Tuesday, May 12, 2009

For a Friend

Had a great experience with children in class the other day which i thought i absolutely must document. We are doing myths and mythology as part of our Summer Camp theme. In each session, we share an interesting story from Indian mythology with the kids and have a follow-up activity. In one of the classes i did with the 4-6 year olds, I shared the story of Krishna and Sudama. And of course in my self-righteousness (and indignation at the return-gifts culture of birthday parties!) totally focussed on how Sudama took a simple and yet thoughtful gift for Krishna. At the end of the session, i got each child to make a picture for one's best friend - which one could then gift to this friend. Here's some of the responses by children:

Nidhi - i will make balloons for my didis (and she tells me names of three older children from her apartment complex).
me: Are they your friends Nidhi?
Nidhi: No but if i give them the balloons, they will be!

Shreya (also drawing balloons) - i want to give toys to my friends but i can only draw balloons.

Ruhi - I don't have one best friend - everyone is my friend. I will make gifts for EVERYONE! (Ms. Universe in the making?!)

Nia: (mistaking Ruhi to be lonely, i guess) It's ok Ruhi, you can be my best friend (they've met three days back for the first time!). I will make you a gift and also allow you to come and play with Foster (a dog who she was making a picture for originally)

Sameer: My best friend is Shubham and i will make a gift for him (draws something that looks like a spaceship and finishes coloring it in 3 mins flat). Hey Shubham - here your gift is ready.
Shubham: what is this?
Sameer: This is you (that's when i notice the smile and eyes on the spaceship thingy!)
Shubham: very nice. I will also make a picture of you (makes eyes and smile on the house he was drawing)
Me: i thought your best friend was Sanjana.
Shubham: Yes but now it is Sameer (oh well!)
30 secs later, drawing discarded, these two "best" friends are wrestling in the corner!

Suhrud: (has made quite a detailed picture and done a fairly neat job of colouring it) I was actually making it for (and gives me names of two girls) but i like this picture and they always fight with me. So i am giving this to me. (ah! All's fair in ....!)

Nia: (comes to me) I hope it's ok that you don't have anyone making a picture for you...maybe it's because you only like simple gifts.

So here's the friendship rule book i got to check out as the children shared their world with me that day in class:
Rule # 1 - there is really no concept of "BEST FRIEND".

Rule # 2 - I will offer friendship to whoever is around (and then again it's ok to change my mind)

Rule # 3 - I give you the best thing i can create!

Rule # 4 - I form my relationships not based on how the other person is or treats me, but purely on how i feel about the other person.

Rule # 5 - In the world of friends - there are endless possibilities of relating and giving! So who needs the rule book anyway??!


Anonymous said...

Kudos again for learning from the kids :) It is cool how you can derive both entertainment and wisdom from a job that most would find rather exhausting!


Ashwadhy said...

Interesting observations. Reminds me of the time when it was so much easier to make friends. I agree the priorities are different but that in its own way was satisfying. That's something I find very difficult now, with the continuous travel, and finding newer cliques each time.