Treating kids well….
It was during second grade in school, term 1 holidays, I was all excited and looking forward to hang out with a friend (lets call her C ) when she visits her aunt who lives opposite to my house. This neighbor aunty( lets call her A) has a daughter and a son who are a tad elder to me and were busy preparing for the dreaded Board Exams. So it was their cousin who came up with interesting stories from her native city of Vizag and kept me entertained.
C was a very nice, kind girl and arrived the next day. I hurriedly finished all my vacation assignments so that my mom would allow me to play with her that evening. Math, Science , Tamil , you name it, it was all done even before she arrived. C got all her homework here and took my help to solve her math assignments.
Aunty A was very strict with her kids and this cousin too who was visiting them. So, she categorically told me — “Anu, let C finish at the least one worksheet in math, then you guys can have fun”. While I was assisting C with her school work, aunty got all the dried clothes from laundry and placed them beside me and started folding them. She asked me to help her out and I joined her with some quick hand movements. She was all praise for my dexterity and I was very happy to hear her say so.
The next day, the same thing happened and suddenly a visitor came inside the house and asked aunty A — “oh A, is this your daughter?”, pointing at me. I looked at aunty with a smile and she quickly got up and went near the visitor and said in Telugu thinking I cannot understand — “No No, she is one useless that will do all chores that I dump on her”. C felt ashamed as she knew that I can understand their language very well. Equally shocked I was, at a young age of 7, this left a lasting impression in me. I was wondering how Mrs A was all praise about my work and to someone else she is calling me names and clearly she is not respectful of the young people in her life. My next guess was that she will bad mouth the visitor immediately after she leaves and that is exactly what she did too. I understood very clearly Mrs A is a person who uses people.
Though the whole incident clearly triggered a flight response in me and I stopped visiting them, this taught me a life lesson that I cannot trust some adults/peers by their face value. This also made me decide that I should be respectful of people younger to me and not take them for granted. Once I was an adult, I made closure with that incident and completely forgot about it.
Mrs A passed away last year and I happened to see C coincidentally when I visited my parents at the same time. Every year after that incident, C was avoiding me. Last year I told C casually that she was a nice and kind person always and she immediately remembered the incident and apologized on behalf of her aunt. I felt very bad for C and immediately told her it was never her fault and she should certainly not feel so. I could visibly see C glow and become all happy. How one adult’s wrongful irresponsible action had affected two different kids? Always treat the kids you come across in your life well, you are paving way for a happier, healthier generation ahead.