“Mumma we have to take up a new class at school!” HamaI-Guri cried as he barged in through the door. He had just come back from school, and, as usual, he had loads to talk about. “There are so many of them that I don’t know what to do.”
“What classes Hama?” Mumma asked. She had not got any notice from school yet. Then what was her son talking about?
Hama-Guri sat down on the sofa beside his mother and took out a sheet of paper. His mother looked at it and smiled. Sure enough these were classes. And yet they were not. They were hobby classes that kids could join if they wished to.
“See Mumma! So many of them.” Hama really sounded excited. “Can I select all?”
His mother laughed. “No dear. You have to choose just one.”
“But I like all.” Hama-Guri replied.
His mother looked at him and replied “Son, these are hobby classes. While you can have many hobbies, school wants you to pick the one that you will enjoy most. You have to think and then choose.”
“That’s tough. Why do we have to choose? It is so difficult!”
“We all need to make choices. Even animals and birds.” Mumma replied matter-of-factly.
Now Hama-Guri was curious. “Really?”
Mum knew she had hit the correct spot. She had got her son’s attention. Now was the time to tell him why making choices was so important. “Birds build nests after carefully selecting the nesting materials.”
“Oh! But why?”
“Yes. Because it has to be made sturdy for the eggs to hatch in, And they also need to be hidden from predators.”
“So all birds do that?”
“Yup! Well…I guess…” Mumma knew she had to do some more reading on this before she could give a definitive answer on this one.
“Who else chooses Mumma?” Hama-Guri asked, excited.
“They dance and choose.”
“Oh Mumma! Stop joking. Tel me na.”
“No no son. They really do. When it is time for the bees to look for a new nest, bees come up with different site options. These are evaluated based on the size of the hive that can be built, the amount of flowers present nearby etc. Then the bees dance near the site of their choice. The one where there are maximum dancers is finally chosen.”
“Mumma that is voting!”
“Perfect Hama! I am so proud of you. But voting is also having to choose, right?”
“So you see, there can be different types of choices. And we always need to choose the one that is best for us.”
“Hmm…But Mumma how will I know what I will like most?” Hama asked. “See its got gardening, nature treks, crafts, swimming…” Hama stared at the sheet looking a little crest fallen.
His mother realized that Hama would have to be explained this in a different way. “You know these animals and birds also have hobbies?”
“Oh no Mumma they don’t.” Hama replied unbelieving his mother.
Mumma smiled. He was an intelligent chap. But this one time maybe her trick would work. “Well, they do. Sort of.”
He looked at his mum, waiting for her to continue.
“Do you know what is a peacock’s hobby?”
He shook his head.
“A peacock loves to dance. So when it rains he dances.”
“But how is that a hobby?” The child argued.
“Hama, a hobby is something you do because you love doing it. No one or nothing forces you to do it. You just do it out of love.”
Hama-Guri remained silent. His mother knew that he was processing this statement in his mind. So she waited for him to speak.
“But mother, there is another problem. Ma-Door wants to choose pottery. he says you can get your hands dirty in the mud and that will be fun.”
Mum couldn’t help but smile. Kids and their novel ways of thinking. “And? What’s the problem?”
“Mumma, I know I will like pottery, but I really want to go for the nature treks.”
“Great! Problem solved. You found your own solution.”
“But he is my best friend.” Hama cried.
“See baby, even if two people are best friends, they can have different hobbies. As I said, each one chooses what he likes best.”
“But all peacocks dance!”
His mother scratched her head. The questions were getting tough. “Yes they do dear. But all birds don’t. A duck swims and a peacock dances.”
The little boy jumped up. “Now I know. I’m the peacock and Ma-Door is the duck!”
“Yes Hama.” His mother laughed.
“And what are you Mumma?”
“I think I would like to be a bear. I could sleep all winter if I was allowed too. That would be my hobby.” She replied giving her child a bear hug.
Learning: You will have choices in life. Choose wisely. Know where your love lies. Be different. Don’t follow.
Things to Teach:
• Bird nests
o Different types of nests
o Where they are built
o The materials used
• How honey bees make their hives and how the queen bee gets chosen
• How lions, tigers, bears etc. Chose the leader of their group
• The voting system in a democracy (for the older students)
• The importance of having a hobby.
• Help the kid pick a hobby
• Give your child a scrap book and ask him to fill it with something that he loves. This could be paper cuttings, drawings, stamps, self-written poems and stories etc.
• Think up of a few hobbies that you can do with minimal financial expenditure (for example kite flying, playing frisbee, bike rides with friends etc.) Help your child to choose from this. Teach him, in the process that hobbies need not be expensive
• If you are a teacher: Set aside a few periods in one day of the week, when kids can do what they like to do. Be that dancing, origami or even doing the karate kicks. Get students across classes to interact and learn from one another during this hobby class.
• Think of a craft that you want to make from beforehand (for example, leaf impression cards or pebble painting) and then go for a nature hunt with your child. Leave her to think and choose the materials from nature.