Quality Time With the Children
by Vaman Acharya
(Bengaluru, Karntaka, India)
“Sarita, it is already 6 pm and you are lying on the bed. Please get up and be ready. There is no point in making further delay to attend first birth day party of my close friend’s son,” said Mahesh to his wife.
“Mahesh, I'm not well. You may attend the party,” replied Sarita.
“What is the problem?”
“Your friend is more important to you than your wife.”
“Tell me Sarita, what happened to you, today?” Mahesh was curious.
“You always make promises and then forget about them.” Sarita took few moments to reply.
“I don’t remember the promise.”
“If you don’t remember, leave me alone,” said his wife.
Their twelve year old daughter Bhama was with her two friends and listening to her parent’s conversation. She had invited her friends to spend some time with her. Bhama was upset for the disturbance created by her parents. All these girls were residing in the Pragathi colony, Pavanpur town.
“Dad, what is this? I feel too bad that both of you are in a conversation as if one is a culprit and another is the cause for it. Why this misunderstanding? Please cancel your programme and spend some time with us.” Bhama was serious.
Bhama was a pretty, lovable daughter to her parents. She was a cute and sharp minded girl. She never put unreasonable demands to her parents. It was a surprise for them to hear such a remark from their daughter.
“Bhama, I am extremely sorry. My intention is not to hurt your feelings. You know our nature. The purpose of our conversation is to create humorous situation,” said her mom.
“Sarita is right to defend herself. I too express sorry for what has happened. Bhama, tell me what do you want from us?” asked Mahesh with much concern.
Mahesh was a Branch Manager of a local bank. His wife Sarita was a teacher in the local High school. After coming over from their offices, they used to enter into a conversation, which others feel as a fighting between them. But in reality, it was not a dispute or difference of opinion.
Bhama wanted to spend some time along with her parents in the company of her friends. All these girls were studying in 5th standard in Model Higher Primary School, Pavanpur. Her mom had suggested to play Antakshari
. Dad's suggestion was to cut humorous jokes one by one.
Bhama and her friends did not agree to these activities.
“Bhama, do you want to spend some quality time?” asked her father.
"Quality time? what is it?" asked Bhama with great interest.
He smiled. “Quality time does not always mean spending lot of time together; it means, according to me, spending time that means something purposeful. Take for instance, at the meal time just ask the children in brief about their activities in the school. If the vacation is coming shortly, plan for a trip to a place of attraction. Apart from these, read good books, draw a colour picture of your choice, play market place (bank), neatly dress up, put a talent show, puzzle, questions on general knowledge, go for ‘walk n talk’, teach how to cook, go to park for picnic, visit temples, visit grand parents and play hide and seek etc.”
“What about hobbies and sports?" asked Bhama’s friend Vinuta.
“Yes! The activities I mentioned are hobbies and sports. These are the most important part of the quality time. We have to encourage our children for such activities,” said Mahesh gazing at Vinuta.
“Who received the first Dada Saheb Phalke Award?” asked Navya, Bhama’s another friend, who was listening the discussion with great interest.
There was a silence for some time. Nobody was in a position to answer.
Vinuta raised her hand to reply, with excitement.
“If you know, please answer," said Sarita.
“Devika Rani was the first recipient of the prestigious award. She was a cine actress of yester years.”
“Whose maximum songs (both film and non-film) recorded in India?” asked Bhama.
Mahesh wanted to answer this question.
“Lata Mangeshkar has so far sung more than thirty thousand solo, duet and chorus in 20 Indian languages,” said Mahesh.
Sarita wanted to say something about quality time. She said, “Mahesh has already given you an exhaustive list and I would like to add few more. Waking up early in the morning is good for the children and gets ample time. You can interact with the friends on new subjects like current affairs, latest development in science and technology. It would boost the knowledge of children. Let the child choose the quality time not the elders. Spending quality time will pave the way for child’s development and bright future.”
Mahesh appreciated his wife with a secret smile.
“In spite of our busy schedule, spare some time with the children. It strengthens bonds between the parents and children. Turn off television and stop attending to phone calls, when busy with the children,” added Mahesh.
Bhama and her friends were happy to spend quality time for about one hour with the elders. Both the girls expressed thanks to Bhama and her parents.
Before returning home, Vinuta and Navya invited Bhama to visit their homes on next convenient day to continue about quality time.