End of final exams and I am seriously feeling so light. No more negotiations, time management programs, threats or down on the knees begging. With one more year behind us, I have been thinking of what to do differently this year to make the whole process easier for Toyna and me. While I am still planning, the school has been super organized and have already sent the Annual Fee circular for the next session. Toyna hands me the circular as just another white paper with black dots smeared on it. I ask her what it is about, and she shrugs her shoulders as if saying, “It is your responsibility to read school circulars. Why should I worry about it!” Without much choice, I study the circular and am disappointed to see yet another hike in school fees.
With a deep sigh, I ask Toyna to sit with me so I can help her understand how much we are spending on her school education. After reading the circular, I ask Toyna, “See we are spending so much each year, but Mama has a perception that you don’t like to go to school. You can tell me if you don’t want to go to school this year and I will not pay the school fee.” I was hoping for her to say “No, no, I want to go to school to study. Mama, please pay my school fees. I promise I will go to school and study seriously this year.” Toyna was silent for a moment. I am happy, she is actually thinking about the whole deal. She then exclaims, “Mama, you should pay the school fees. I like going to school. There are lot of nice activities to do there!” I realize I had been holding my breath waiting for her response. It now comes out, all at once, as one big sigh. We have a deal. She wants to go to school, but there was still no mention of any commitment to study seriously this year.
With this conversation behind us, we have not changed much this year. I will still pay the school fees. She will still go to school to enjoy all the nice activities there, and still come back and not study seriously. The only thing that has changed, this year, is that I understand Toynas reason to go to school. For so many years, I was forcing myself to believe that intrinsically each child likes to go to school to learn, study and become smart individuals. It does come as a surprise that this is not true. Most children do not have this expected level of maturity. They have completely different reasons for going to school. In spite of that, as parents, if we still decide to pay the school fees, and send them to school, it is completely our decision/choice. Later in the year, we have no right to threaten or blame them if they refuse to study. If we want them to learn at school and get good grades, it is for us to develop that love for learning in them. School for them is a place to meet friends and have fun. Appreciation for learning is something that as parents we need to inculcate in them. How can we do that, is something I don’t know the answer yet. For today, I am just glad to have learnt that the problem, all along, was with my understanding of children’s priorities and not with my daughters ability to concentrate and learn.
This blog and the associated image dates two years back from March 2014. I think, we both have matured significantly in these two years. Which tells me that there needs to be another blog on where we stand today. For later…