Friendships beyond boundaries..

My three year old daughter started nursery in a school last week. Yesterday, she talked about ‘her friends’.

So I asked her who her friends were. She replied, ‘my friends’. So I asked their name, and she replied, ‘I dunno’. So I asked, ‘What do you call her’ and she replied, ‘My friends’.

I gave up. I was talking to her key worker this morning and she said that daughter had indeed made some friends. So I mentioned the conversation above and she reassured me that it is completely normal. Children connect with other children, without even needing parameters such as names.

I have always noticed how Poohi does not notice race, or colour , in others. And we never mention it either. Children adapt so well to people, based on how different people behave with them. They know, instinctively, who can be approached and who cannot. This nursery, employs the same concept. They just let the children mingle and decide for themselves, who they are comfortable with. I was talking to another mum, while waiting to pick up daughter on the way back, and she was mentioning how she was not happy with this approach. I had found it nice, that they let the children decide for themselves, while she felt that a child would have felt more comfortable if they are introduced to each other formally and told a bit about themselves.. And I don’t know which approach is better, to be honest. I guess it totally depends on the child and what makes him/her comfortable. Some may be comfortable with a little more adult guidance, while others might be very independent.Β  Especially children for whom, this is the first time away from their parents, a bit more adult guidance might be comforting.. for others like my daughter – it might not make a difference either way.

This reminded me of something that I read a couple of days back.

Babies come to us unconditioned spirits. We condition them to our reality, but who is wiser to the TRUTH.

I have been reading a lot of books, I had never heard about, thanks to my library where I can never spot any of the best sellers. The only redeeming thing is that I get to take 20 books, so I pile on, every book I can lay my hands on.Β  I also end up picking up a lot of Indian (or Indian origin) writing. This book was one of the good ones.Β  Hindi-Bindi Club by Monika Pradhan.

It was the story of two generations.Three mothers who are first generation immigrants to America and their three daughters. It was interesting to see how dynamics shifted throughout the story. One of the mothers said this in the book and it touched a chord for me. And I guess, I found it more interesting because of the part about cultures clashing and it also gave me a perspective of how my life would be , if I chose to stay here.

I am in the phase, where I want to write(hence the post), even when I have no time, so please forgive me for these ramblings and for not blog hopping, and not replying to comments.. Will get to it.

54 thoughts on “Friendships beyond boundaries..

  1. Babies come to us unconditioned spirits. We condition them to our reality, but who is wiser to the TRUTH.

    Absolutely the truth…. its us who condition them…. !!! sigh… we humans… !!!!!
    I know! I knew I had to share this when I read it.

    Some really simple things we fail to figure out… !!!
    I know!

    But I m just glad that poohi already has friends !!!!!! aint you pleased as punch… !!!! they are growing smi… they are growing… !!! πŸ˜€

    I know, Hitchy and so fast! Soon they’ll be grown ups!

  2. Babies come to us unconditioned spirits. We condition them to our reality, but who is wiser to the TRUTH.
    so true… it’s all upto conditioning…

    no baby is born bad/dirty/criminalised… or whatever else u can call it. it is circumstances which make him/her change for the better or worse. how easily we forget that 😐

  3. When S started preschool, there was one another Indian girl in her class. And other children thought that they were sisters πŸ™‚ They were close but their best friends were not Indian. And one little boy asked me one day when I was picking S up, whether I am from Mexico? Children do start to notice the differences after a while, but they do not judge yet.

    My friends with older children keep telling me about some of their experiences with differences in religion, culture etc in school. Recently an Indian friend mentioned about her experiences about being a South Indian in North India.

    I share your anticipation about how life will be when we live here. Looks like everyone who moves out of their native land will come across various shades of this feeling.

  4. oh for me its more ur apporach thats because if I introduce Ojas formally to something he actually becomes shy and tries to stay away but otherwise goes to the kid all by himself…

    but i guess depends on each child

  5. You wont believe, I never knew my caste until my school officials asked me to fill it up for my 10th certificate. My parents never brought me up that way !

    and whats with this I will be back, I will be back?? When are you back for good ??? πŸ˜€

      • @ Pixie : LOL, no one asked me while I was in school too ! probably, because my schooling wasnt in India, thats why ! πŸ˜€

        @ Smitha : Now let me ask you something without any shame πŸ™‚ WHY ON EARTH ARE YOU NOT COMING ANYWHERE NEAR MY BLOG ?? (angry emoticon, no idea how to use them) I see you everywhere, except there ! 😦 😦

  6. My daughter is exactly like Poohi! She started school here about a month and half ago and I still don’t the names of her friends! She tells me she has friends but she doesn’t know their names…Now, though, sometimes she does sprinkle her school recaps with some names…

    She goes to an international school – they have children from 78 countries there and in her class 10 nationalities are represented…Who knew there were so many Danish people here – there are 4 in her section alone! And 3 Israelis! The school encourages intermingling and awareness of different cultures etc. which I like…Like Poohi, she too doesn’t ‘see’ race or colour; she only ‘sees’ people if they are mean or rude to her! I just hope this phase lasts forever but…

  7. Hmmm….We came aware about the caste thing only when reservation thing had popped up…even now if am probed too much about my caste and all i am at loss because I am not bothered.

    The book is good??? Been eying it since long but was apprehensive in picking it!!!

  8. Lovely thoughts!!! Agree entirely.

    And I have been going through your kind of phase… been busy, but had to record or write or ramble, or sometimes couldn’t write but read and left no comments (in Delhi this summer)…

  9. Thats such a beautiful saying and such a beautiful post. I’m addicted to your blog now.
    And I like your approach better. Kids don’t need formal introductions :), they just start playing along side each other and then with each other. They have their own kiddy radars.

  10. Varunavi almost finishes her 1 1/2 year in the same class still says my friends,when i ask her what are there names,she says i don’t know,i didn’t ask them but they are my best friends.She started talking differnt languages hindi,malyalam and arabic.And she knows about EID,onam,dusshera etc….

    U know smiths my mom says it is we who spoil kids,it is from us they learn to differentiate.I myself willl never tell my kids about the caste,as i was not told by my mom,came to only when i filled by degree application.

  11. thats why its saying kids are like god….every body is equal in front of them….
    they know no boundaries of caste and religion !!!
    Book sound good read….will pick it soon !!

  12. Namnam too was like that,Smits when she started her playschool..she didnt know the names of her friends..she too would just say they are my friends..when we asked them what their names were..pat would come the reply ‘boys & girls’. Now,though she knows the names of some πŸ˜€

    As for letting children mingle on their own,I think its a good approach especially for children who are outgoing and dont need any much push to go and talk to others.But for children who are shy,like Namnam is,a little guidance from the teachers or any adult should help them come out of their shell and open up,I think.

    Namnam,when she started out used to be quite reserved.Then we told her teacher about her characteristics and with a little push from her,Namnam opened up.Now she does make an effort to go out and talk to others.Although she is still guarded when it comes to people she meets for the first time πŸ™‚

    So any approach is welcome so long as the children benefit out of it.

  13. Children end up teaching a thing or two about life to us adults, no? πŸ™‚
    The quote is lovely

    They definitely do! They are far wiser than us in so many ways πŸ™‚

  14. same here smitha.If i ask my nephew(6 year),whtz the name of your friends πŸ™‚ .he will give the same answer with a kalla chiri πŸ™‚ (though he know there name).Then i will ask who is sitting at your right side,left side and all,by the time he will get angry πŸ˜€ :D.

    πŸ™‚ Children!

    True kids don’t need any parameters to get along with others :).Sometimes even i get along really well with others in functions,church,while travelling and all,but forget to ask there name 😦 (sometimes even after talking more than 1 hour) .
    So good 2 hear that poohi get along with everyone despite of race,color n all :).

    Yes, and I think the environment matter too – here she sees everybody – so she does not think too much about it. If she were living in India, maybe, she would notice more when we went abroad.. you know

    heard a lot about the generation gap among imigrants.Like there grand parents worked hard to create a space for them,But the current generation is enjoying all the fruit of there hardwork and they are not honouring them at all.Will try to read this book.

    Yes, but this was a little different. How two generations had different ideas and how both the generations learn from each other- quite interesting.

  15. β€œBabies come to us unconditioned spirits. We condition them to our reality, but who is wiser to the TRUTH.”

    very true Smitha…. they come with a Godly wisdom which gets twisted once they interact with us earthly beings.. I have thought about it too..

    ur ramblings are great.. please keep them coming since not all of us can read so many books… the thoughts that spills out from ur reading/thinking are great…

  16. Yes, Smitha, they don’t think like us or act like us, at this stage. Sometimes, they copy us without their knowledge, without knowing the meaning of what they are doing. Just blindly copy us.

    Poohi’s school is good, I feel. As you said, the small children select for children and come closer to their classmates, in due time. They like some things of some children and come closer. They don’t plan and chose. It happens. We have to just hope that they become friends with good natured kids.

    Like other here, I too admired the lines you quoted: ‘Babies come to us unconditioned spirits. We condition them to our reality, but who is wiser to the TRUTH.’

    The book seems to be interesting. It is relevant to you so you must have liked it more!

    I used to read like mad at your age, Smitha. Now, the spirit is gone! Keep writing and I will READ them!

  17. Well I always believe that it’s not the kids who need to be conditioned but we the adults…but you know with the unfortunate height and shouting power we gain over these little things we tend to master our stupid skills over them.

    First of all, welcome back πŸ™‚ It is wonderful to see your comment again, Saksh πŸ™‚
    I agree with you. We end up loading all our prejudices and pre-conceived notions onto to children, which does more harm than good.

    It’s so sad that when they step out of home and start making friends they rarely care about caste, colour or anything in between. But slowly we teach them to differentiate, or to be diplomatic I should use the word CAUTION? I have heard so many moms telling Ohh I have told my kid to keep a distance away from him bcoz he is blah blah…. Well I just hope my son will grow up wise and choose good friends for a lifetime πŸ™‚

    I would go with differentiate. ‘I just hope my son will grow up wise and choose good friends for a lifetime’ – that is the most important thing, isn’t it? The hope that they will grow up with the judgement they need to take them through life rather than unnecessary prejudices..

    PS: That still doesn’t make me happy of the fact abt the Blonde Bahu, not that I have anything against blondes but am sure it will be damn tough for me to adapt to her style in my adolescent age u see πŸ˜‰

    πŸ™‚ Go read this book, Sakshi, your prejudices against blonde bahus might just vanish πŸ˜‰ Anyways, am sure your son is going to bring home a blonde, blue eyed beauty πŸ™‚

  18. Wow, lovely post. You know I always used to think that why is it so easy for kids to fight, then forget but almost impossible for adults to do so.

    Btw, my son has a gf at school – he keeps taking her name – Sofia πŸ˜†

  19. “I have always noticed how Poohi does not notice race, or colour , in others. And we never mention it either. Children adapt so well to people, based on how different people behave with them.”

    Smi, sometime back I think on An’s blog, I had put something similar as a comment too. You know this is a small town and conservative White community. The only minority are just few Indians here and there spread far. Many friends who live in big cities and multiracial/multicultural environment warned us on what we have in store for us.

    Nothing of that sort happened to us. This is the friendliest place I have ever lived with most loving and caring neighbors. Peanut is the only Non-white kid in the school (the other one is a friend’s daughter who is in pre-school so part of another building). She never once asked me why she is different from others. she never felt that way. She knows that she is light brown and she thinks it is same as White or Black or Green or Orange.

    You know, a lot depends on how we interact with people too. When we view people with prejudiced eyes – it is more than likely to be reciprocated. I am sure you mingled with them just as normally – so you have such a friendly neighbourhood. I personally of people who prefer to stay only in strongly Asian neighbourhood. – They never understood why we stay where we do..

    Children see past color, race and gender. It is only when we keep telling them how different we are and fill their mind with hatred towards host country and same way when parents of other children too talk about color and race at home, children starts noticing it and of course television too contributes to such biases later.

    Absolutely! I find that most children reflect the ideas of their parents – atleast in the early years. And even if television does contribute, I think as parents we can and should steer them in the right direction – whereever we can, that is.

    “Babies come to us unconditioned spirits. We condition them to our reality, but who is wiser to the TRUTH.” True.

    • One more thing I forgot to add. Just couple of days back at Peanut’s ballet class, some of us were discussing this name thing. One mom said that her daughter comes home and says

      “Mom! I have a new best friend today.”
      Mom: What is her/his name?
      Kid: I don’t know. (moving shoulders in a fashion…as if it is important to know names) πŸ˜€

      This is the story of most kids. Peanut too thinks that everyone is best friend and names are not important. Of course she knows the ones in her class now but the ones she meets at park or at school playground, she never bothers.

      Now I told her to ask name first so when we go shopping and the lady at the scanner smiles or asks something, she immediately asks her name. Ha..ha..ha..

      That is so cute πŸ™‚ They never seem to want to know names! I was a bit worried when I could not get her friends’ names out of her initially πŸ™‚

  20. I can only but account for myself πŸ˜›

    I become ‘friends’ with people pretty quickly πŸ™‚ (while I maintain a very closed circle of really close friends) mainly because where ever I go, I seem to stand out… πŸ™‚

    And it one of habit of mine, to never ask the person their name, for a long time and never realize that.. πŸ˜›

    And as for personal details etc, it inevitably comes up and well I don’t really discriminate based on a person’s background(but I do choose people depending on the way they think) ….

    As for kids , they make really good friends πŸ˜€ πŸ˜€ πŸ˜€

  21. very nice article, sweet and truthful (hence some what sad as to how adult judge freindship, I have one TV show to talk about that, I will when I get a chance.) that is why lyricist of movie ‘dreamgirl’ expressed the same…

    “duniya ke log, kitne achhe hote, bade na hote kash, sare bachche hote….”

  22. Smi, – this is where i write about race from the eyes of a 8 year old.

    he did not talk about color when he was 5 or 6 – he only did when he faced a situation at school.

    Okay, we are talking about US and UK and kids studying outside india.

    Kids in India ( it happens mostly with the girls) face a lot of fair and not-so-fair. they are subtle. – fair n’lovely – was it ? the ad that says – use this cream you will become fair.

    You are so right actually! This fairness bias starts right in the womb, when a mother is told to eat things which ‘guarantee’ (?) a fair child!

    for once indian boys are feeling it too outside india.

  23. Touching post Smitha..I had friends,at different stages of life,of whom i never cared for their caste ,color or intellect.. And maybe thatz why they are dear to me even after years of departing…

    Same here – I never realised that caste and other factors were so important to some people! We had a very cosmopolitan upbringing – so a lot of these things, I realised only at college. Yes, we make friends because of them , their ideas, their views..

  24. smitha..if this is the way you ramble…then ramble on :)….I like the concept of leaving kids to mingle and figure things out on their own too. It grooms them to be of a more friendly nature rather than a shy one.

  25. Wonderful Smitha… πŸ™‚ πŸ™‚

    kids don’t know the differentiation and all… it is the parents/elders who shows them to them….

    glad to know that Poohi enjoying with all her friends πŸ™‚ πŸ™‚

  26. Like someone said babies have the purest of heart, without any impression..sigh if only we can clean our hearts of all the impressions this world has on us. God bless poohi, and “My friends” πŸ˜‰

  27. When I was in LKG and UKG, I never made much friends… I am happy to be alone (even now sometimes), I am very selective about friends and showed this trait even when I was very young… I guess even genes has something to do with our traits…

    Destination Infinity

  28. Kids just accept each other and move on to playing-without going into judgements, questions, doubts-which we as adults get saddled with. So much to learn from them!

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