Children are like clay

clay in potter's hands 2

Children are like clay; the environment moulds them. Naturally when a baby is born, they are without knowledge of the numerous ‘how to’s’.  For instance, when a baby is born, he/she comes into the world, unable to speak. With time, they pick up the words they hear around them, and as they grow they learn to verbalize their emotions. For instance, if a baby is raised in a family where expletives are used a lot, he will use them even when he’s not so sure what they mean.

A conversation I had with my sisters made me realize that most of the things I do are just a slight modification of what I learnt as a kid.

My sisters and I started walking down that familiar road to the past. Our conversation was just a normal one, talking about one of our uncles’ birthday party, which we’ve been invited to. It’s a rare gesture from our relatives because since I can remember we’ve always had a strained relationship with them. I’ve referred to the genesis of that beef in some previous posts.

When we received the invitation, we just said we’d take a rain check. It’s a party which will be held this coming Sunday and honestly it wouldn’t take much effort for us to avail ourselves, but the nature of the relationship we have with them makes it one of those things one has to seriously mull over before jumping on the band wagon.

Earlier in the day I asked mom if she’ll be going but she wasn’t so forthcoming about it. Actually her reply was more like a retort. She, in her own words, felt bothered that we would contemplate going to such a luxurious event when her own mother-our grandma-is admitted in hospital. She got admitted today and the issue has had mom stressed up all day because the doctors said she was seriously ill. She thought we were being insensitive, but truth is we were only trying to distract her so she would atleast stop worrying about her mom too much.

While discussing the issue with my sisters, we started recounting some similar events from the past. As I’ve mentioned before in previous posts, this beef with our relatives didn’t just start recently; it started when my mom got married to dad. When my cousins and I were born, the beef hadn’t been settled yet; our parents passed the beef down to our generation. We’ve always treated each other with meticulous caution; in most cases it just feels like we’re perfects strangers; we hardly keep in touch during the year, so when we hook up for our annual get-togethers, that’s when we start acquainting ourselves with what others have been up to. Honestly I find that little set-up mind-numbing.

Mom’s reaction didn’t come as a shock to me. Chances are, even if grams wasn’t sick, she would still have found a valid excuse to sit out this party . She’s done that so many times before. While recounting some of those instances, we opened the flood gates to our past and we moved from one thing to another. The conversation made me realize that kids are shaped by their environment; the beliefs I have today, I acquired them as a child; most of the habits I have today, both good and bad, I acquired while still a child. I grew up of course, but what I learnt as a child has stuck. I realized it’s difficult to change the things we learnt as children, because those are some of the first things our minds captured. One would need to undergo major reprogramming to change them.

When we were small, mom made us stay in the house a lot; at the time it felt like the best option given the circumstances, and as we grew up the habit stuck. I’m not very okay with the idea of just staying in, but high chances are if I’m not out on appointments, running errands, etc. I’ll be in the house taking part in some indoor activity. I can’t say it’s boring, but it does feel monotonous at times. The worst part is even when I decide to break the monotony, go out and have fun, I end up feeling like staying in would have been the best option.

I attribute this to the fact that when growing up we were made to believe it was the right thing; from what I’ve realized, it will take a lot of will power to break the wont. This is just one of the many things I still do that I learnt when I was a child.

With this in mind, I’d love to believe that children should be handled with so much care. The lessons we impart to them determine the kind of lives they lead when they grow up. If a child grows in an environment that makes them so afraid, chances are they’ll grow up into fainthearted adults. Ergo, if one wants their child to have some certain qualities, they should instill in them those qualities while they are still small, because when they grow up it becomes difficult to shape them.

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