Saturday, November 8, 2014

A healthy child makes a happy family

I live in a city where most homes have atleast one NRI in the family and  also  in  this  city  most students from class 5 go to coaching institutes or tutorials for professional studies. Many even go to tuitions from PP1.(nursery)

Most kids who go to IIT/medical coaching get down from their school bus, refresh themselves and then hop onto a regularly hired auto or the Institute's van to travel to that most advertised and famous coaching( read by rote learning) institute which claims to qualify children in the entrances to premier institutes and there are plenty such commercial coaching institutes in my city which compete with each other. The children  travel in the traffic only to  return back like Zombies in the night. Many a times, they miss their regular school next day due to overwork and health issues like lack of sleep or improper diet. They absolutely have zero physical exercise in the form of games or sports.

In such a city, there are few families like mine which does not believe in private tuitions at such early ages. Those parents  have even asked whether we don't intend to educate them in the premier institutes subjecting us to peer pressure  or some want to know if we tutor them at home.

To be honest, we have never had the necessity to tutor them (may be on occasions) but yes we have guided them.

First, as parents we have never believed in the rat race and we are not preparing them for it. Secondly, our idea of education is not just scoring marks and ranks although we don’t tell  our children  this. Thirdly, thankfully till today we have never buckled to peer pressure and admitted them in any of the tuitions. Fourthly, we have reasonably traditionally intelligent children who can manage on their own with their  systematic regular school tutoring and mentoring.

 A healthy and energetic child which goes to school regularly has an alert mind, concentrates in class and comes home to recall all that is done through homework, correlates it with real life and visualize wherever necessary, the concepts gets embedded in their memory. The application oriented homework further strengthens the concepts.

  As parents, we have always believed that  apart from values, general problem solving capacities, decision making, analytical & logical skills, thinking skills, communication skills, life skills, etc are the results of a good education and that is learnt through school, home and external exposure  and not through the money spinning coaching institutes.

What is important is to have a healthy child and as a parent it is our duty to nurture and nourish one. 

That is the principle which has worked for us  but to keep them healthy was quite a task initially. As children with just 2.6 years apart, both of them have been cross infected many a times during their infancy. Those periods were easily the tough times as a parent, especially when both the children fall sick.

Thankfully, those days,  I  had experienced elders in the family who have raised many children to advice me. They guided me to help build their immune system through time-tested practices like weekly and monthly administrations of kashayams( herbal teas) like “inji sorasam”(ginger), “oma sorasam”( ajwain), home made regular food which had immune boosters like vepampoo( neem flowers), haldi, mustard, cumin, jeera, nellikai( gooseberry) etc, Apart from that, good rest, exercise in the form of games, seasonal vegetables,fruits and good hygiene helped them to keep fit and healthy during their early years(0-8).

As they grew older, they developed a taste for global cuisine and refused to follow the old ritualistic diet and drink the kashayams. Moreover, they had also grown old enough to overcome those cross infections. Now, I too allowed variety in their diet and so cheesy pasta, burgers,nachos, manchurians, noodles  etc., did make way into our house, in a way this also morphed them and me into great(?) chefs. It was also at this time when they were around 8 and 5+, I introduced them to a spoonful of  “Dabur’s Chywanprash”( especially winters)which took care of their immunity and strength. All these have kept them going healthy and strong. Thankfully due to which they have never missed their school sessions and so could avoid extra pressure in the form of private tuitions.

Our children are our pride and joy. Subjecting  them to constant study and competitive pressure does sap their energy and make them physically and mentally sick . It is important to nourish and nurture them with love and care because a healthy child is a happy child and a happy child makes a happy family. 

 Also, in this context i quote a poem which i followed in my parenting to raise my kids as healthy kids.

“Do not ask your children
to strive for extraordinary lives.
Such striving may seem admirable,
but it is the way of foolishness.
Help them instead to find the wonder
and the marvel of an ordinary life.
Show them the joy of tasting
tomatoes, apples and pears.
Show them how to cry
when pets and people die.
Show them the infinite pleasure
in the touch of a hand.
And make the ordinary come alive for them.
The extraordinary will take care of itself.”

William Martin


  1. Excellent post. We never pushed our children to be the number one in School and go to premier institutions. We wanted to raise healthy and good (character) children. Education is important but not that is the only thing in life. If everyone wants to go to IIT and medical and become engineers and doctors, then who will do the other jobs? If everyone wants to travel in a chauffeur driven car, who is going to be the chauffeur?

    1. Glad to know that you are not a pushy parent SG. True, Education is important but not the only thing in life. Thank you.

  2. Very thought provoking post.I fully agree that children should not be over burdened with tutions, extra classes etc.

    1. Thanks ma'am. Value your comment especially coming from a senior and an experienced educationist, you would know better about education and burden on children.

  3. A very good and very relevant post in the present time. I fully agree with your views.

    1. Thank you Rama. Glad to know that you agree with the views here.

  4. What an excellent, excellent post! I admire, respect and salute you for holding your ground w.r.t parenting and not following the herd. I grew up exactly like you described - my mom was my primary tutor outside of school and I never went for tuitions. Healthy, simple, homemade meals and ample time for play and rest was provided. We travelled quite a bit as well and books were my best friend. I only hope to do what my parents did for me - if not more. Its a challenge, especially as we are choosing to raise them in a foreign land, but certainly doable.

    1. Thank you Shachi for the words of appreciation. True, i too agree books are man's best friend, philosopher and guide. My cousins too have raised wonderful kids in Atlanta & NJ living there for the past 25 years, so its certainly doable. Good luck to you.

  5. A wonderfully written post, Asha! Agree with your parenting style. We dont believe in being a part of the rat race for IITs/PMTs and have never given in to the peer pressure too. It is really sad to see most kids so overburdened with school and tutions from morn till night! These kids are losing out in enjoying the most beautiful phase of life - childhood!

    1. Glad to know our parenting style is same as yours, shilpa. More power to our style of parenting:)

  6. Very nice article. As per my opinion as I notice around me the children have completely forgotten about playings and games as they are packed with so many tutions. The main fact is tution can never make a kid become first in the class rather he or she should get enough free time to make the brain stable. Y do the guardians do not understand their child....?