One Mistake At A Time

This is a sponsored post for Kellogg's Chocos #Khuljaye Bachpan Campaign and was first published on MyCity4Kids.com



Last weekend was a long weekend for us and we were inspired to go for a quick trip. So we rounded up a few friends and set out on a weekend outing with three kids in tow!
We chose a destination not very far from home; since we were driving down there and we did enough of that on weekdays anyway. So we mapped out the route to and from the destination in advance; and decided to rely on the GPS for local sightseeing.
We reached the hotel after a pleasant drive; and promptly set the kids loose. Next, we told the good lady at the reception to give us a list of all the local places worth seeing that the kids would enjoy. And by the time we had put away our bags in the room, she had come through!
The kind receptionist had sent up maps for us that listed the names and directions of the said places, along with our welcome drinks and the invites for lunch. Bless her!
So, while we elders lingered over lunch, cooling off after the long drive; we gave the maps to our little ones to decide the places they wanted to see - more importantly, which one they wanted to see first. And after a prolonged dessert and coffee, we started for the destination unanimously decided by them – the Zoo!
The place was a short distance away; and we set up the GPS to take us there. Our little one asked if she could be the navigator, but I was worried about being in a new place and told her that the distance was too less and that she should much rather enjoy the greenery around us anyway.
She didn’t like that, clearly, as I got a sad face and an exasperated “Mummy!” from her. But soon, we reached the Zoo, and the incident was (thankfully) forgotten.
At the entrance, we were told that the Zoo also offered a Safari, where we could see wild animals in their natural habitat. This got us all excited; and armed with our tickets, cameras and water bottles, we ambled on.
The Safari was a hit! The kids loved it, and we elders were suitably awed by the wild animals. For the record, it is a completely different feeling to see wild animals up close, albeit from the barricaded windows of a bus. And unlike in a zoo, where animals are kept in cages; the safari is a wonderful experience where it is us in the cage and them out in the open!
After the safari, we spent a couple more hours 'oohing and aahing' over the other amazing creatures of the Zoo; and as evening fell, we headed back to our cars – tired, but exhilarated!
As we fired up the GPS for the return trip, our little one, again asked, if she could be the navigator for the journey. My reaction to this was, again, similar to my earlier one. It was almost night fall, I said; and we were in an unknown place….


But the moment the words were out of my mouth; I had to bite my tongue. For I saw my little one sadly shrink in the backseat, with a defeated look. This time there was not only displeasure, but also a look of resignation on her face that made me feel like I had let her down.
Well, I had basically predicted that she couldn’t navigate us back to the hotel safely, hadn’t I? I felt really bad then, and very small and judgmental; and I was thinking of the right thing to say to her, when (bless him!) Dad took over.
He told me to give her the GPS and told her that she was in charge now! Just like that. He said she would be responsible for getting us back to the hotel and that there would be a big reward for her if she does it right!
Thrilled, our little one happily started directing us. And properly chastised, I sat back in the passenger seat glancing at my saviour. He smiled at me and winked; and then pointed to our friends’ car ahead of us.  And that’s when the absurdity of my actions hit me!
It was really so simple. We were two grown adults in the car, with a working GPS and we were practically following our friends’ car. Even if our little one guided us wrong, we could still end up at the right place. We just had a simple job of overseeing her attempts from proximity. No big deal. I should not have been prescriptive and made an unnecessary fuss, thereby robbing us all of the precious bonding moments during the journey.
That night, our little one proudly directed us back to the hotel, unfettered and fearless. And for this exceptional work, she was rewarded with the job of being our navigator for the rest of the trip! An amazing gesture by Dad, I felt, towards empowering her.
It also made me realise, that making mistakes and learning from mistakes is really what life is all about. And I was wrong in denying my little one, this very freedom to make mistakes. Everyone makes mistakes. Only, when it comes to children, we try to pre-empt and avert them. But we forget, that in doing this, we rob our children of new experiences where they can explore, experiment, learn and grow for themselves!
It is their childhood, their right to try new things and make new mistakes and be a child, basically; and I thought how wrong I was in denying this to my little one – woh bachpan hi kya jo bachchon ko bachche na rehne de?
And that’s when I decided that I would be more accepting and tolerant from now on. I will let my little one make mistakes and learn from them, just like I made a mistake and learnt from it. You see, I am a parent who is learning, on the job, one mistake at a time.
And I wish more and more parents show this openness of thought when it comes to their children, so that Khuljaye bachpan sabhi bachchon ka!

#Khuljaye Bachpan

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