3 Things I tell my niece as she starts school today
Today, when Aadya ( my niece) and Lakshmi ( her mom) started off for the first day of what would mark the start of a 14 year journey, I wished Lachu ( the mom) “All the Best” 🙂
For Aadya, I have 3 pieces of “guidelines” to navigate this quagmire called life ( I still don’t care much for “advise” — and it’s safe to assume she wouldn’t either)
1. Educate yourself to learn and change
I genuinely don’t care about your future test scores. I promise never to ask how much your friends scored ( & will not let your Mom ask too). But my hope and prayer for you is that you never stop learning.
Embrace every opportunity that teaches you something.
I hope the teacher, whom we “hand you over” to today, teaches you HOW to learn and not just teach you the lessons by rote.
I hope the “education” you receive allows you to keep an open mind & equips you with tools to analyze and decide for yourself.
I hope you are made able to recognize and reject prejudices
And I hope that education gives you room to acknowledge that there is so much more we don’t know — and may be never will.
As Will Durant says, “Education is a progressive discovery of our own ignorance”
2. Be healthy
Now this one comes under the heading, “I screwed up… I hope you don’t”
Your Pappa will inspire you to dream BIG, your Momma will give you the strength & confidence to follow your dreams, but you can do yourself and the world around you a lot of good — ONLY if you are healthy.
There is no guarantee in life but staying healthy helps you deal with whatever curveball life throws at you.
(Sorry Aadya — There is no getting out of eating your veggies 😛 )
3. Be Kind
During one of our story sessions, I asked you if you understood what “being poor” meant. With all the wisdom and clarity of thought, only a 3 year old can posses, you said, “Children who do not have IPAD and You Tube, are poor”.
Thanks to a combination of values from your family and normal genetic disposition, I have witnessed you express generosity to people whom you recognize as having “lesser than you”.
I hope this spirit never dies.
But remember, it is not just the financially poor who deserves your kindness.
The friend who sits besides you in class, the “Nanny” at school, your Mom — everyone requires kindness. They may not always show that or know how to ask, but trust me, this world needs a lot more kindness.
Call it compassion, empathy or what you will, if I wish one thing for you today, it is to retain the “Kindness of Soul” you are born with.
I love you, my child. Stay Blessed!
– From your Ammu ( her short version for “Ammayi”/aunt) who will always always be your biggest cheerleader!