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This mother writes a beautiful letter to a young daughter, a girl who is a sensitive soul that the mother wants to protect from the vagaries of the world.
I see right through your distress when standing in that queue; on being pushed, you firmly but politely tell the offender to not indulge in such an act. I can feel what goes through your mind when your soft heartedness is mistaken for your vulnerability.
There are all kinds of people in this world. Some are bossy and feisty while some are humble and quiet. But, we need both the kinds to maintain a healthy balance. Sensitivity is a virtue which is crucial and in the present times of strife and restlessness, it is what each and everyone should possess.
I am glad that you are sensitive. You are sensitive towards that little squirrel that hurt itself. I am overjoyed when I see you standing by your friend who is in tears while the others have slowly moved away. You stand still but you are there. And, this makes me proud. I was touched, when the house help stood in the kitchen on that sultry summer afternoon and you came up with the idea of putting a table fan to put her at ease.
As you grow up, you may feel at times that you are a push over or that you are not aggressive. But, let me tell you that you are considerate and kind and if that makes you meek, be it. As the magnitude of impatience increases in this world, it becomes all the more important to have a breed of young individuals who can see the emotional travails of that father who lost his twins and family in Syria. It would be blissful to see you and other young boys and girls turn into patient and strong individuals who are much more than those trolls typing away to glory and who seem to be offended by each and everything that transpires around us.
So, my dear, do not be bogged down by people who are physically strong and who are constantly putting you down. I am sure, the mental strength and the humility with which we have equipped you will make you a bigger and a better person, any day.
Just the other day, you said that you could talk to birds. I smiled but humoured you nevertheless. I wanted to tell you that humans cannot talk to birds. But, something in me stopped me. I wondered when was the last time, I did nothing but ‘stand and stare’. Nature is an intrinsic part of us and it was you who reminded me of it, unwittingly. ‘Child is the father of man’, Wordsworth said. I sincerely hope it stands true for you.
But still, when you come back from school and tell me about that boy who pushed you, I wonder what I should tell you. Should I ask you to retaliate thereby replicating what he did to you? It is a tough call to make for me as a parent.
Some years ago, even before you were born, as I lingered around in a shopping mall, waiting for a friend, I happened to witness something. In a nearby play area, a stout looking four or five year old boy slapped a girl of the same age. As the little girl held back her tears with great effort, I saw her mom rush to her. The father of the other boy stood there, grinning with pride as if he wanted to say ‘look how strong my son is’. The look which rested on his face stayed with me. I couldn’t help but wonder that in our bid to raise strong children, are we raising hooligans, without an iota of sensitivity. Am I old school, if I still believe that you should be polite, wait for your turn, greet your elders and most importantly, apologize if you err.
But all is not lost. When I see you my child, I feel I can hope. I can picture better times in the offing. I can hope because there are still some little fellas who have the heart to feel for others and who can talk to birds.
Stay as you are…
Published here earlier.
Image source: By Browne, Henriette (1829 – 1901) – painter (artist)Details of artist on Google Art Project [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons, for representational purposes only.