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A rare GIFT you can give to your child
A child went upto parents and said, “I want a gift. But I will tell you only when you promise that you will give it to me”.
The parents were amused but cautious. Mom said, “But what if it is something we can’t afford, something we can’t get for you.
The child reassured, “Oh! don't worry about money - it will cost you nothing much.
This got the parents even more curious, father tried, “You want a trip abroad this holidays”?
“Noooo Dad, don’t guess. Just say you will give me and then I will tell you.”
“Okay, tell me something”, Mother was still kind of concerned, “Is it something that we approve of?
The child thought for few moments, then replied, “I think you will be okay - because it will get me - in a way - what you have many times wanted for me”
“Which is?”, Questioned dad.
“Look, I think this gift will give me happiness, peace, joy. It would give me opportunity to work on myself. It will maybe make me more independent and confident. But most importantly it will allow me to live life fully”
Mother was still doubtful, “That is a huge list beta, What do you have in mind?”
Father had a different concern, “Wait, you mean to say you are not living life fully now?”
“No dad i am not saying that. But it is different from what you have given me till now. And hence it will let me discover a different me”
“Oh God! I hope it is not about any affair-shafair”, Mother jumped up.
The child almost burst out laughing, but composedly assured, “It is not. It is just about me. It is about nobody else. In a way i am asking you to gift me to me”
“And what does that mean”, Father was now little lost and wanted the answer.
“Dad not so soon - first both of you give me your promise”.
“Okay, I give the promise, now tell”, Dad wanted it out quickly.
But mother gave a cautionary look to her husband and warned him, “Wait, if we are promising - we will need to uphold it, “
“Thanks Mom. What I have to say is that you both may not immediately agree to my gift idea. You may have doubts about it. But, It is a novel and a not so common gift. I am inspired by the poster in your office which says, ‘You won’t reach anywhere without taking initiative’. Also, both of you have always told me to believe in myself.
There was a long pregnant silence in the room.
Finally mom and dad exchanged a deep look and nodded their heads unanimously.
“Awesome, Jumped the child and beaming ear to ear declared, “The gift that I want is a YEAR. An OPEN year. An year where i can DO whatever I want. No school or classes etc: I live my life, My-Size”
The parents were dumb stuck, trying to fathom the excitement this idea gave to the child.
Father was the first one, in a worried tone, “You do not like the school?”
The child smiled even more, “I was expecting this. I have nothing against school. Just that I want a break - to learn, to explore. I want a year where I decide - what i learn, how I learn, how much I learn, how well I learn.”
Mother inquired, trying to understand the child better, “But isn’t that what you do on holidays and weekends?”
The child had thought this through too, “Mom / Dad - It appears I have freedom - but do I really? I want an year FREE from being judged, being assessed, being compared. A year free from expectations. Free of ‘am i doing good’, free of doing or learning something. Whatever I do i would do not for the result but for the joy of it.”
Another long silence prevailed. Parents knew what the child had asked for was indeed beautiful and profound.
Finally father asked, “And how will this year benefit you?
The child replied, “Have heard lot of people taking a break at different points of their life. Not too sure why they do so, but for me I think i would just go exploring and maybe discover myself”.
Father had more doubts, “Don’t you think a year is too long? Are you not going to lose a year? And how will you know that one year will be enough?
Child explained, “To me one year sounded like a good enough duration - not too short, not too long”. I think i will love that one year - so i don't see that as losing it.
Mother joined, “What your father means is that you will be behind your peers in college and job. But in long run, I guess it does not make much difference - especially since you want it.
Mother added another doubt, What if you are bored much earlier - what will we do then.
The child replied, “I think I can always join back in between if it turns out to be so bad.
Father pondered aloud, “I am liking this investment in understanding self, exploring interests. Sometimes structure makes us so mechanical that we forget that we have a life to live. My only worry is we should not look back and say that we wasted one year!
Mother agreed. What we gain or lose cannot always be measured by time or by results. If I had to relive, I wouldn’t mind one more joyous year added to my childhood”. Anyways, at the end of year we all can reflect and review.”
The child jumped and hugged both the parents, “Yipee, I am getting my open year gift.”
Parents were cautious, While we have promised, lets think this through - can we discuss more!
Dear Reader, What do you think happens next?
If you were consider such a gift for your child what will be your thoughts? Your points in favour or against the gift? What do you think about the child's decisions?
What do you think the child would gain by an open year?
Would you give your child the freedom to make such a choice? Why and why not?
Inviting your comments below.
Would you like to see a videos of children who have made such a decision.
Also, realise that there are many ways of doing a OPEN YEAR.
- Child can just stay at home and explore things.
- Child can travel across the country or world.
- Child could also be part of Aarohi. Aarohi is a community of self directed learners - Children who decide what they want to learn, how they want to learn, when they want to learn and use self assessment. We do not follow any philosophy, we follow the child. Aarohi offers an open learning environment at its O-Campus (located in a village near Hosur - about 55km from Bangalore). Read More here.
If you are liking the idea of offering Open Year GIFT to your child (at any stage …. middle or high school or just after 10th or 12th … actually at any age) - then may we invite you to an orientation. Also feel free to email or talk or meet us.