In case you have opened the envelope in surprise, wondering who this is from and what is this about, I am Nandini, 7 years old and want to say something to all of you on behalf of all my friends.
Now that I have your attention here is an open letter from a child to the world of adults by Nandini, first things first. Take a cup of warm tea or coffee or whatever you like and sit down at a corner. I really want to have a chat with you in peace, not when you are listening to me while doing your chores.
I know, it is very difficult for any adult today to manage work and little children like us. You work really hard and by the end of the day, you get so tired that you may not have any energy left to talk to me alone. I know, that you have a lot of work which we have no idea about. I know, that we can’t even help in making you feel better with all your workload.
But we, little children, where do we go if we want something? Who do we tell about our pains and worries when we haven’t even learnt to express our minds properly? Trust me, we don’t cry to make your life harder. In fact, when we cry, we are struggling to deal with our own selves to sort things out. It doesn’t really help if someone says, “Why are you crying? Stop crying and tell me, what’s the matter.” Or, “Good boy/girl don’t cry.” I mean, Come on! If we could tell, wouldn’t we have said it out clearly? And which child in the world doesn’t cry? Didn’t you cry when you were young? Why does the world of adults keep telling this piece of lies so often?! When we are having a really hard time struggling with our own desires and emotions, it would just help to calm us down in your lap and just be with us without saying a word. Trust me, we can feel what you feel. We can feel where we are safe. We can feel when your heart beats with love and care for us.
We sometimes wonder, what space do we really hold in your adult world full of so many things? Whatever we try to toy with, or pour out, or simply hold, we hear a loud “NO!”.
Trying to handle a glass of water by ourselves? “NO”.
Trying to jump off the bed? “NO”
Trying to pull that jar from the shelf? “NO”
Trying to pour water out of the bucket? “NO”
Trying to pull a clip out of our own hair or jump in the roadside puddle? “NO”
Pour paint on the floor on our body instead of the paper? “NO”
Knead the dough with flour all over the floor? “NO”
Can you tell me what are we supposed to do then?
You won’t allow us to help you with YOUR work.
You won’t allow us to try out OUR own work.
You won’t allow us to toy with things that are around us.
And if that’s not enough, you would ask us to sit quietly at a place. Sit there and do what? Participate in your boring adult conversations? When is the last time you sat like that without any work?
And Oh yes! Who told you that we love only toys and only toys are meant to be for children??
Let me be honest. Not half the toys made by adults are suitable for children. We need to mess with mud, we need to strike and blow, we need to break and crack, we need to turn things upside down, we need to pull and push, we need to taste, feel and see what you constantly hide from us! And that’s not our FAULT! We are made like that. You too, perhaps, were like that, is what God tells us.
So, please, dear adult, let us be like children. Don’t mind the mess in your house or wherever you are. If you are cleaning every day, we would learn to do that too as we grow up.
To make it easier for you and us, keep as less things as possible. What we LOVE most is FREE, OPEN spaces to twirl around, to crawl, to kick, to throw, to somersault… That’s PLAY for us. That’s our WORK. We are trying hard to make sense of this large, complex world as much as you are trying to make sense of us. If you give us fixed objects to play in fixed, closed spaces, it doesn’t really help. We want to explore more…
We hope you realize that we forgive you quickly. Even after these stifling rules imposed on us, we still go back to you. Do you know why? Not because we are afraid, or we need security. Only because we LOVE you deeply and unconditionally. We KNOW that each of us make mistakes but we MUST be together. This is something, we are taught in the heavens, before we arrive. But we feel hurt when you take that for granted!
We are little humans of whom the adults can’t make much sense of, most of the times. And that’s perfectly fine. We are free souls, after all. But at least try to listen to us fully if you expect us to do that all the time.
Firstly, our neck hurts when we, always, have to look up and talk. Sometimes, it will be nice if you can bring me up, or, sit down, so that we can see your face and eyes when we talk.
Most often, we don’t say things that are big for you but may mean the world to us. We might blabber saying, “bite!” showing you a mosquito bites over 50 times.
You may feel annoyed with us if you are chatting with your friend and we drag you out asking to go home. That’s just because we feel trapped and bored to the place you have taken us; we don’t how else to put it across. Maybe, if you allow us to play outside in that area or give us our favourite object to toy with (may not be a toy), we can try to make peace.
It is just that our nagging, crankiness, crying, screaming, blabbering, cooing - everything is a part of the conversation we are trying to have with you. Just be with us as long as you can. You have no idea how happy we feel when you talk to us personally just like you do with any other adult we see! If we are doing it too often, maybe there’s something in our little bodies like – food, sleep or, some kind of uneasiness that’s bothering us.
Yes, we love junk food. But who introduced that to us? If you make it a rule to keep foods that our little bodies can handle in and around us, then that’s what we explore. Remember, we said that we love to explore! Anything too loud, too sweet, too salty, too colorful, sort of drowns us into them. We don’t know how to absorb it. We then become cranky and you wonder why.
We know that you love us like none other but we don’t need too many things. We just need YOU, fresh air, healthy food, lots of OPEN spaces and the freedom to EXPLORE. Our WORLD is that simple, really.
Ok, maybe not so simple for you! 😉 Let’s try to understand each other a little better, maybe?!
And thank you so much for trying to do so many things for us! Thank you for being so patient when we are like a mad puzzle for you, whose parts have gone missing. Thank you for your love and care in all your little ways!
Thank you for reading this letter 😊
Lots of love, hugs and best wishes,
Nandini and the world of children.
PS: We would love to make it easier for you, however we can.
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The Word Salad is the brainchild of Preeti Athri, Rhituparna Mitra and Priya who whip up content for several platforms relating to Parenting, Lifestyle & Relationships.