December 19, 2012
It is very interesting to compare the child care that I have seen and experienced here in Canada and the one that prevails in my home country, India. K&K are so lucky to be born here and enjoying the best child care available, living in the best place in the whole wide world! But first, Let’s talk about my childhood.
a) To begin with, I did not own any toys. Whatever meager supplies my Dad provided, I had to share them with my little brother. I am talking maximum, let’s say 4 toys (just throwin’ in a number) in all of my “child age” and I shared ‘each and every one” of them with my brother. Here at my home, there are trillions of toys lying around for each of my kids. Good Luck with finding your way around the house in the toy maze!
b) I did not have my own bedroom. Hell, in the whole house, there could be 2 bedrooms and obviously, one is for my parents and guess what happens to the second one? That’s right, again, the magic word “Sharing”.
My brother lurks in the back ground. And yes, the feelings of grudge are mutual. In here, K&K has their own bedrooms completed by all the furnitures they need!Go figure.
c) Clothes? I did not have too many. If you have asked me at the time, “Where is your princess outfit?” or anything that is related to “Disney Princess”, you would get a blank stare back from me. Being a little girl who lived in my time and space, the reality checks were always consistent. In other words, I did not get pampered by my Dad who would have called me “My little Princess” or got to watch “My Little Pony” and get enchanted with the wonderful world portrayed by it. My brother had also encountered a similar situation. That means, in his world, no cloths branded by Thomas and Friends, Chuggington or Elmo. (All of them, my son, Kevin’s current favorites). K&K owns tonnes of cloths and being a modest shopaholic, I try not to buy too much. ( the punch word is “try”)
d) Obviously, if I speak about my brother’s and mine favorite food at the time, you all would be horrified. Here at home, our favorite places for eating out with kids is MacDonald’ s, Harvey’s, Swiss Chalet sometimes and the latest trend, Cora’s. We love them all. But in India when we were children, it is always, Rice and two choices of Curries and on good days, Chapathi ( are you familiar with this one? it is actually popular in South Asian house holds here in Canada) and chicken curry (yeah, curry again!) That is about it. We did not have too many choices and we were not asked to what we would like to eat. It was not because our parents did not like us. It was just the life style or may be the culture we lived in plus not too much money to go around.
e) Last but not the least, I want to have a word on the excellent children activities and facilities we have here in this country and comment on what we have in India, which is NOTHING. When Kevin was born, I was unlocking the wonderful world of government provided free of cost, early years child hood centers and other recreational places provided by the City. The forever helpful volunteers and facilitators attending on you remain with you every step of the way and help you to start your journey with the little ones. I was so amazed! I have my experiences as a child and I have seen my relatives back home raising my little cousins. Up until the school age, there are no resources to cater to the kids. When they are at the age to go to Junior Kindergarten, the school fees and donations of different kinds make up a hefty amount for the middle class families to bare. There are no kinds of encouragement or boost up from the government side to help families out in this regard as well. Last time I checked on this situation, not much change happened according to my Dad. There are few education grants in place but it is too hard to get hold of the money needed through the formalities of “red tape”. In here, government aid comes to you from the time your child takes birth and their assistance assumes different forms as the kids progress to schools and later, universities. So, education here is affordable and accessible.
Going back to my topic, there is a world of difference in the way a child is raised in my home country, India and here. Is that one of the reasons we are situated so far apart globally? Just joking. I know time changes every thing. I so hope that children who are born and raised in India could also enjoy the benefits of a well thought out national plan. A policy that ensures bright future focusing on education and a comfortable life there after for their precious children. A policy devised by able Indian politicians in the coming years. One can always hope, you see?