Wednesday, August 16, 2006

Delicious Defeat!

Children have a way of putting one to shame. At least I feel so. My experience as a mother cum teacher tells me that both roles have witnessed defeats at the hands of the most innocent looking youngster. Let me give you an example.

It was a hot summer afternoon. I had returned from college and was trying to settle down with a book in hand. My children were being unusually noisy that day. They were playing some indoor game and the occasional arguments, accusations and counter allegations were becoming a little too much to bear. Being a teacher I stormed out of the bedroom to silence them in the only way I knew.

“ Silence all of you!” I said “why this commotion? Bring out your rough notebooks and write twenty-five times- ‘I will not disturb mummy when she is resting.’

“Twenty five times….?” Protested my older daughter.

“You will write it fifty times.” I replied, “You are the one who starts trouble.”

“Mummy” my four-year-old son enquired, “How do I write such a long sentence? Can you make it short for me?”

My heart melted at the sight of his innocent eyes. I knew I could not afford to support him but I also needed to split the group.

“I am not punishing you” I said. “ You can come and listen to a story from me.”

“ I don’t want to listen to your story,” he wailed. “I want to be punished just like them. Give me something to write.”

My daughter was just waiting for the opportunity.

“Come here to me I’ll write it out for you.” She said.

Not waiting for my response she took out a paper and wrote in bold letters-

I WILL BE GOOD.

Just then a tiny voice squeaked from nowhere-

“Aunty, may I have a piece of paper? And should I also write the same as them? Or could I replace mummy by aunty?”

It was a friend of theirs who had come over to play and since she had also made a noise she perhaps thought that it was only fair that she should also be punished. And her query was pertinent enough. It was my fault that I hadn’t noticed her presence. I certainly could not punish other people’s kids! I was genuinely filled with remorse and guilt. I tried to cajole her to go back home.

“Why don’t you go home and come in the evening? May be we could go out for a stroll in the park?”

“Please aunty, do let me stay,” the girl was certainly not going walk into the trap laid out by me. “ I promise not to disturb you. Shall I run home and fetch my pencil and note book or could I borrow it from them?”

I was glad to be defeated by these little ones. This was not the first time nor would it be the last. They say victory is sweet but on that day I realized that defeat also could be delicious. These youngsters could transform punishment into fun as long as they remained together!

16 comments:

visithra said...

hehehe how cute ;) sweet defeat indeed

passerby55 said...

Preeta,

We used to be punished by our teachers in this manner ...

Write 500 hundred times ...i will not talk in the class...

these days its all changed ... i have never seen my son bring such punishments... i wondered why?

Neers said...

so cute!!!!!! and yess... these lil human beings do have a way of melting hearts... :) and thanks for that lil correction on my blog!

starry nights said...

I remember the imposition. write 50 , sometimes 100 times in school. How I hated that.

BTW you have been tagged again. its a tag world out there.

V N said...

Hiphop,

പുതുവത്സരാശംസകള്‍!!

Thats Happy New Year in Malayalam!! Our New Year starts tomorrow, and thought I would wish u a wonderful year ahead!!

:)

I saw the tag all right, and shall take it up as soon as I get some time!!!
:)

passerby55 said...

this post seemed to worked in my mind last night,,, so another comment.

preeta, this kind of punishment seemed to have helped many in the class,(in the long run) because our teacher would say, if the punishment is not written in a systematic and orderly manner with proper numbering, and also the full stop. We would have to do the same again. SO we had to be careful.

Some teachers did use the cane or duster and a ruler to punish, even standing on the bench.

These days schools don;t punish, its against the law ...

Anali said...

Such a sweet story! And I love the name of your blog!!

Usha said...

ah sucha sweet story. These little imps do know how to twist you around their little fingers with the most innocent things. And yes, it is so wonderful to be defeated by them.

Me, I do not remember my school practising imposition as a form of punishment except in languages if we got a word worng we were made to practise it 10 times or so.

The Inquisitive Akka said...

That was sweet!I still remember, once when I was in school I was asked to write an imposition. I was feeling guilty but at the same time I was scared to tell my mother. So I wrote it once and told her it wasn't neat enough so I was going to write a few more times:) I am sure she saw right through that but she didn't say anything!
Btw you have been linked:)

Has to be me said...

Awww....thats damn cute! They know how to get into our hearts!

Balaji said...

Amazing...Only Kids can do such things...I reckon that is because they are still innocent...Once they gain knowledge all those changes ... :-)

Hip Grandma said...

visitra:thanx.i'll soon post another related incident abt my student.

passerby55:I don't think impositions are a bad idea at all.more than other things it does bring about a kind of discipline and it is certainly better than making a child stand outside class.but i remember being naughty to be let out of class only to be able to join my friends who were already punished.

neers:it was so cute the way my friends daughter asked whetyer she shud run home and fetch pencil and paper.she really melted my heart.

lalitha:yes imposition was repetitive and boring.but since the whole class got it I felt it was okay.

velu:A happy new year to you too.but I thought vishu which falls on apr 14th was malayali new year.

passerby:parents are so protective that teachers dare not punish their students.i feel parents are protective to the extent that eve an aunt or grandparent cannot say a word against children.this is to my mind an unhealthy trend.

anali:welcome to my blog and thanx for your kind word.the blog name was coined by my daughter Priya.

usha:writing a wrong word ten times to learn the spelling was also done in our school.the kind I've described was the one given to boarders when they were noisy during study hours.

IQA:you must have been a sensitive child to feel bad abt an imposition.for us in the hostel all forms of punishment was collective fun!thanx for linking me.

Balaji:yes children are so innocent and sweet.one misses their childishness when they grow up.welcome to my blog.do stopby for more.

Saumya said...

That is so sweet! You have just opened out a nostalgic stream of thoughts. All surrounding my friends and I being punished together and enjoying ourselves immensely (not then, but thinking about it later, and sharing a good laugh!)

Hip Grandma said...

saumya;thanx saumya.your name itself is dear to me.it's the name of my favorite cousin

Jasmin said...

Grandma,
I will never forget 'Delicious Defeat' in my life.. I always love kids, but some how I end up shouting at them, sometimes, for silly reasons... your experiece was an eye-opener for me.. May be next time when I encounter such situation, surely I will remember you and change myself..
(sorry.. I have no blogs.. I am still a listener)

Hip Grandma said...

prince of tides:yes,by sharing our experiences we can always learn from each other.welcome to my blog.