What do kids outside of India really think about the country ? Do expat kids have any connection with their parents’ homeland?
Being a mom of two younger kids who haven’t yet visited India often, these are few of the questions I wonder a lot about. Having been raised in Kuwait, as an Indian I am no stranger to cultural life being confusing in many ways. Interestingly enough, my confusions were solved in my late 20s and totally resolved once I became a mother.
Which is why it is an everlasting curiosity within me to see what kids around me (all in pretty much the same boat I was in) , feel about being raised Indian and being American citizens. Other expats in our Facebook Group for Parents Raising Global Thought Leaders can relate.
So when the opportunity to judge a kids’ writing competition came my way, I was elated beyond words to get a peak into growing minds.
As I read the several pieces that were submitted to the Republic Day of India competition I was thoroughly impressed. The topic being ” Memories of India “, was fascinating the depth of kids’ emotions regarding the same. What I learned was interesting to say the least.
They See India Differently
One entry was a beautiful piece about one evening’s experience with applying henna at a fair and seeing their father dancing at wedding. I could feel myself walking right beside her in that moment. Another had expressed their first train experience and even though you could tell that it was cumbersome for the little 7 year old, it was more than enjoyable as well.
You could feel that the experience during their visits mean so much more to them and uniquely so. To see the vibrancy in India through the eyes of young kids is very different. Often they compare the two countries they live in and visit and their perspective was
Fascinating New Perspectives
One child wrote so beautifully that he wondered where all the ants were constantly coming from in the house. His answer? ” So many ants were probably there because the food is so delicious. ” He continued to write about the summer he spent imagining the many reasons those ants would be roaming around the house.
It went to speak on how minutely a child thinks about what they experience.
They Experience Culture Vividly
Mundan ceremony of little ones or weddings of their siblings or cousins were described in such intricate detail. They found the celebrations a wonderful opportunity to rejoice life. Being an adult, I found many new customs within their experience that I even am new to.
As a parent, I have often worried that new cultural ceremonies (owning to size of crowds) might be overwhelming for my kids but reading those stories made me realize it is me not them that needs to brave the situation. For every custom is a spiritual experience for them.
Children Feel Close To Family, Despite Distances
It is a fear of many parents that the kids are distant from their family or relatives. Those essays assured me, while they may be far physically the kids are emotionally very well connected to those relatives who have taken the pains to develop the connection.
Being cared for, taken on bike rides, long walks or being taught yoga are all cherished memories.
There is an essential misconception among adults that being away from family makes kids aloof. But through those words I could sense that love surpasses all boundaries. So if there is any space felt, it is certainly a lack of adults to not develop a better connection.
Certainly not the child’s. All a child needs is to be loved.
Many Kids Feel Like Outsiders Already
And yet are excited to connect!
This stood out the most to me. A lot of the 12 and older kids mentioned in passing that doing so and so made them feel like “less of an outsider ” or helped them ” understand ” something (implying they feel the need to). Or how some one here in USA commented on something that is uniquely ” Indian ” about them affects their perception on visiting India.
To me this was interesting as I have often wondered how early is it today that kids get this feeling. As an Indian born and raised in Kuwait, it was only in my early 20s when I introspected my feelings enough to understand that I wasn’t as Indian as other kids.
What was hilarious was one 7 year old’s expression that the ” last trip to India helped them get in touch with the inner Indian which has been lost for many years “. ( parenting coaching at it’s best ) .
The experience was such a wonderfully inspiring one that I wanted to pen down tricks for other kids who would ever participate in essay writing. These are not by any means every judge’s criteria but per writing guidelines these are great rules of thumb to live by when writing creative and effective essays for any occasion.
To submit your child’s creative writing/arts, go ahead and email us at firstname.lastname@example.org and we will feature them on our platform. Children, after all can use ALL the encouragement they can get.
To write and to contemplate the many ways they connect to their homeland.