Gifting your child ‘Possibilities’

Noel Manuel

The gift of possibilities is the air that we breathe around our kids. As much as we parents and teachers have certain expectations of our kids, they equally, have definite expectations of us. They try to please us at whatever they are good in, with the hope of proving that they are a possibility, regardless of their height, age, size or literary levels. Their ultimate goal is to ensure that your smile is translated into the four-syllable word called ‘expectations.’

My youngest son Jonathan is a prodigy. He keeps somersaulting across our five-room apartment trying to replicate the Pepsi ad shown on television. Though initially, we didn’t pay much heed to what he did, he persistently tried to grab our attention with some self-invented tricks. One evening, I called him and asked him to show us a few of his tricks. He went on taking out one trick after the other till our laughter finally brought his sleeves down. The act soon came to an end and who could have been more pleased than Jonathan himself. He was able to prove his worthiness as a possibility, triumphant in fulfilling our expectations. How often have we tried to stretch the smile on our children’s face?

Regardless of who or what we are in life – poor or rich, we can still attempt to prove ourselves as being a possibility to our children and whereupon subsequently meet the expectations they have of us. What is the possibility that every child would expect or look forward to from a parent or teacher. Well, the possibilities we can gift our children are many on the list of expectations. However the most significant among them being the quality of ‘Happiness.’ ‘Hope’ and ‘Honour’ are the other values that follow. 

‘Happiness’ tops the list of ‘possibilities’ that comes at the cost of time and not money; that can be given but not purchased that has to be shared and not stacked up in the refrigerator. 

My youngest son Jonathan did not have to wait to grow tall or big enough to put that smile on our family’s face. He did not wait to do very well in his examinations to make us smile for hours together. He used whatever resource he had on hand and proved he was a possibility that could well live up to our expectations. Our laughter revealed how successful he had been.

Happiness is the fragrance of love, sacrifice, forgiveness, laughter, dedication, joy, sharing, praying and caring for one another. It is a strong feeling of togetherness and oneness. It radiates like the sun’s rays touching and affecting everyone that comes in its path.

A successful 45-year-old businessman had earned a lot of money over a period of time. His two children studied in the city’s finest school. The businessman socialized with his friends till late hours striking several important deals, while his wife kept herself occupied with popular television serials. Eventually the importance of money had pushed the children to second spot. The mother insisted that the children do well in school and the father often urged the kids to develop the highest degree of mannerisms. The couple began overriding their possibilities without taking into account what their children really expected of them. They failed to acknowledge the other possibilities in their kids. Finally, the expectations of the couple, to showcase their children as a possibility, was to last only for a while.

Happiness began to drain out and sadness seeped in. Before long, the children began to look for other avenues where they could prove they were a possibility. The home seemed like a forgotten abode and the school became the next alternative to exhibit ‘Possibilities.’ However, things didn’t fare any better here as well. With everyone so taken up with teaching and other activities, the teachers probably couldn’t care much of going the extra mile to uncover possibilities. But kids are adamant and stubborn.

They don’t give in to easily. They had found a new abode to prove they are a possibility. And this didn’t take long for the parents to discover why the next-door neighbor’s place had become the most sought abode for the kids. At last, these kids had found someone who could recognize their possibilities – whatever their possibilities might have been.

We need to remember that every child is a possibility. And no matter what level of possibilities exist in our kids; we need to acknowledge them for that with the right expectation.

I still vividly remember what a great influence my grandmother has been. Not only to me but my other brothers as well. We looked for the slightest opportunity to get away from home to be with her. The reason? She simply loved watching and listening to us monkey around. And of course, she duly acknowledged our efforts. We took pride that we could prove our ‘possibilities’ and live up to the ‘expectations’ of our grandmother. And she responded positively, though sometimes, our antics and tricks may have resulted in a broken glass or two. But this never got her upset. She, unlike very few elders, believed that our possibilities were more important than a mere glass.

Every teacher loves teaching brilliant students. The task is easier, quicker and enjoyable. Some eight years ago a class 6 student and next-door neighbor of mine was refused admission by the school proprietors, in the school where I was the principal. The reason being that the student had dropped out from class 3 at the age of ten. He was 15 years now and indeed much too old to be in class 6. Besides he was unable to read and write. The parents were known to me and, after being refused by the proprietors of the school, finally approached me with the boy.

The boy joined school and the board of directors called on me soon after seeking an explanation. My stand, as much as my thoughts, was very clear. I said, “The true challenge of a teacher is not to make a genius of a student who is already a genius. In fact, it is more about making a student a genius who is not a genius.” “If you give me only good students there will be nothing much for me to do.” “I need dull students to incite my experience.” “I need their inabilities to become my challenge and my determination.” “Like any other child in this school that you see as a possibility, I too see this child as a possibility.” A year later the boy got the fifth position and was promoted to class 7.

Believe in their possibilities and they will surely live up your expectations.

Your kids and my kids are no different when it comes to sharing possibilities. What they need is someone who can really believe in them and trust them even if they were to put up the most foolish act. Remember if you believe in the possibilities of your kids, they will live up to your expectations, in their own special way. Just acknowledge what they do and whenever they do it. 

I still remember how my eldest son Kevin broke down terribly after he lost to the Northeast chess champion at the NIIT national chess championships at Guwahati. He knew how much I expected of him and he might have thought that he failed to live up to my expectations. But, I hugged him and said, ‘I know you are a possibility and that is why I have brought you this far.’ ‘You have lived up to my expectations and you are a winner.’ ‘The real winner is one who can go back home as a good loser.’ Soon he was talking about how he could better his game. Don’t build castles around your child’s possibilities. They will always do their best and you need to acknowledge that. 

Remember when we allow our kids to portray their possibilities and duly acknowledge them for it, we are in fact creating an atmosphere of happiness, hope and honour. We portray to them collective happiness born out of their possibilities. Children begin to believe and hope in you, which makes you even more admired. They honour you more than anything on this earth.   

Let us allow ourselves the time, energy and patience for our kids to demonstrate their possibilities. And no matter how successful they may be, let us acknowledge it by saying, “You have fulfilled my expectations.” For happiness, hope and honour are the freebies that come along with the gift of possibilities.

The writer is the Coordinator of the Northeast Region (Poetry Society of India) and Life Member of the Poetry Society of India. Journalist and Correspondent Eastern Panorama (News Magazine of the Northeast) Phonetics Teacher.