LISTENING TO THE UNSPOKEN X IN KID CHATS!
The small boy in this family—a ball of compressed energy at 5! — loves to chat with me daily without fail sometime before he sinks off into a sleep in company with his favorite characters in illustrated stories he lays his hands upon for reading quietly in a corner of any room, without seeking any assistance from his usually accessible Mom. (This happens to be a habit he sedulously aped from his own Dad whose reading speed is nothing short of phenomenal.)
This afternoon he told me with sparking gleeful eyes that he is as strong as the Hulk, the Batman, Super man and the Joker all together. He added that he can lift a 7 kg heavy mixer grinder and break any stick with his bare hands too.
I was all ears for what he did not give voice to, however, but which he wished to project to me, his maternal Grandpa and pet.
Two distinct and discrete inferences could be drawn from what he actually said:
- “I have, as my role models for physical strength, these characters who are born go getters and livewire persons. I would like to be as strong as they are shown as”
- “I love to read about these persons and their secrets behind their extraordinary strength. Whether its Taekwondo or Soccer, I would like to use my strength to get my way too—like what they do in their realms of activity!”
This boy happens to be extremely good at assembling LEGO bricks and building blocks to make various kinds of vehicle designs but what is most conspicuous about all of them –about 1200 of them this far, counting from his 2nd birthday or so!—is that most of them (Forget the Dumpers, Loaders, trucks and tractors!) have many flashing or flood lights for 360 degree illumination, some deadly weapons fitted on them and also have policemen guarding them.
In the larger vehicle LEGO models, sleeping facilities have also been provided in a congested space!
Through coming out with dozens of variations on this basic theme, the boy is actually suggesting these:
- “Dear grown-ups, perhaps you haven’t noticed it in the hurly burly of your life pace but to me this world is a most violent place. All vehicles must necessarily be fitted with some means of safety and self-protection from human beings.”
- “Darkness is when all these bad things tend to happen. So if I were a vehicle designer I would give top priority to every vehicle having a facility to provide clear light all around it so the driver can detect anyone about to shoot at the vehicle or pelt stones at it!”
Speaking seriously, dear friends, this habit of listening to what children actually tell you with excited eyes and then analyzing what they said in the light of what they did not say is a most useful brain exercise plus the satisfaction of getting an inkling of what the kid actually wants to do in the course of his life on Earth!
I don’t think many parents and elder siblings spare time to listen to younger kids under their roofs in this manner, which means they may or shall make grievous mistakes at times in guiding the kids towards the career or line of activity that the kids have always longed to espouse!
This skill is known as Talent Spotting.
Outside India all school teachers –beginning with teachers of kindergarten kids–are trained to do this with remarkable success rate. At year end they normally prepared the kid for formal graduation and promotion to the next level but also invite the parents and present them with a 4 to 5 page long Personality Analysis certificate.
This document (issued with many signatures of the authorities plus the school seal) details the key traits, the predominant trait in the kid, normal or abnormal in some way, oddities, habits, school acceptance level, basic temperament, probable future career etc.
Last year the school predicted with near certainty that the kid, then barely 4, has an extra liking for mathematics, that he is basically engineer material and may be an unusually foresighted architect or professional engineer of some kind.(Of course he loves to draw pictures of all kinds in his evenings!)
This prediction is proving to be right this year with the kid having a habit of describing anything with some mathematical measurements included in it, and also plying the person he is chatting with, with dozens of test items on addition, subtraction, and multiplication. He insists on getting an answer too, but ONLY the correct answer on all occasions.
”You are an adult, dear Grandpa”, he says with child-like insistence,” and so you can’t expect any mercy from me here! You don’t have the authority to tell me the wrong answers!”
Then he goes on to ask me questions and then answers them wrongly—and expects me to give him the right answer instead!
He loves to dribble his soccer ball at home too nowadays and his mom admits with a gentle smile that she can’t take this any longer with this high energy guy doing something good all the time!
“Aap Kon Hey? I query him, at the end of my tether with a laugh,”Kidhar sey aa gayey hey hamaare family mein? Hum ko jeeney deejiye jee!”
He laughs (b/coz he doesn’t understand this tongue) and runs away to read!
Now you know our only successor!