Long live the kids…

The kid
The kid

It was a mid-term result day of my three kids, a few months back. I went to their school to collect the result cards. I had a little conversation with the kids’ teachers about their performance and the results, and then I left the school. No sooner did I arrive home that I got a call from the school asking me to go back to the school as the Headmistress wanted to talk to me. I wondered what could possibly be the issue. I suspected my son Moazzan might have done something as I already had been called upon to hear a complaint against him. Anyways, I went and met the Headmistress. She said she had received complaint against Moazzan. “Here we go, as expected.”, I said to myself. She told me that Moazzan had brought a condom into the class (my eyes rolled); he gave it to his friend and told him that it was a balloon. The kid took it home and his parents found out what he was carrying. When asked where he got it from, he told them that his friend at school had given it to him. The parents came to the school and lodged the complaint. The headmistress then advised me to keep our personal belongings away from kids’ reach, and we should know what things the kids were bringing to school.

All the way during her talk I tried to control my laughter, but at the same time felt embarrassed when she said to keep personal things away from children. However, I apologized and told her how Moazzan really got his hands on ‘the’ balloon.

Here is how he got ‘em:

It so happened that we had returned from a visit to our village only a few days back. Our village is very small, say with a fewer than 70 homes and all the villagers are related to each other in one way or the other. Literacy rate is 50% for men and 5% for women, the primary business of men is agriculture, while all women are housewives. There are small shops which sell groceries for everyday use and confectionery items for kids. At such shops, the cheapest rubbers in town are sold to the kids as balloons. The people in the village are familiar with the purpose of the raincoats though, but they are least concerned about these being sold as balloons to the kids. My son also bought a few johnnys and brought them with him here to Karachi. I didn’t know that till the time I was told by the headmistress.

 And then I told my kid to never play with those balloons again.  🙂

To TV or Not To TV

Though not a lot, but a little has changed in the past one month. Lately I realized that life is never the same. A year back life was different. Two years ago it was even more diversified. And life was poles apart ten years ago than what it is today. As they say the only thing constant is change.

One important change having taken place lately is absence of television at home. Yes. We are not having television for over a month, and I hope we are not going to have one anytime soon either. Ironically, as it may sound, I haven’t felt any compulsion to own one either. In fact I wasn’t much into it even when we had one, it used to be the hourly news bulletin I’d tune into occasionally or would enjoy whatever my kids would be watching. Since my wife isn’t TV addict so no pressure from her to own a tv :-). I haven’t been anti-tv, nor am I now. I grew up watching black ‘n’ white television. It was only at the beginning of 21st century that I witnessed the advent of satellite television, and the entry of international tv channels in every home.

I have come to believe that an uncontrolled and easy access to the tube can have adverse effects on my kids’ ability to think out of the box and perform well in other aspects of life. I just found its confirmation on Sciencedaily.com that the American Academy of Pediatrics discourages watching television during infancy and recommends not more than two hours per day beyond age 2. It seems that every extra hour beyond that has a remarkably negative influence.” My second kid was addicted to watching cartoons and kids’ dramas (fantasy and fairytales), he would just sit glued nearer to the television screen and won’t give remote control to anyone. He would rarely go out and play with other kids. I seriously viewed his lack of going out and playing with other kids, and wanted to close down the television for good. But I could not.

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Then that flood also caused disconnection of cable tv network. Taking hold of the opportunity, I told my kids that there wasn’t going to be tv anymore, they’d rather get timed access to my personal computer (there is nothing really personal in it though) where they can play games or watch cartoons or any other of their favorite programs during the allotted time. Now I have control over the amount of time they should spend playing games and watching dramas. I have found them engaged more in physical games than sitting idly in front of the screen.

I too used to watch cartoons with all the interest and inquisitiveness when I was kid, but during those times PTV used to have only one hour dedicated to kids programs and we kids were left with no choice but to engage in games that involved exploring the environment outside and interacting with other people. Even in villages today, despite the intrusion of cable tv network, kids do undertake corporal games and are found to be fit and healthier. Whereas the kids in bigger cities are finding it hard to resist so much entertainment in the box and go out and play.

I hope this is going to have a very positive impact on my kids. Notwithstanding anything, I am going to go without television for some time.


Kids & The Colors

Kids enjoy nothing more than playing with colors. On February 10, 2013 our neighbor association arranged a coloring activity for the kids aged between 5 and 12. Seven groups, each consisting of 7 kids, were made whereof 3 groups were girls-exclusive. Each group was given a specific name along with a specific dress-color. The kids were required to color the sketches of different characters made on the boundary wall. Total time allowed was four hours. Since this was the first-of-its-kind activity in the neighborhood, the children were enthusiastic, whereas the parents were excited and appreciated such a healthy event. Looking at the warm reception of the event, the President of the association announced another activity-based gala on Pakistan Day (March 31, 2013).