Friday, February 17, 2012

Sleepy thoughts.. quite overdue

When I was little, I had mild (self-diagnosed) aquaphobia - I used to cry on boat rides, even in knee dip water. I remember constantly feeling like the boat would tip and I would drown. I'm not exactly sure when this left me, but, I remember enjoying boat rides at about 14 years of age. I would dip my toes in water and lie the deck, watching the sky as it passed me by. In terms of swimming - when I was 10, ma tried to teach me to swim in the traditional method - throwing me in the water and pretending to drown so that I would come and save her. All I remember from that particular experience is feeling a deep terror and crying on the shore of the pond at nanu's place. Then when we came to Sydney, I was forced to attempt to learn swimming through school sports until about year 7. I was glad to get out of those classes with any excuses I could get my hands on, and was very relieved when the year was finally over!

Recently, due to my new-found (more like lost and re-found, repeatedly) interest in my health, I researched into what my optimal exercise would be. A combination of cardio and strength training are best. Swimming seemed to have gotten the best comments in terms of cardio, so, over the next few months, I bought a swimming costume, found a cheap convenient pool and a friend who was willing to drive me there and teach me. After spending two hours, I finally learnt how to keep myself floating and flap all four limbs in a fairly correct way (although breathing was still a problem). On my second day, I swam about 3/4th of the way through the pool (alhamdulillah!!). So, I think I can finally say - I know how to swim!! Although I'm not entirely sure if the fear is completely gone. I still have to make sure I swim in the end aisle so that I can hold on to the sides any time I want to.

What made this last attempt to learn different from the previous ones is that it was completely out of my own will. This is important, because while it is impossible for our society to function if we all waited until we wanted to do something, our society will cease to function if we just did everything because someone is forcing us. The balance is usually acquired when one grows up (yes, we are babied enough to not strike a balance... even at 30). But from my studies, I found that its best if this is practised on children as well. Children need to be strictly disciplined, but they need to feel loved enough to want to do what their parents are hoping they do.

What I found while tutoring children is that the parents who are conscientious and organised enough to keep a track of their kids' school work, friends and other important details, raise disciplined kids who are armed with skills they need as an adult. But parents who treat their kids like adults (ie: letting them do whatever they want) usually see a negative effect. This is common sense, yes, but it was such a wake up call for me. It made me realise, yet again, how much of a hard work it is to be a mother. Just the other day, my mum was describing her ordeal of settling into Australia in her 40s, starting life all over again. I found myself thinking that if I was in her position, I would probably kick up my heels and flee! (I am hoping I never will be in the tough positions she was in, and that I never run away from my kids :P.)

One of my favourite people in the world (EE, who also happens to be the mother of five beautiful children, the youngest of whom is less than a week old; the eldest three are my students) said that she keeps going because she feels that if she does not give the rights that her kids deserve, she will be accountable for it. I found this to be quite a helpful insight, because, we always hear scholarly lectures about how we should treat our parents, but not many people reinforce the gravity of the parent's job. In fact, this point of view can be applied in every single relationship. If every person took care of the rights of others, no one would have to fight for their own rights. Unfortunately we don't live in Utopia. So, I guess we just have to make do with doing this ourselves - making sure we give others their rights - and try to raise awareness of it in the people around us.

Another thing that EE does is teach by being an exemplary role model herself, rather than just talk about it. I grew up in a family, school and community where I was constantly told that I should be a role model to others, but I guess, it was never explains how I should be so, because I never really picked the right ones. Of course no one person is perfect, so you have to pick bits and pieces out of everyone that you admire. But practising what you preach as well as the bits that you don't preach goes a long way in terms of making a point.

So yes... I shall bid farewell now because my eyes are dripping with sleep, its 12.12 AM, I need to get up early and I'm going to a picnic and a wedding tomorrow. Also, while I was typing (I think I was in the 2nd paragraph), blogger suddenly refreshed and started to look very different. I have witnessed a momentous change in history. :P 

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