Monday, November 9, 2009

a walk in their tiny shoes..

Interframe: When reading the children’s books for my coming Friday’s exam, I couldn’t really understand some of the vocabulary in those children books – even for my 21-year-old brain. Now, I remember that I never really read as a child though I was familiar with some of the story books. I just browsed through the pictures. And I guessed some of the interpretations I made when I was little about the storyline through the illustrations in the story books were almost correct. So I guess that was how I learned literature as a child – interpreting pictures instead of texts.

If somebody ask me whether I love children, without much doubt I would answer "Yes." And if I had the chance to elaborate, I would add "I love playing with children, but I dislike taking care of them." Yes, it's true that I love children - but I love children not in the motherly kind of way (maybe because I hate responsibilites towards another person), but rather in another sense, where I treated them like my friends, my equals. If I were to play with a child, I would lower myself to their level, trying to be someone their age though I am obviously older than them by a couple of years. (Yes, jangan risau, aku jenis yang sedar diri aku dah tua).

I would try to see the world through their eyes, at the same time trying to reminisce the way I was when I was their age. Unfortunately, I've always failed, because I've lost that gift - the gift of innocence - while growing up. Thus, I couldn't see the logic why they wanted to do something out of mind - like watching silly cartoons nonstop, going out to the playground on a very hot sunny afternoon, or maybe just a walk up and down the stairs where some of my little cousins found interesting. Those activities were all so.. boring and meaningless? So I resorted to being the villain - the one whom the kids can play with but at the same time, the one whom they always tried to be against. (Ask my two cousins - Rachel and Ezra - and yes, these are their real names..)

Instead of being someone who would play along with the kind of games that the kids wanted to play, I would suggest another game - which was more interesting to me but not to them, but like it or not, they had to follow reluctantly to my suggestions or else, no games at all.

When Rachel and Ezra were little, whenever they wanted a playmate, they looked for me, but if they wanted something like sweets or junk food, they looked for my elder sisters - either Michele or Melissa - because both of them were more generous in treating them with those junkies, but me, I was like - second guessing myself in giving so much junkies to them because I wanted to save some for myself and yes, I admit, being with children sometimes bring out the child in me, apparently. Thus, it was no wonder that they did not listen to me like how they listened to adults. In other words, I wasn't fearsome to them. (This explains why the kids that I used to teach at my alma mater were not scared at me at all - instead they rebel against me).

All of us must had a lot of moments to cherish during our childhood. There were amusing times, and most of them would be lovely times, whether our first Christmas at our parents' hometown, our first trip to somewhere foreign to us, and our first big birthday celebration. Nowadays, we are all grown up, so it's now the little generations' turn to experience their childhood. But the kids nowadays might have different childhood from ours, and ours were definitely different from the older generations'.

Coming from different generation, there was always this sort of expressions, "Kids nowadays are not as good as us," "Kids nowadays are pampered too much," and so on. Yes, some of the expressions were true, but what do we expect when they were raised in different atmosphere from us, or perhaps our parents, the earlier kids? And what makes us think that we are not responsible why kids nowadays are behaving the way they are - too demanding, and sometimes, disrespectful - compared to the earlier children who were always ended up being beaten with rattan by the fearsome parents if they try to be mischievous.

Kids nowadays - are just as much as innocent as us when we were little. It was just their luck to be raised in this atmosphere which are so polluted with pop modern cultures, which actually, were invented by us - the older children, the used-to-be-innocent earlier kids.

Instead of putting a harsh judgment on these kids, why not we ask ourselves "Are adults nowadays any better?"

What do you expect of your kid when you put your kid in front of the television, 24/7, just so you can have a rest after your day's job?

Are you even aware what your kids are watching on the television?

Instead of trying to let your child understand you - why don't you try to understand your child?

They were born to this world without much choice - don't let them regret the decision that they didn't make.

What is the difference with adults in the earlier days and adults nowadays? (in Malaysian context)

Earlier adults though generally not as educated, they know what was best for their children - which was sufficient attention. (But count out the adults during the Victorian area because they were practising child labour back then.)

They didn't confine their children within the four walls of their home - they let their children mix around with the neighbouring children and thus, the children were more contented. Or precisely, you, the present adult, were more contented when you were little.

So, as modern adults, what can you teach your children - since I guess most of you live in the apartment building where letting the child roaming around the neighbourhood could endanger them more than helping them?

All you can do is to give your little child the attention he or she deserves. Perhaps, bring them to the playground occasionally. Or there was this one little simple thing you could do - which is to read them bedtime stories, from a selection of children story books. There were many underlying messages in children story books, which was dedicated more to the adults rather than to the children.

When I mentioned that I didn't understand most of the vocabularies in a children story book though I am already an adult (or young adult precisely), I guessed maybe, children storybooks were not meant for children alone. I think it was meant for adults to read them - for their children, and elaborate the story for them. And while reading the story books for their children, adults may get to understand the children's world better because they might get the underlying messages inside the stories- and at the same time, kids can understand the moral of the story better through their parents' elaboration. You know, while studying children's literature, there were many underlying messages, where adults were portrayed as villains in children's eyes. How sad can it be? Do you want to be the villain in the eyes of the innocent ones?

Please, try to read some storybooks to your children from now on. Cartoons in the tv are sometimes good, but you wouldn't know what the message the kids will conclude since you couldn't help them interpret the cartoons in the tv everytime they watched it. Do read story books to your children oftenly - preferably during bed times since it's the only time you will be off from work - and try to walk in their tiny shoes and guide them in their children's world because you wouldn't want them to miss what you think was the most memorable stage of your life - which was indeed, your own childhood long time ago.

Interframes: I recommend story books like Heidi, Alice in the Wonderland and The Wizard of Oz to be read for children around 5 to 7 years old. They were nice stories and very suitable during the growing up phase. And yes, I should be on a hiatus like my sister now since self-control to restrain ourselves from temptation is one of the quality in becoming a good adult. heheh. And yes, now I am trying to be a responsibe adults towards children, but that i assure you, will take a very long time though. ;) Yes, this will be my last post during exam season. Or else, i will have have the worst universityhood.


Hawa said...

Long post..dont't know why i still want 2 finished it..hehehehe..(^^,)

I love reading when i was a kid n(dgn bangganya) mengaku yg hampir smua buku d bahagian bacaan buku cerita kanak2 perpustakaan sekolah telah di baca semasa sekolah rendah..but now,nak baca 1 buku pun x hbs malah few of them stil virgin..hehehe

same with you,love children 2 but not taking care n playing with them.jz love n enjoy wathing wat they doing @ playing..(^^,)

why last post???will miss 2 read ur post..huhuhu

mcjayn said...


i also play with rachel and ezra la.. only i x gaduh with them. wahahah... not that i manja them but i make them do what i want by making them think that that is what they wanna do.

Mad Maureen said...

Hawa: Haha.. thanks for reading it though it's long. Ya, i like to drag things, that's why i always write long post. lol..

Oh, have to sacrifice for the test.. But if i tak tahan, maybe will come here and create new post again.. ahahha..

Mel: ala, memanglah u got play with them, but they always play with me since you prefer to play with the cats more.. hahahha.. i memang gaduh with them, cause i want hak sama bah. heheheh..

Anonymous said...

ohhh this post really made me reflect back on my childhood days. Im a climber according to my parents, ,and photos to prove haha. Oh and Heidi, Alice in wonderland & the wizard of oz are my fav books!!! I used to read over and over again. and watch the shows. hehe

Mad Maureen said...

Miss Confession: Wow, really miss you on the blogosphere.. Hope you are doing fine.. ;) I'm glad this post made you reflect back on your childhood.. :)

Lol, climber! interesting. u must have a really fun childhood then.. ;) Yeah, i love all those storybooks too, too bad i only get to really read them when i am a young adult now. heheh... but those stories do have some underlying messages which will make us appreciate children and life more.. ;)