The word homework has never had a very positive
connotation for as long as I can remember. The phrase, ‘Do your Homework’ has
caused more tears to erupt than any tantrum in the history of childhood and parenting; probably because it’s got the word ‘work’ in it.
So you cannot blame kids when they choose to
dawdle over it, put it off and maybe completely turn away from doing it too.
Homework sessions at home for the last few years have been challenging, to put
it mildly and every strategy I’ve tried has come up short until recently, although I have done
a lot of reading on the subject.
So it was with some relief that we welcomed the
Christmas vacation as it signalled a time when we could be relatively free of
the homework struggles.In late December, we took a family trip to our native
village in Palakkad, Kerala. The occasion wasn’t a festive one, sadly, as we
were gathering to bid farewell to Gy’s great-grandmother who’d left us that month. After the ceremonies, an elderly
uncle who’d been observing Gy over the entire trip called me over and said
something which warmed my heart.
"Gy is a bright child and I don’t mean that in
the academic or educational sense. She has a sense of wonder and creativity
that will take her far. You are blessed to be a mother of a child like her.
Never forget that." Before I could say anything in response, he continued, "You
must nurture this talent of hers. Find out what she likes to do and encourage
her. I personally can sense that she has an artisitic side to her and know of
many good design schools where she’d feel right at home."
I’ve never been at a loss for words much in my
life, to be honest, considering I’ve made my living as a teacher and now as a
blogger/writer. But this sincere wish from one who’s only seen Gy once in a few
years touched my heart. I’ve also never been one to plan way ahead of my
immediate needs, although checklists rule my life and my daily tasks.
This got me thinking, though, have I ever given
serious thought to doing my homework and plan for the child's future? It was
with some interest that I saw this video on the #DoYourHomework campaign. I
must say the title intrigued me, for the simple reason that homework has never
been associated with anything fun or motivating. Take a couple of minutes and watch it. You won't be disappointed, I promise!
When I realised that it was
targeted at the parents and not the child, it made me sit up and view it with
more attention. I also wondered if perhaps it would make sense to download the Homework app and use some of the tips suggested there.
A few weeks ago, I watched Gy as she threw all her
interest and focus into making a quilled creation and for someone like me, a
person who frankly is scared of anything art-related, it was an epiphany of
sorts. She loves colouring books too, like any child her age. Here was a child
with so much potential, if only I knew how to tap it and channelize that into
something positive. Let’s face it, things are expensive these days and it helps
to be prepared, financially, for anything that the world can throw our way.
I really can’t say what my child will grow up
to be, five, ten or fifteen years from now. We cannot claim to foresee our children's aspirations. That’s something nobody can predict,
of course. Plus, dreams change very often these days, sometimes every single
day. The few things we can do, as parents, is to ensure that they have a secure
nest egg which will help them achieve whichever dream they choose to pursue
once they’ve made up their minds and stand by those decisions when the time comes.