Embracing Our Child’s Passion

Art and craft has always been my passion. As a new mom, I could not wait for my little angel to dabble in paint, scribble with crayons and dirty his hands with glue. I somehow assumed that art activities would be a cheerful pass-time for both of us. It did not take me long to realize that this was not what held my son’s interest.

To his Daddy’s delight, our son’s first love was cars and second was bat-ball games. But since I was the one at home, the responsibility of playing with him was primarily on my shoulders. To add to this, we had to move to the USA when my son was 3 years. Stuck indoors during the long severe winters, I had to find ways that would constructively engage him as well as make him happy. Along with my little one, I tried inventing new games for cars – making rafts with cardboard, city roads with blocks, construction site with flour and grains and so on. This satisfied my creative instincts as well as got his inquisitive mind working for new ideas.

But as he started growing older, sports became the centre of his world. My husband started spending most of his free time playing some sport with him, mostly cricket. How could I be a mere spectator during these daily games at home? So I decided to set foot in the field myself. Not having seriously played any sport before, my bowling and batting actions were quite amusing. But they did bring a lot of cheer to our little team. At times, the mom in me could not help using the score-board to teach some counting as well. Our little family pass-time soon became popular. We once received a note from my son’s teacher telling us how he excitedly talks about cricket in class and has also shown her different bowling styles. Cricket being a new game to American children, she even invited my husband to take a cricket session for the class.

After returning to our cricket crazy country, my son could easily weave his way in the society’s cricket matches. My husband too took every opportunity to join in. When we thought that he was ready to take up formal coaching, some cricket experts advised us that he was still too young for cricket. Having played Table Tennis himself, my husband decided to try out this sport for our son. Initially, our intention was to give him a feel of coaching and get him started on some sport. But he started relishing this game as well. Our little practice at home must have somewhat improved his reflexes, so he was able to hit the feather light TT ball too. When his coaches embarked on crucial techniques, it took him more than a year to get his moves right. But he showed great perseverance and never gave up. Today, along with cricket we also play TT at home. The floor substitutes for the table and a long toy truck substitutes for the net. We have to squat to play but nothing comes in the way of true passion.

We do not know how far our son will pursue his love for sports. But what we do know is that each of us has gained a lot from embracing his passion. My son, now 8 years old, has learnt important values like fair play, appreciation and team spirit. Besides, the pleasure he gets from teaching his mom some basics and dad some fine tricks in a sport, is immeasurable. His daddy has found a great way of relaxing and picking up on his own passion as well. Trivial issues that earlier clouded discussion at home are now replaced by talks on teams, players and strategies, not only in cricket and TT, but many other sports. Not only did sports closely bond us as a family but has brought us close to many more like minded families who are now great friends. As for me, I still can’t differentiate a leg-break from a googly or a top-spin from a forehand push…but I have begun to enjoy sports and cheering together with my family is the peak of my happiness.

By Amita V. Samant

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