrily a midst other routine things /people. Screaming, shouting, blaming and tutoring each other on nuances of the play. Standing in one corner of the abstractly demarcated football field was ‘B’ , an 8 year old crying inconsolably, well… almost howling. My first “selfish” reaction was to move on given the fact that such scenes are rampant on play fields and to add shamelessly, I did not want to give up my precious routine. Thankfully, the mother and counselor in me thought better. I approached him with that motherly gleam in my eyes and that angelic touch which reassured even a strange child that he had found a confidante. Few minutes later when he settled down, he told me his version of the story… The first half is a result of my sleuthing and putting two and two together.

The Story — They all, around ten in number were kids from a neighboring residential society who used to play together . Their families were acquaintances to each other and apparently mothers of 4-5 boys were thick friends who bonded with each other in a close knitted kitty group. Some boy ‘A’ had heard his mother talking to her friends about “not so good” economical condition of  “B”‘s family (remember the boy I had spotted crying) as his father drove “only” a  Santro, they lived in a “small” 3 BHK (which I later learnt was part of an ultra luxurious housing complex)… and the final straw responsible for his public breakdown, his mother looked “old and haggard”. Huh?? Physical demeanor decides affluence?? (sure shot kaliyug) So.. ‘A’ (filled with leadership quality to the brim but lacking correct focus) declared ‘B’ a pauper and instructed ‘C to J’ (kids with good follower-ship qualities) not to play with ‘B’ (you know how singled out feels) adding in his own right that ‘B’ should not be the part of their team as he does not wear branded studs to field (gone are the days of playing oonch- neech in blue Hawaii chappals, I learnt)

“How ruthless”, must be your immediate reaction. Hold on a second and Re- read the entire “descriptive paragraph” again. Chances are high that your reaction might change to , “How vulnerable” . Right ??

My two cents — Every child is like a wet clay dough and all adults around him, parents – teachers- extended family – peers – domestic help – not to miss even neighbors together mould him into a more defined personality, shaping a citizen. Children learn more by observation than from books . The morality is not dictated or tutored , it’s nurtured. “THINK BEFORE YOU SPEAK”, the cardinal rule should be ingrained in our personas once we are parents and more so when you have two tiny peeping eyes and eager ears around. You never know which part of your conversation they pick up and how their impressionable minds process that extra piece of information .

Often bullies are not born bully, it is their rearing environment which turns them into one. Teaching “affluence” to your children is not wrong but the parameters have to be well thought out, rather need of the hour is that they be redefined according to the child’s perspective.

And to sum up for my very curious readers, I did walk ‘B’ home like a good Samaritan. (not enough info… :D), Yup, I met his parents too, extremely grounded couple, achievers in their own right, they were so full of gratitude towards me to have helped their only son while he was in distress that they offered me a hot cuppa over some interesting conversation. “B”‘s father turned out to be an IIT’ian working as Director with TRAI and mumma dearest, lady with most beautiful and honest smile I’ve ever met, had given up her flourishing and glamorous career in hospitality industry to devote all her knowledge and time working for an NGO reforming juveniles just out of reform schools.

An ideal minimalistic set up for a home (where I felt welcomed not burdened), working towards a secure future not only for themselves but for “our country”, an hour spent in their interesting company woke me from my slumber as a HUMAN BEING and made me redefine the word AFFLUENCE in my lexicon. Today, to me it means,”capable of giving back to the society”.

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9 responses to “Are You Handing Out Opinions? Think Hard… Harder!”

  1. nitika Avatar

    “THINK BEFORE YOU SPEAK”…completely agree with your statement..very informative article..every parent should read this..well done Nidhi :)

  2. Janet Avatar

    Thanks for pointing this out, Nidhi. As a teacher myself, I’ve been grieved to see many bright and promising students being passed over simply because some loud-mouthed close-minded person’s opinion mattered. It’s sad that a flasy and in-your-face lifestyle impresses people more than true worth

  3. Neha Mahajan Avatar
    Neha Mahajan

    Very well written and beautifully explained Nidhi, this is the irony of our lives, we live in a self proclaimed idealistic world, without connecting with our kids and without being able to understand things from their angle. We have to teach our kids to be confident, and not to look for others’ approval ( their friends in this case), we need to raise our kids in a way where if they face such instances, they should be able to fight it back, than simply giving up. We need fighters, because this is what society has come down to, because most kids today have it way too easy.

  4. priyanka patre Avatar
    priyanka patre

    Its very very heart touching blog. Kids are small and they should get acquainted with such status discrimination not at this age. Salute to ur motherhood. I loved it n wants to re read it.

  5. Pratiksha Avatar

    Very realistic and well written. It does happen a lot with kids. As parents we can only try to make them realise the real value of things, thats only when we ourselves realize it though!

  6. Amita Avatar

    Very well written!

  7. Shweta Sinha Avatar
    Shweta Sinha

    Very well written and informative. I have a question from the other angle – from kid B’s angle. How do you think the parents should handle the situation – how do they mend it for their kid who has probably just lost his entire social circle, even if temporarily.

  8. Nidhi Tayal Avatar
    Nidhi Tayal

    M glad shweta that u came up with this question, lot of us ( parents) go thru’ this dilemma . My two cents again — children are vulnerable ( remember) , the parents ( on both sides) need to behave like adults. This group ism doesn’t last longer . Children are innocent enough to pay heed to any adult who explains why what they did was wrong and how they can go back to being friends again. 90% time this works, all u need is ,to talk to the group in an unbiased friendly way , definitely not as ‘ B’ s mom alone. However, things could go worse if kids like ‘ A’ are adamant as per basic nature. Then, options are – help ur child befriend another set of children , may be temporarily, u be his playmate for a while and make sure u go to same place for playing so that kids like ‘ B’ don’t draw themselves into a shell, enroll him for a different , structured physical activity during his play hours , last but not the least , throw a get together, a picnic, a match for the entire group and help them reacquaint themselves. Choose option in accordance with gravity of the problem. Never – ever go interfere , shout at other children or have a heated argument with their parents coz then the vicious cycle of branding and singling out your child starts which worsens with adults intervention. Solve kids related problem in a kids friendly way.

  9. Niranjani Sharma Avatar
    Niranjani Sharma

    Absolutely true i liked your article as well as the answer you have given to how the parent should handle the situation.

    Though the child is intelligent and can handle the situations,as janet mentioned “loud mouth” closed minded parents interfere and worsen the situation.

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