I told you yesterday already how proud Apra was about her dance performance – and she came home with the cup she had won and showed us the medal as well, making us just as proud. When we listened to her description of the event however, we noticed that what was stuck on her mind was not so much the audience, the applause or her dance but unfortunately another event which tainted this great feeling of achievement and pride: a man had barked at her and her Ashram brother. Without reason.
After having told us about the performance in her initial excitement, Apra became more thoughtful and told us: “There was a man and he said to Guddu and me: ‘What are you doing here? Get away from here!’ We hadn’t done anything to him, we just wanted to sit there!”
Ramona hesitated with her answer because she knew very well that our daughter had done nothing wrong and the man just wanted to shoo the children away. She started by saying ‘Oh, the man probably was in a bad mood’ but then immediately added ‘but he should not have been so unfriendly to you, that was not nice!’ because being in a bad mood does not excuse impolite and rude behavior!
Apra was stuck with it however. After just a while, she repeated the same incident to me. I was not as soft with my words and told her right away: ‘Because he was not a nice man!’
The problem is, we encounter this behavior towards children all the time here in India! People generally don’t correct children gently, they straight away shout at them, scold them harshly and don’t give them a chance to explain themselves or understand why they should not do whatever they were doing.
As usual, this shows a problem in the general Indian attitude towards children. There is the positive feeling that everyone can help educating the children of this world and show them what is right or wrong. This is something great, as the responsibility is thus not only on the parents. At the same time however people generally talk to children as though they are stupid. They often don’t respect that they have feelings like every one of us, or actually much more intense.
And that’s how they act without caring about the soft feelings of our little nearly four-year-old dance star who had come with her eight-year-old brother to sit down on a chair next to this man. He could have told her that it was the chair of his wife and she would be back every moment. He could have showed them the place where all the other kids were waiting and told them nicely to shift there. He could have just let them sit there because they actually didn’t disturb him!
As a parent, I get angry that he brought this dark spot on my daughter’s beautiful evening. As a father, I ask why you are not nicer to the children around you. And as a human being I wonder what made it acceptable to bark at those who look weaker than we are ourselves.
Be nice. To children and everyone else around you!