Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Opening a Pandora's Box

Sometimes children tend to open your mind to issues you’ve never given a thought to before.

The other day, I was taking the kids to their Day Care, while the building sweeper, who also collects the garbage from our apartment, was doing his job.

Made Oorja exclaim, “Mama, DID THAT UNCLE WANT TO BECOME A SWEEPER?

Suddenly shaken out of the jumble of what-I-have-to-do today, the-people-I-have-to-call, appointments to fix etc cluttering my mind, I was dumbfounded and muttered, “I don’t know dear.”

But why did he become a sweeper? Does he like handling garbage?”

For the past few weeks, we have been talking a lot about 'What I'd like to be when I grow up'. So she could not fathom why he would WANT to be a sweeper.

Thankfully, there's some time before she realises the compulsions of "doing" something that we may not necessarily "like" or "want".

I also felt a trifle guilty. She believed that garbage collecting was a menial job..one that would not necessarily make the person doing it, happy or satisfied. There is an element of truth in the latter part.

But as parents we are very careful to avoid expressing disdain for any job. We clean our bathrooms, clean our car, sweep/swab/do the dishes etc when the maid is away…anything and everything that should not make them feel that any job is below their dignity. How did our daughter end up with this impression????

On the other hand, I met a lady who believes that rag picking should also be banned by Civic authorities. "If we produce the garbage, we should also be responsible for disposing it. Why should we expect someone else to clean our muck for us?" But then, what does that do for the livelihood of such people? Too many perspectives to the same issue.

At the moment, I know that I am immensely gratified at Oorja's thought process and I hope she continues to 'think' and after she grows up, becomes a 'doer' of concrete actions as well.

Amen.

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