14th November is Children’s Day.
Another day of activities, for children. But is this what it is and was supposed to be?
When I hear about any such day, I always remember something important. Like 14th November is Children’s day is actually symbolic. The celebration with and for children on this day symbolizes that children are an important part of our lives and we must pay due attention to them. Not just on this particular day, but throughout our life. The same is true for Valentine’s Day, Father’s day, Mother’s day. In the Indian context, we can say Padwa, Bhaubij, Rakhi Pournima. Have we forgotten their significance in our life?
Today, the trend is to celebrate on the day and forget the next day.
How about trying to understand a child on this occasion? How does a child develop into an adult? A quick audit on the role of adults during this development. This article is not to give any ‘Gyan’ but to get into an inquiry.
Let us first look at the common views through which we look at the child-
-A clay which can be shaped the way we want before it hardens.
-An intelligent creature to be kept under control.
-A ‘Shaitan’, don’t know what to do with him/her, just keep him/her busy into something.
-Fundamentally, an in-disciplined / wild creature and need to be disciplined/tamed.
-Fundamentally, an angel who needs care.
-A living organism who grows on its own and if nurtured well can grow healthy.
So basically, we do not have a unanimous thought about child itself, isn’t it?
At times, I wonder do we really even think about it!
One of the researchers about the child development says that the child develops into his/her own self as an adult in about 21 years, passing through three major stages.
During first 7 years (0-6) (Playgroup/Kindergarten)
The prominent development is of a child’s physical being to its complete capacity. Within these years they learn their motor movements, eye-hand coordination, hearing skills, voice skills including language and kinesthetic skills. Basically, their physical body develops to its potential.
In the next 7 years (7-13) (1st-7th std in school)
The prominent development is of their emotional being. This is the time when children express more through emotions. During this period they keep using their feelings & emotions to analyze, judge and control others and also themselves. Their emotional being develops to its potential.
In the last 7 years (14-21) (8th std in school- graduation)
The prominent development is of their intellectual being. This is the time when the children are more in the space of reasoning & questioning. They keep using their intelligence i.e. their reasoning & questioning skills to analyse, judge and control the world around them. Their intellectual being develops to its potential.
Now, if this is the way child development happens, what do you think is the role of an adult in it? Is it difficult to understand? What do we do during the early age where the physical development is happening?
We care, protect their physical being; we prevent it from any physical damages.
We allow them to use their body parts and try out things on their own.
We also allow them to believe in their physical strength by acknowledging & encouraging their actions.
We stand alert, vigilant while they are experimenting, like climbing the window or standing on the table etc.
We support the difficult stage of any activity. For e.g. when they dress up on their own, we allow them to do it. But when it comes tying shoelaces, we assist.
Do we remain same when they are developing emotionally (7-13) or intellectually (14-21)? What do you think remaining same means? If not, could this be the reason why we see children becoming non-cooperative, agitated or turning away, as they grow! Let us look at a few things.
Do we care the same way for physical and emotional being?
We support them when they are learning physical movements. Do we do the same when they are learning to express their emotions? Or during their reasoning and questioning stage?
Do we care about the hurt during their reasoning and questioning while they are developing as an intellectual being?
Do we really know how to do this, protecting the emotional being or intellectual being? Do we get to learn about this anywhere? Unfortunately, there are no formal schools to train us on these aspects. However, that shouldn’t stop us in doing things collectively, isn’t it?
We can definitely come together and develop an institution that would teach us (adults) how to care and support so that it would build the emotional and intellectual muscles of our children!
child development, parenting, schools