Recently, a couple of months ago to be precise there was this contest for kids in TIA, a virtual place close to my heart and like everything else that happens there, it has left a deep impression on me. For the first time ever, after about 3 yrs. of being a part of it, I took part in it, basically it had something to do with the kids and I HAD to do it..
To me, personally this contest was a revelation in many ways. When it was announced, I wanted to do this for Sreya, to make a part of this beautiful virtual world that has always been there for me as the support and motivation that I got from some unexpected corners has been and is really amazing.
No offense to any kiddie contest but only fair, bubbly, chubby kids take the cake and that used to bother me a lot, what are we passing on to our kids that looks do matter and color and features are what make you a winner or the top scorer or something like that. I kind of hated these contests because they allow you only one vote with so many angels. In such events, kids are just objects moulded by mothers, they get them ready, they take the pictures, they teach stuff, it is like there is nothing really until at least the kid is around 5 yrs. old or more. It is more a contest for mothers, in my personal opinion.
I had never really thought much about it, like everything else had this fixed opinion that this is something to be banned :).. why the hell should these kids compete for looks or concept or whatever when it is actually the parents who are competing.
But what I learnt is that no matter how much we shield the kids, the world out there is competitive. If I shield the kid and fight for right to be recognized irrespective of color, skin/hair texture, body type, etc. it is enough... no, it just is not.. comparisons are bound to be there everywhere and there are quite a lot of insensitive people out there who make looks, even of the kids, a big issue. I am escaping from it all by just ignoring stuff.
This contest has made me look into myself from a different perspective. I cant stand something happening, how will I tackle the emotions if I see the same biased voting, etc. but then as I thought about it things fell into place, I was afraid, afraid of being a loser, afraid of facing those tiny faces who I cant really vote but love with all the heart and a whole lot of other emotions which had nothing to do with the contest per se.. being scared of something and not attempting it or banning it is not the solution.. just go ahead and try it out, leave the result, put in your best efforts... a thing of beauty is joy for everyone and that is how the world outside is... BUT it is the mom's job to ensure the kid gets beauty from within, features are just not in our hands!!!!
I was torn about voting as my kid was in it and I had to vote her as I cannot let her down.. I am HER MOTHER after all, I have to stand by her no matter who else did or did not.. that was my thought process... All through this I was thinking that I was doing the right thing, I was being a good mother, I was being there for her.. you know, that self-appreciating habit of me the super good mother.... the final touch came in the form of another mom, who taught me something else.. the joy of giving..
Her kid was in the contest too and unlike me who taught it the duty to stand by my daughter, she waited for a while until the end of the contest date, checked all the votes and voted for the kid who was voted the least... winning or losing did not mean anything to me there, it was participation that was the key but there was a whole lot of difference in the perspective. I liked her approach lot and appreciated it a lot more... that it is a lesson for my life... I could have done the same and explained the reason to the kid for doing so rather than just blindly standing by her because I should not let her down. Such tiny gestures are the sign of BIGHEARTEDNESS. To me, she has not let her kid down, she lifted someone else's spirit which is the beauty of it all..
CHAITU.. Yes, this is you and the post is for you :). I know you will surely be reading this. It is a long pending post but I had to put it to words, a valuable lesson not just in parenting but about being humane.
PS: It was secret voting, but the number of votes were visible... we were just talking when she told me in passing.