Golu at four years four months in my front garden
Got back from my trip that included many assorted things including, most recently, spending three weeks with my grandson Golu. He is 4yrs and 4 months now and loves flowers and gardening like me. He planted a few new flowers in my garden and has now gone to his village with his mother, with instructions for me to water his plants everyday.  It was portulaca he planted that is good for the summer heat that is still on here in Jaipur but we expect cooling monsoons soon. This brief update has a recent pic of Golu. His pics when he was much younger are elsewhere in this blog. I have had the pleasure to share some in his upbringing ever since he was three months old. The little rock collection behind him and plants were arranged by Shyamu, Golu's father. I filled the empty space in front of the rockery with clover like oxalis because it grows so easily and never fails to delight with its tiny blooms and happy green leaves. In winters there is spinach too between the oxalis. We use baby spinach leaves as a salad. Golu's portulaca patch is just to the left of the oxalis patch and not in this photo. I shall take a picture of that after the patch fills up and the portulaca blooms.

I am kind of introducing him to the same things that were delightful in my childhood - begin with blocks at age one then at age four the board game - snakes and ladders ( it is simple and has numbers to teach)  just a bit of coloring, a few of the alphabet, not all for sure, why hurry? A few numbers, gardening, manners like please and thank you; basics like washing hands before meals, good eating habits without spilling, a little daily prayer between bath and breakfast;  age 5 - origami, age 6 - Ludo, Mecano at 7, cricket at 10, chess at 12;  hoping for age seven on story books too- lots of Enid Blyton stories beginning with Noddy and ending with Fatty, at appropriate ages till fifteen - and  no computer or video games until teen years for sure; limited TV for cartoons and Animal planet that he loves now and will just not let me watch the news when it is his viewing time ( no more than an hour in the evening) and of course fun and play all the way along with love of truth and not hurting animals, insects and feeding birds that he already loves. And there has got to be hiking and swimming a few years away although he has done a bit of the former already with me in the Himalayas. With the grace of the lord he has turned out to be a good and brisk walker like me as I used to be at four according to my mother who often said that I walked up all the way from Tali Tal to Tiffin Top in Nainital at four without getting tired.

The job of an elder is only to introduce a child to an activity they feel might be good for them. If the child pursues it or not depends eventually on circumstance and their own interests. As they make friends in school they will find other contemporary activities and one has to watch which of those is worth encouraging further and which worth discouraging but everything can be done as a friend only not through pressure. Each human is an individual who has to be allowed to live his or her own life as the Lord has meant for him or her, be it for good or bad. A loving elder can only pray for the best for those they love not bray for it.

UPDATE  7 JUNE 2013 : Last evening and night the first pre-monsoon showers of the season arrived and it is refreshingly cool and free of dust in Jaipur this morning. Soon we expect dusty roadsides, open grounds and gardens to turn into delghtful green. Praise the Lord!


Nurturing Childhood...
Nurturing Nature...
What else one needs to do in this life?
ashok said…
Thanks Hari and surprisingly these are the simplest and easiest things to do that create no strain or expense and just return joy. I think the universe has kept the best things in life including love free of cost for all life.
ashok said…
It is things that cost after fighting and acquiring money for them that produce the most pain.
Rebb said…
What a lovely, lovely blog and photo, Ashok. Just mentioned reading story books at seven. Do you read Golu picture/story books currently?
ashok said…

Hi good to hear from you Rebb and thanks a lot for appreciating. Your words mean much.

No not yet reading story books to him yet, did not get the time for that because he goes off to bed with his dad after dinner. Three of us share his day, his mom, me and his dad when we are all together.

but yes he insists I sit by his side as he watches the cartoon channel/animal planet every evening from 4.30 to 5.30 and he has a million questions through the program that are like story telling. But thanks for reminding me, we shall see if we can fit that in

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