Memories of Childhood Play (part 2)

Memories of Childhood Play (part 2)

I teach Psychology at 10+2 level. When I begin a chapter on Group Dynamics (that’s one of my favorites) by asking the students to recall their kindergarten experience of making friends.

Those who can trace-back, old childhood memories share that in very little time they got playmates. To their amazement, groups began to form at such a tender age. And these groups also had leaders (predominantly authoritarian) who decided the game and precious few who could be part it. There were hard-core followers in the group. and few were outrightly denied entry. There would be gossips in and around the group by the kindergarteners in their own little but important ways. Remember, the shy and the ignored ones in your class?

I’ll do a short personal sharing that resonates with the class discussion on group dynamics.

This was primary school and I was a follower in a girl’s group. Most of the girls in the class were keen on being connected to this group. A girl who was obviously a teacher’s favorite, named Kanishka was unanimously chosen as a captain of the girl’s group. (We learned this term ‘captain’ quite early in life to sort human hierarchical structures in our head.) Kanishka decided the games to be played during the sports period. She also decided the rules of the game. Everyone preferred to follow her dictated rules or one would experience refusal to play.

And yes, if it’s my birthday, I would give the honors to Kanishka (as a special friend) and take her along to distribute sweets to teachers. On the way, I would give her few extra sweets.

You see, she is popular and in return, she would give me a better treatment when the girl gang is at play.

Quite occasionally someone would break away from the group. You see, there was conformity and high need for affiliation. But, deep in the heart, everyone preferred to be with Kanishka.

Solitude play evokes different thoughts and emotions than when a child plays with others. Both are significant in the personality development of an individual. 

Recall your days of childhood while you were at play. And I am sure that a number of emotions and thoughts would upsurge…You’ll be able to determine your relationship with yourself and of course others.

 My next article would be a personal sharing of playing with neighborhood friends and this experience is in complete contrast to my role as a ‘follower’ in girl’s group at school.

Memories of Childhood Play

Memories of Childhood Play

I was in primary school. I loved to set up my doll house in one small corner of our drawing-room and play in solitude for days. The play would go on hours till an adult would interject and ask me to do something productive.

As I grew up, my love for my dolls also grew stronger. I would have been 9, when my parents did get a little concerned over my overindulgence with dolls. They would now get a little impatient with my occupancy in that little corner of our drawing-room.

I began to feel that they are unhappy with my play. 

Well, my love to play with my doll house was beyond measure. I decided to take my doll house to one little corner of our huge terrace. I could again play for hours with my dolls. Any approaching adult from family would threaten by asking me to stop the play and get back to studies.

Guilt of playing with dolls also started to settle in me as the adults repeatedly reiterated that my play is age inappropriate. 

Soon, with onset of adolescence, the nature of play changed and obsession with dolls resolved too. 

When I reflect back, there were other forms of play in school and in the neighbourhood. And each bit of play did influence my thoughts and emotions. I would soon be sharing more such experiences. And thereby built ideas on play therapy and ways to engage our children when they play.

 

Readers, share your childhood experiences of play. Significant or insignificant, don’t worry!

Did you receive medals for being a mediocre student?

Did you receive medals for being a mediocre student?

The trend of awarding kids with trophies or medals for their outstanding achievement in academics and co-scholastic areas started in 1970s. This came to be known as ‘self-esteem movement’. Idea was to boost the child’s self-image.

Parents would soon join the race to appreciate their talented child. Relatives in blood relation or otherwise would also be a part of appreciating the child for a unique talent seen during the formative years of life. This would be more so in collectivistic cultures like India. It would be an ulterior motive of these important stakeholders in the child’s life to fulfil the prophecy of making him/her an engineer or a doctor or a footballer or an artist…

Well, life always has something else to offer. How often were we surrounded by a bed of roses?

The child is going to have a stress-free life and the accolades earned during the school would really secure him/her. Who can guarantee? Apparently, no one! Even a genius like Albert Einstein had to experience his share of hardship. He died being a Nobel laureate but not for his contribution of theory of relativity.

The harder truth is that no amount of accolades, achievement certificates or trophies or verbal praise would develop a child as a ‘resilient’ being.

I wonder if the self-esteem movement churned out people with really high self-esteem? How about those performers who never managed to bag trophies and they were to be identified in the ‘average cadre’?

The self-esteem movement has creeped in institutes of higher education and not only kindergarten. I am confident to say this for my subcontinent India.

In our lifetime, sometimes we have all been appreciated for our efforts and sometimes rejected or criticised. Sometimes, we didn’t really deserve an appreciation but still received it and sometimes we deserved to be appreciated but someone else bagged it.

We had all such experiences as a child. Wouldn’t you agree? It all seems to be a muddled approach to boost our self-esteem as a child.

Don’t you think it is time to re-evaluate our approach? Pour-in your ideas readers..

Look at how a single candle can both defy and define the darkness.

― Anne Frank

Why school trips are a must for students?

Why school trips are a must for students?

Children have a different level of excitement and physical energy that we adults can’t match. Trips are a good way to channelise the same energy the right way. 

Children also get used to routine life and enjoy their comfort zone of family, friends and teachers. Short trips with peers gives them an opportunity to leave their comfort zone. The usual and the routine conversation change during the trips.

 More or less students engage bathing, eating, sleeping without an adult supervision. Just that they have to be on time to get started for the day. 

Children may just talk and just talk during trips. But, it does indicate a continuous practice of one or the other social skill. A shy student may ask you to pass salt and pepper on the table. A shy one may also find another lost soul on the trip and thus make a friend. 
The attention of the students goes to the trees, huts, farms, a fox and so many other objects and thus beginning a conversation with the peers and teachers. The discourse of these conversations can be very short lived but they are worth initiating and listening.

 I witnessed one student of grade 9 to be taking pictures of plums growing in the vicinity and taking few solitude minutes to do the same. The same kid spotted a scorpion hiding under a table. Now, doesn’t this tell me something about the student’s inclination inclination towards nature? 
Readers, do share your insights related to the topic. I will soon be sharing sequence to the blog post. Happy reading!

Questions for the school trip by a teenager…

Questions for the school trip by a teenager…

Registers and records on the table, appointments with students to be scheduled and plenty of other things on the mind. Well, amidst this was new responsibility of being an incharge to outstation travel to Nainital with a group of around 20 students for 4 days. I was about to meet some students from grade 6 to grade 9 and hand them an iteniary and some ‘ground rules’ to keep the trip safe and secure for everyone. 

Well, this was an excited teenage boy name, Amit who came in to my room. Here are some snippets of my conversation with him.

‘Ma’am, Would there be an alarm? I have difficulty getting up in the morning’. I consoled that I would personally knock his door and ensure that he is up with everyone. 

‘Should I get woollens?’ I promptly fetched the weather app on my phone to find out about the weather in Nainital and suggested to pack a light jacket to be safe. He seemed happy to have got his answer. 

Oh, he yet had a series of questions. 

‘Can I get Suthol?’ (Suthol is an antiseptic liquid often used by North Indians to avoid prickly heat and skin rashes). On the spot, I thought that Suthol can be a part of the toiletries. So, I said ‘yes’ again. 

I had asked each student to carry one garbage bag to ensure that no place is littered during the trip. The kid asked to clarify, ‘My mother keeps a lot of plastic bags of different sizes. Could I get one such bag from my mother?’ My ‘yes’ made him super geared for the upcoming trip. 

Finally, I got an idea that I have resolved all his queries. And therefore asked for his signatures on receiving the iteniary. 

Amit clasped my pen and told me that he will take long. I wondered in my mind, ‘why will he take it long to do his signatures? He replied without having really asked this question, ‘I have long signatures’. Amit, signed like a celebrity and his signatures ended with a smiley. 😊

Can I help?

‘Time is an important resource’.’I have no time to think or feel.’ ‘I have no time to eat or exercise.’ ‘I don’t know how did the day end?’ ‘Gosh! I am already 30′.’For how long would I stay in this job?’

Such messages incessantly reverberate in our inner world giving us a reference of time. We so need these messages. They seem to be the foundation of our very existence.

Well, does time cease to stop?

Yes! It does.

It was the recess time in school. School corridors brim with positivity and out-pour of bottled energy (can say so for the Indian subcontinent). Few primary kids chasing each other. Few preferring to have tiffin silently and young boys and girls gasped in a laughter spree.

Piled with the laboratory material with umpteen number of thoughts chasing the mind.  I was meandering and dodging my way to the workstation. A hot cup of tea was all I could imagine.. I just wished to settle on a chair, and drop the load of my hands.  Amidst this hustle-bustle in the corridor, a mischievous 12th grader asked, ‘Can I help?’

Time did stop!

tea