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#DoYourHomework, Diary of a Doting Mom, Shailaja V

The word homework has never had a very positive connotation for as long as I can remember. The phrase, ‘Do your Homework’ has caused more tears to erupt than any tantrum in the history of childhood and parenting; probably because it’s got the word ‘work’ in it.

So you cannot blame kids when they choose to dawdle over it, put it off and maybe completely turn away from doing it too. Homework sessions at home for the last few years have been challenging, to put it mildly and every strategy I’ve tried has come up short until recently, although I have done a lot of reading on the subject.

So it was with some relief that we welcomed the Christmas vacation as it signalled a time when we could be relatively free of the homework struggles.In late December, we took a family trip to our native village in Palakkad, Kerala. The occasion wasn’t a festive one, sadly, as we were gathering to bid farewell to Gy’s great-grandmother who’d left us  that month. After the ceremonies, an elderly uncle who’d been observing Gy over the entire trip called me over and said something which warmed my heart.

“Gy is a bright child and I don’t mean that in the academic or educational sense. She has a sense of wonder and creativity that will take her far. You are blessed to be a mother of a child like her. Never forget that.” Before I could say anything in response, he continued, “You must nurture this talent of hers. Find out what she likes to do and encourage her. I personally can sense that she has an artisitic side to her and know of many good design schools where she’d feel right at home.”

I’ve never been at a loss for words much in my life, to be honest, considering I’ve made my living as a teacher and now as a blogger/writer. But this sincere wish from one who’s only seen Gy once in a few years touched my heart. I’ve also never been one to plan way ahead of my immediate needs, although checklists rule my life and my daily tasks. 

This got me thinking, though, have I ever given serious thought to doing my homework and plan for the child’s future? It was with some interest that I saw this video on the #DoYourHomework campaign. I must say the title intrigued me, for the simple reason that homework has never been associated with anything fun or motivating. Take a couple of minutes and watch it. You won’t be disappointed, I promise!

When I realised that it was targeted at the parents and not the child, it made me sit up and view it with more attention. I also wondered if perhaps it would make sense to download the Homework app and use some of the tips suggested there.

A few weeks ago, I watched Gy as she threw all her interest and focus into making a quilled creation and for someone like me, a person who frankly is scared of anything art-related, it was an epiphany of sorts. She loves colouring books too, like any child her age. Here was a child with so much potential, if only I knew how to tap it and channelize that into something positive. Let’s face it, things are expensive these days and it helps to be prepared, financially, for anything that the world can throw our way.

I really can’t say what my child will grow up to be, five, ten or fifteen years from now. We cannot claim to foresee our children’s aspirations. That’s something nobody can predict, of course. Plus, dreams change very often these days, sometimes every single day. 

The few things we can do, as parents, is to ensure that they have a secure nest egg which will help them achieve whichever dream they choose to pursue once they’ve made up their minds and stand by those decisions when the time comes.