The annual program lines…… I’M GROWING UP WITH MY SON A few days back, my son returned from school, his face flushed with excitement, his hand clutching a sheet of paper. “What’s that in your hand?” I casually enquired as he was heading straight for his room. It was very unusual of a boy who routinely loiters around for an hour before going to freshen up. “It has the lines ma’am wants me to deliver on the annual day”, Advaita said solemnly.
My son, all of seven years, who had earned a reputation as an intelligent, but highly-distracted and happy-go-lucky boy, who seldom put in his best efforts, caught me by surprise when I overheard him practicing his lines again and again in the confines of his room. Was this my own son who had to be prodded for everything right from having his meals to catching his school bus?
The same week a parent-teacher meeting enlightened me that my son was only one of the few hand-picked by the teacher for delivering the opening lines. I didn’t have the heart to tell my son that his speech could be snatched away by his class-mate any time. Who would be the lucky one? Meanwhile his practice continued and his speech approached perfe
ction. I had no choice but to get carried away with his dedication and determination for a flawless performance. Surprisingly, I managed to find time to pray for him to be the luckiest one to bag the coveted role of the introducer.
Rarely having had the time to mull over such trivial things, I kept on wishing secretly that Advaita’s oration impressed the teacher most. I forgot there are other mothers too who too are hoping, might be praying just like me. I forgot that my son is just in Standard 2 and there will be hundreds of such opportunities coming his way.
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And then it struck me. What if there is someone even better than him in his class? What if he loses the opportunity to deliver the lines on that special day? I began preparing myself for both win and loss. His win will definitely make me happy. And I’ll celebrate with pudding at the dinner table. And if he gets beaten by a class-mate, I’ll be healing his hurt with an optimistic “There is always a next time. A little more smart practice and you’ll be there.” It’s up to me how I react. It dawns on me it’s up to me how I rear him – with a strong determination to always win or a ‘cool’ outlook towards life to accept a win with delight, and loss as a part of life.
It’s up to me if I want him to understand through his childhood experiences that one who has tasted defeat finds victory sweeter, that a defeat is not all that scary. I get aware of the great responsibility I shoulder when the realization sweeps over me – there’s no way to know what life has in store for him, but there is definitely a way of bringing him up to handle each challenge that life throws him. Oh Teacher! You don’t even have the slightest idea of the floodgate of emotions that a simple speech has opened for a mother. Another reason to thank you for the noble job you are doing!
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