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Diwali for kids need not be boring just because you say no to crackers! Here is why we should encourage kids to celebrate a green Diwali.
A few days back when I went to pick up my child from school, I saw another boy singing happily to himself – “I am going to buy fire crackers for Diwali, I am going to buy fire crackers for Diwali!”
Diwali for kids is such an exciting time of the year, to fire some crackers and have fun! This reminded me of my childhood Diwali days.
Childhood was simple with fewer doubts, less worries and more joy with so little. Ignorance was bliss!
Lighting crackers was a joy as a kid irrespective of the quantity and quality of crackers. If you are someone who loves crackers for Diwali, questions like – why should we light crackers if it is polluting the environment? What happens if no crackers were fired? – might make you a dull, less contended person at heart. Though it makes you a more responsible human towards the environment, you might end up feeling that you did not have a full fledged celebration.
Whether we like it or not, we need to place environment first in our thoughts before calculating our own joys; thereby leaving a lesser foot print. My definition of a full fledged celebration has changed over time and hence I am now alright with not having crackers. We all are on a journey to get better in our lives and for me, adapting eco-friendly measures has been on the agenda.
Diwali for kids need not be just about fire crackers. Diwali for kids could be much more – a more worthy definition for that full fledged celebration. And by believing in this, it would make our job easier, to explain all this to kids.
When I had this discussion with fellow parents, I was countered with other some ‘buts’ like these –
Let me tell you, making a decision to say no to crackers was never an easy one. Though I was always scared of bursting those crackers that make a loud noise and stayed away from them, I used to enjoy other things like flower pots, sparklers etc. On most Diwali days, my sister and I used to get the diyas ready with cotton wicks dipped in oil, followed by a few simple crackers – the whole family together. It really never occurred to me that I was doing something that puts our environment in grave danger.
However, life has been much different since I have became a mom. Choices are often made according to responsibility and the values I want to pass on to the little guy, irrespective of how he would practice them in his life later on. Had many of us not been lighting the crackers back then, children would have been in a less polluted environment today.
Honestly, as I said it is a journey – as new parents, we were so excited about our child’s first Diwali and made him hold a sparkler while he was sleeping and clicked pictures! On his second Diwali we tried to convince him to at least hold a sparkler though he was resisting the idea. For the third Diwali, he was almost OK with holding the sparkler and it was a great experience for us to see the amusement in his eyes.
By the time of fourth Diwali, when he lit the small flower pot with his dad’s help, it dawned on me after some introspection, that he was not so keen on trying out the crackers in the first place. It was the parent in me who wanted to see my kid have some fun by lighting crackers like I had enjoyed in my childhood. He would have been the same happy kid even if he was not introduced to lighting crackers.
It occurred to me that it is nothing but the mental conditioning of the child by the parents and family that makes him think that bursting crackers is the ultimate fun for Diwali! So, it is not something to be encouraged and there are always alternatives for having fun during Diwali for kids.
Now I have reached a point, where I resist the idea of firing crackers; my vision about what a Diwali for kids should be has undergone a complete change!
Diwali is always defined as a victory of good over evil, and I feel so glad that we have festivals with such spiritual significance. However, are we propagating the same values to our kids? Diwali for kids has become a day of having fun only by lighting crackers instead of other meaningful activities like making rangolis, painting/ decorating/ lighting diyas, making homemade sweets, exploring crafts and making handmade gifts and lanterns, decorating the home with diyas of different designs, being part of community dinner etc.
Most elders at home have become busy with shopping, cooking, pooja, guests, gifts and feel happy looking at kids having a gala time with crackers. While all of this sounds like fun, Diwali for kids can be planned in a different way and made into a practice for every year, so that they don’t feel bad about missing crackers.
For my child’s fifth Diwali this year, I can sense that he has already imagined it to be a fire crackers evening, somehow! However, I am trying my best to tell him little stories about how trees and animals would be sad because of so much smoke. Let us not replace the festival of lights with a festival of crackers. Light as many diyas as possible, after all it is a celebration of light over darkness.
As someone aptly said, change starts at home and I could not agree more! Say no to crackers this Diwali and spare a cleaner environment for our future generations. Diwali for kids can be enjoyed in many delightful tasks and made into a celebration, essentially to bring the family together. Some purposeful activities around Diwali for kids are described in our earlier article here to get you started.
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