I still clearly remember the time when we had decided to get our house painted. The walls were in a pretty bad shape, the paint was peeling off, and my one year old daughter just loved scrapping it off with her fingers and putting it in her mouth. Though it had needed a re-painting for years, I can’t for the life of me remember, why we dithered and waited that long. Anyway, so we decided to get our house painted and entrusted our daughter to my parents in law in another city. It was a painful period for me, staying apart from my daughter for such a long time, as we couldn’t subject her delicate lungs to the clinging dust, loud sounds and harsh smells of turpentine.
However, what hurt me the most was the insensitive comments of the people around – why are you getting your house painted now? Your daughter will make the walls dirty by scribbling and doodling on them.
My husband replied – I am getting the house painted for my satisfaction. If my daughter chooses to draw or write on the walls, it will give me another degree of satisfaction.
My husband is one of those rare specimen of humans who believe that kids be given complete creative freedom. Their creativity gets limited when you give them a sketch book of A3 or A4 size. They need a larger canvas to express themselves. That’s where blank walls come in.
So, our daughter got the freedom to scribble and draw on the walls with whatever she could find; be it the humble pencil, the ubiquitous pen, the colourful sketchpen or the unsympathetic marker pen. All made their presence felt on our freshly painted walls. She drew lines, circles, potatoes, sun, moon and even, Peppa Pig.
The best part was when she showed her creation to us. Her proud smile was all we cared for. It made us proud as parents.
Our visiting friends and family on looking at the doodled walls exclaim and announce that our daughter has an expensive hobby. We ask them – why? The cost of a re-paint is way too cheap if it helps give wings to our child’s creativity.
Not all of them are convinced. Well, we can’t convince all of them. It’s not our job. But, what I feel is M. F Hussain and DaVinci did not become famous by sketching in drawing books.
We both like to nurture our child’s creativity and guide her gently by sitting down with her and participating in her favourite ‘doodle-on-a-wall’ spree. See these doodles of mommy, papa and my cutie pie..isn’t it awesome?
Don’t these walls look more decorative than merely painted walls? They have more character now, after all, they hold a child’s interest, creativity, passion and joy. And, all of these reflect on the walls. It makes our house a happy home.
Once she came to me and asked, “Mama, are you going to paint on my drawings on the wall?” Her nearly-teary face tugged at my heart. I felt a little guilty because I was planning to scrub the walls for my annual Diwali cleaning.
But, that’s when I made a decision – No, my darling, if you want we will never paint the house again.
And then she replied – And if we do get it painted, we can sit again together and doodle on the walls.
I nodded my head. She was happy and hugged me tight. Yes, that’s what it takes to make your little child happy.
Sometimes, I think we pay for expensive drawing classes, but do not let our kids enjoy it. We gift our kids the latest gadgets, but do not let them taste the joy of simple activities.
A happy childhood is not made of expensive things, but of beautiful memories. If doodling on the walls, scribbling on the floor and putting stickers on the cupboards and the refrigerator is what make your child happy, so be it. Give them the creative freedom, let them explore themselves, and grow. These are the simple joys of growing up, and all children should have them.
That’s how they will have a truly khuljaaye bachpan. A childhood where they are not questioned for every move they make, their creativity is not curtailed by social decorum and their enthusiasm is not snuffed out by superfluous rules. Give your child the gift of an unfettered, happy childhood, a #khuljaayebachpan!