Children are endowed by nature. They are born ‘rich’. Their assets being, high tenacity and

the strength to struggle. The baby’s struggle at birth and the miraculous arrival into this

world is proof of that.

Human babies love to ‘do’. They love to manipulate, explore and taste. Children love to use

their hands and feet and toes and fingers. Their adventures grow with growing bodies and

developing minds.

Perhaps my favourite baby adventure story is the tale of the banana. Imagine giving a half

peeled banana to a ten month old. What follows next would be a delight to watch. The baby

would perhaps squeeze it, enjoy the feel of the pulp and very eagerly taste it. So, even

before I can type all this, the banana is in the child’s mouth, partially or completely eaten,

and pretty much enjoyed and relished. The child in the bargain has mastered her first feat

as an independent being. She has managed to feed herself, enjoy herself, use her strengths,

exercise her senses, discover and is perhaps looking forward to getting another banana!

The point is simple and much advocated, if you give the child an opportunity to do

something, they will do it; eventually, if not at once.

If you do not give them a chance, you will never know what they can do. Sadly, the child

himself will never know what he is capable of doing independently.

Independence is perhaps the greatest asset we can pass on to our little ones.

The desire ‘to do’ is what we are born with; while the confidence to move ahead comes

from our experiences. The wider the experiences the ‘richer’ the child.

Ironically, the glorified educational experiences, at the up-to-date, urbane neighbourhood

schools and our homes alike, seem to be missing the point. Children do not seem to get an

opportunity to practice simple skills, which foster independence.

At the risk of sounding too opinionated, there are enough 7-8 year olds who do not know

that they can feed themselves in the absence of the mother/caretaker that includes eating a

banana. An even greater number of similar 7 and 8 year olds believe they cannot tie their

shoe laces without help, or pack a school bag maybe. The list of such untried tasks is long.

Again, it is not mastering a task that is important; what is important is trying it out


Allowing is encouraging.

Let your 11 month baby attempt to feed herself; let the toddler choose her clothes; let the

preschoolers try a hand at their shoe laces, dress themselves up, fold their napkins, pack

their school bag, and arrange their toys.

Encourage your 9 year olds to design their own projects and do their school work and let

your teenagers study and perform independent of you!

Give them a chance and you will never need to do that job for them again.

The sense of achievement and development, in question, is theirs, not yours anymore!

Rohini Sethi                                                                                                                                           Child Development Consultant