Every Child’s Fundamental Right: Right to Childhood Memories

There was a time in our lives when the mornings were looked forward to (#happyschooling) and the evenings were celebrated each day (#friendsforlife). When our family embodied the world for us and our friends were our extended family. When the only noise that deafened our ears was that of the Walkman and the only food we relished were ‘Mommies’ delicacies’. Those were the times when we were thoroughly entertained by a single Indian television channel, Doordarshan and the outdoor games at the playground was our fitness regime. It was then when piracy was not a threat as internet was not rampant and the only bedtime company we knew were of books and mommy’s stories. Yes, we lovingly call them memories of ‘OUR’ childhood which we proudly carry on our shoulders till date.

From where I stand today, I reminisce about the past as days of sheer happiness and contentment. Such were the memories our parents had magically woven for us that still makes us feel so fulfilled. However, those moments of glory get rattled as soon as you realize that it’s now your turn to create memories for your kid. The same memories that we have grown reveling upon and have helped us stay connected to our humble past. The question I ask myself quite often is whether will I be as good a parent (if not better) to my son as my parents were to me? It sends shivers down my spine when I realize that there are innumerable odds working against me — odds being raising my child in a nuclear family, being a working mother, limitations of staying in a metro city like Mumbai, etc.

My raging concerns were aptly answered when I revisited my past and had drawn parallels between now and then. Things haven’t really changed a lot since then, although it has definitely become a bit more complex and challenging. The least we can do as parents is to make time for making memories for our kids. This way we are ensuring giving them a sense of security and a constant companionship for life. Elaborate vacations or expensive gifts won’t be remembered for long but the priceless candid moments spent with them would be cherished forever. Dirty dishes, elaborate meals and umpteen other tasks can still wait but the passing days of childhood can’t as we have limited time on hands to make a mark on their impressionable minds and souls.

I still clearly remember how, in my childhood days, I used to hurriedly finish my homework and take a quick siesta after school and eagerly wait for my friends at the ground daily at 5 pm. From badminton to cricket to football to cycling….each sport was played with equal zeal and vigor. Those were our bonding sessions which we simply couldn’t skip and our chance to have heart-to-heart talks about pressing issues of life (Oh yes! young kids have lot to deal with at that age). Although I do believe that parents can make great friends but greater memories of camaraderie are created with childhood friends. I want my son to experience those days and build great comradeship in his early years, not just to keep him company but to learn from each other’s mistakes, value the virtue of sharing and caring, get into little fights and end it with a heartfelt ‘sorry’ and most importantly, be each other’s pillar of support when the times get tough. These valuable social developments solely warrants peer interaction which no parent/ classroom can teach in isolation.

In the last couple of decades, the world has shrunk to the size ‘tiny’ with the advent of globalization and technological advancements. Our children are being wooed by the ‘branding’ of happiness and the only way we can shield them (and ourselves too) is to “practice what we preach” — no impulsive shopping, no materialistic rewarding to kill our guilt, instilling the virtue of gratitude by exposing them to a world with less fortunate people, limiting the influence of gadgets in our lives — just to name a few. Being more compassionate and content, our kids will have the opportunity to channelize their time, money and energy in the right direction — family, friends, education and health. Isn’t that all that is needed for our kids to create memories of their own?

The world is fast changing with each tick of the clock and and so should our parenting methods. But what I wouldn’t like to change for my son are those beautiful memories of childhood which should be captured and preserved within the confines of the mind forever. I am striving to do my bit and it’s still a long way to go but what I am confident about is that I will pass on some part of me to my son which will hold him in good stead even after we are long gone.

Till then, keep creating memories!!!