A conversation between a 10 year old and her mentor.The mentor knew this 10-year girl child since she was four years old. She had seen her grow up right in front of her eyes with all the innocence. Last few months, due to hectic work schedule, the mentor couldn't check on this 10-year-old child. Today, after many months, she met this child in a common family friend's wedding. When the child saw the mentor she came up running to her and hugged her. The mentor was very happy to see her after so long. She noticed that this kid who was once very bubbly and healthy has become very lean. So lean that her skin was hugging her bones.
What happened in the last few months to her that she lost so much of weight? Below is the conversation between them-
Mentor: What happened dear, you look so lean, is everything alright?
Child: Yeah didi -(this term is used to address by the younger ones for elder sisters in Hindi), with a smile on her face.
Mentor: You don't look fine, you have lost so much of weight. Don't be afraid, you can tell me (Now the mentor put her hands around her shoulder in an affectionate way to assure her that she could share if anything was bothering her)
Child: Didi, I was in hospital last few days, I was not feeling well. I can't eat anything, everything that I eat, I am vomiting. I am very tensed.
(By that time, the child's mother comes, the mentor turns to her and asks)
Mentor: Hi Aunty, How are you? What happened to her?
Mother (In a very worried tone): We have taken her to many hospitals and she is undergoing many treatments but we still don't know what is wrong? She is not able to eat or digest any of the food and it's been more than three months now.
(Mentor thinks in her mind- No wonder she has lost so much of weight). Another lady comes and takes the mother away for some discussion. The mentor is still with the child.
Child: Didi, I am very tensed about my exams. A doctor said I am falling sick because I take so much of tension. Earlier I used to hardly feel any tension about exams, but now I am very afraid of exams, what if I fail?
Mentor: No my child, why are you afraid of failing? What will happen if you fail? Don't be afraid of exams, just give your best.
Child: No Didi, what if I will fail? Then my dad will beat me, my parents won't talk to me for many days. Moreover, my tuition teacher keeps scolding me every day, she speaks very rudely, she says if I don't study well I will become a beggar. She also said that if I don't study well I will be a headache to my parents. I am not getting good marks in exams. I feel like I am a waste. Sometimes I feel that why did God create me? Was I born to trouble my parents? I sometimes feel like hanging myself so that everyone will be very happy.
(She said this non-stop, her eyes were looking down on the floor)
Mentor: My dear, first of all, don't think you are a waste. God has created you with a purpose. Your parents love you much more than anyone else. They won't be happy if you hang yourself. It will hurt them deeply. Don't worry about failing in your exams. Even if you fail, it's no big deal. We can again write the exam and clear it. Don't carry it as a burden in your heart. Don't take it to heart when your elders or parents scold you, they do it because they love you so much.
Saying so, mentor hugged her and said, 'everyone loves you, don't think you are a failure'! By that time her mother and father comes. She waves goodbye to the mentor with a smile and a glow in her face.
Now, this is not a fictional conversation but a real one that took place between me and that child. We may feel that the life of kids is very easy but it is not. Even they find it hard, they struggle to understand what things are. They lose all the hope when elders burst on them, even if it is for their good. They may find it hard to understand and may not be able to deal with it.
So today, try to have a friendly conversation with your wards, let them know that you are there for them no matter what. That assurance is more than enough for them to face every struggle.