Pic.: Tanvi Jeurkar
Seven-year-old Aniket is fantastic… Naturally confident, exuberant… Pleasant to be with, adorable… I can go on and on…
But, then, he is restless… like a rat!
Well, by now, a person like me – a fifty-seven-year-old teacher/trainer knows that’s Aniket’s excess energy… It is difficult to contain it… So, when he comes to our Kiddos’ PD sessions, he brings it out by not sitting at one place… or not doing one thing at one time… He is there everywhere… sometimes, over the benches, sometimes under them… Yes, if I can make Aniket sit at one place and pay attention, that would be a great feat – that’s what his young parents jokingly say – and, he deserves a certificate for that… And, I, too!
From the day one, I tried to cajole Aniket… in ten different ways – to be less restless. “Beta, if you sit at one place and pay attention, I will give you a special prize on the day of our certificate, ok?”
“Ok sir; but, first tell me what is the prize?”
“That will be a surprise, darling,” I tempted Aniket, “To get that prize, you have to show me that you are not restless.”
“Okay sir,” the little fellow agreed, “But, you will keep your promise, no?”
“I will, darling,” I assured Aniket, “What about you – you, too, will keep your promise, no?”
“Yes, I will.”
Today was the fourth session. The restlessness had dropped drastically. I was pleased… The carrot-and-candy trick – the ‘bribe’ – was working…
From my years of experience, I know this: you don’t need to offer a carrot or a candy as bribe to bring about a change in a child’s behavior… If not handled well, the ‘bribe’ can spoil things further… I know this. So, through the stories I tell them and through the videos I show, I help them consciously and happily change their habits… Positive reinforcement helps… Encouragement helps… A loving hug and a sincere pat on the back do a lot of good to little-ones… Acceptance, appreciation and even firmness play a great role in bringing about the desired change…
Yes, Aniket is changing… He is able to contain his excess energy when he attends my two-hour sessions, now!
Last class, I had showed them the video – ‘My Daddy Lies’. It was a very moving video (from MetLife Insurance)… A little school girl has just won an essay competition and her father is ecstatic in the audience… On their way home, as they walk, the father reads out his girl’s essay… ‘Daddy is the sweetest daddy in the world… Daddy is the most handsome… the smartest… the most clever (the cleverest)… the kindest… He is my superman…. Daddy wants me to do well at school… Daddy is just great…. The father is so delighted… Then, there is a pause… They stop… Father is shocked… the little girl looks frozen, too… her voice continues, “But he lies…. (Pause)… He lies about having a job… He lies about having money… He lies that he is not tired… He lies that he is not hungry… He lies that we have everything… He lies about his happiness… He lies because of me… for me to live a better life… I love daddy.”
I show this video to little kids, young-ones and adults alike… It melts hearts alike… I cry every time I show this video in our class… and, why should I hide my tears? Why I should I be ashamed of them?
But, ask the little kids to come up on stage and tell what the story tells them… They make you smile… Some are so touched, so speechless, that they are unable to come up on stage… Some readily go up and declare: “It tells, that we should not tell lies!”… And, some are more specific: “Daddy should not tell lies to his children!”
“Did you all cry?” I gently prodded, knowing very well most of them did…
“I did not cry!!!” little Aniket stood up and asserted, his voice cracking… eyes wet… cheeks red!
“Sir he is lying… He is lying,” the little brats around him pointed to his face and teased, “Look he is still crying.”
“No, I am NOT crying!” Aniket refuted with his shivering lips, “I am NOT crying!”
“Chalo, let me tell you what the story is all about,” I diverted the attention form little Aniket… And, I told them the story in my own way…
Today, I found Aniket a lot calmer in the class… I had asked them to write some lines on the topic – ‘What Makes Me Confident’… Aniket had written about how he had participated and won many competitions and how it had helped him to feel more and more confident… “I have many CERFITICKETS,” the adorable three-footer announced, proudly.
“Hey, it is ‘CERTIFICATES’ and not ‘CERFITICKETS’…” the little hawks were ready…
“I know… It is CERFI-TICKETS’! The little Aniket was emphatic!
“Chalo, give a big hand to Aniket… He has won one more certificate today,” I took away the steam from the little hawks; “He was not at all restless in the class today.”
I could see the glow of confidence on the seven-year-old heartthrob’s face!
I had, also, showed in the class, today, a video from the favorite movie, ‘Taare Zameen Par’. After all had left the class, when Aniket was alone waiting for someone to come to pick him up… I pulled from my drawer the beautiful Flip Book of Ishaan* and placed in Aniket’s hand, “This is your prize darling….. You have been a good boy… Keep it up!”
Aniket couldn’t believe his eyes… He never expected it today… and, certainly, he never expected it to be ‘FLIP BOOK’!
* This beautiful Flip Book had come to me, with several other things from Ishaan’s world, when I had bought the special gift set of DVDs of TZP. It was in 2007. I had been playing many scenes and songs from this movie to our little-ones ever since… I had been showing them the Flip Book, which they loved to flip through with stars in their eyes… And, today, after nine years, I let go of it, only to fall into the hands of my little Ishaan, here – ANIKET. I am glad.)