April 23, 2009
I didn’t realize until I began writing that beginning a conversation can be as difficult as a baby learning to take the first few steps. Let me begin my expressing how privileged I feel being a part of this space which I have christened "Kids Arena" Through this space, I aim to bring the “writer” that probably is sitting within each one of us. We are not looking for multiple pages of stories, just simple, straight thoughts. Something you have experienced, an incident which had an impact on you, a lesson you learnt, thoughts you want to convey maybe to your parents, just about anything…
Send me an email (to: firstname.lastname@example.org) with your writing and include all your details and I shall edit and have it published, or guide you on how we could make it better. It could be a learning experience, for you as well as for me.
This space is also for you parents as we invite you to read the thoughts of the little minds. Trust me, it will be an exciting experience as we learn how our little minds work, as we pick up a lesson or two, or find that one line of communication that was missing in our relationship with our children.
Let me begin this journey with you with my thoughts….
A few months ago, I was sitting in a room with two women, both of them around my age group. A 15-year old boy entered the room and said “hello aunty,” to each one of us. I responded with a hello and so did the other lady. But the third one turned around and said “Don’t call me aunty. I am aunty only to my nephews.”
The boy was embarrassed with the statement and I was shocked. And I wondered what was wrong with referring to someone who would be nearly as old as your mum as an “aunt”. After all this is what we learnt from our parents, and we have passed on to our children. Uncle, Aunty, Nana, Papa – we use these to show our respect to people who are older to us in age and in life’s experiences.
What has changed? Are we telling our children it’s no longer important to respect our elders. I am not sure; perhaps some of you know the answer.
As for me personally, it gladdens me when I am referred to as an aunty even if the child or rather the young girl or boy is just a few years younger to me. I am a mother of two children – the oldest one is a teenager, and when I am called an aunt, I see it as an acknowledgement of my identity as a mother and of my (life’s) experiences.
It does not make me feel any older than what I am and I certainly do not wish to be called by my name alone just to feel “young”!
In our culture, this is the way we show our respect. Parents and children - Let’s all work towards preserving this culture of ours.