Childhood – the Writing on the Walls

It is strange. We have all been kids before and yet rather than draw from our own childhood experiences, we conveniently ignore what it felt to be a child.

When a child scribbles on the walls, all we can see is how those interfere with the accepted idea of the way walls should look – spic and span. If we think deeply, the truth is our child’s happiness matters many times more to us over whether our house fits into a guest’s idea of beauty. But when caught in the moment, we try to convince the child to stop.

Obviously, kids look at it differently. To them it is all beauty. If you look from their perspective, no doubt it is. Which child would not love scribbling with sheer abandon to his heart’s desire? It is pure bliss. And when I think about it, I find it extremely amusing that I even expected my son to see reason in not ‘dirtying’ the walls. Actually, from a grown-up’s perspective too, it is wonderful to see the child’s learning graph from the walls. The scribbles make way for alphabets, which make way for words and numbers and so much more.

In fact, even I have a childhood memory of writing on the walls. I had been told by my parents not to write on the walls, and the good girl that I was, usually I did not. One fine day, I wrote an inconspicuous ‘my home’ on the outside wall of our home, next to the door. I loved it so much that I would look at it again and again. It thrilled me. It was almost invisible, but my father saw it and I was scolded for making the wall dirty. What strikes me the most in that memory is how I could not understand why it upset my father so much!

And this day, I try (in vain) to stop my son from doing the same thing. I fail miserably at it, my home is a proof. I first gave him a wall, then another and then another, and then there was no stopping. Kids don’t plan their resources, they live in the moment. They are never going to plan that ‘okay, so this is my wall, and I need to use the space well and efficiently’. It amuses me to even write it, and yet I remember telling him once that you wasted the space by scribbling on the 70% of the wall. You have written only in the 30% of the space.

I remember one day, feeling extremely magnanimous, I told him why don’t you write on the wall from 1 to 100 (he was into numbers at that time). He was thrilled. I was feeling very proud that atleast today I must have made him very happy. I even took some videos. It was a wonderful moment.

Today, we loosened up on the walls of living room as well. Sometimes I try very hard to think like my child, to be the parent we all want to be, someone who understands children. But do we? We don’t. We cannot ever be so cool as to be the parent our kids’ desire. I have given up on walls. I don’t care if he writes on every single one of them. The main point is that they are never going to write on the walls forever. They are going to grow up before we know.


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