A High Five to Our Little Champs

Two months ago, in February, when we had landed in Mumbai, COVID/ Corona were words that didn’t mean much. Unless you had someone, you know living in China or Hong Kong.

As I look back, I realise how far we have come from those days of blissful ignorance. Two months ago, even a suggestion of a possible school closure drew sharp reactions from harried mums. They dreaded and worried for their sanity at the thought of having kids at home. There were the usual jokes about mums going crazy with kids jumping around the house and on their nerves. Some even suggested that if it really happened, mums (or the more gender equal term parents) would find a cure out of sheer desperation.

And then our collective nightmare became a reality. Kids were home and unlike the vacations, there’s no one knows for how long. In the beginning, we had pics and videos of kids doing house chores, cooking and baking, indulging in art and craft. Then there were posts of our profound conversations with them that we had been putting off till tomorrow till finally we accepted the bizarre as the new normal.

Am I the only one to notice or you have observed too that no one ever complained? Partly that’s because we are looking at the bigger picture. The kids are safe and we have the privilege to be home with them. That is more important than messier houses, unending chores or piles of dirty laundry.

This Saturday, to all those who would be reading this, I have a request. Applaud the children around you. Your kids, grand kids, nieces, nephews, all the little ones (not that you may not be doing it already). I feel kids are the worst affected in a state of lock down like ours. They have to grapple with the reality of being trapped in their homes. No friends or outdoor playtime. Online classes are something hardly any kid was used to. To top it all are 24×7 news channels that the adults are watching. Those who are not are checking the COVID numbers like they are following India’s score in a crucial cricket match. It must be scary for the kids.

We often talk about kids’ resilience. Today it’s being tested to its limits. From what I read on the social media or when I speak to my friends, my conclusion is that the kids are trying to hold the fort well. Though the mums (parents) haven’t found a cure (not just yet) I’d say our kids are learning to manage it well.

A lot of people are introspecting how many lessons shall we remember once this is over. While I’m too cynical to believe in adults, I have a lot of faith in children. They will not forget what they are learning today. So, we need to be extremely mindful of what we talk and how we behave. They are watching and they are imbibing. Do not let go of any opportunity to talk to them. Address their fears. Smile, laugh, hug more often than you would have otherwise. Pat their backs and be kind to each other.

Dr. Shivani Salil

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