Inspiring Children through Meaningful Relations by Mitali Kulkarni
By Volunteer Mitali Kulkarni, FHI Mumbai
For all of us, the fondest of memories of our childhood are those with our parents, siblings, grandparents or other relatives, followed by those of our school and college wherein we meet a lot of people including friends, teachers, colleagues, mentors and so many other people. The relations which we create with them often shape our behaviour and perspectives. The interpersonal relationships which were formed in childhood act as a foundation for our future relationships as well because these relations help in developing values such as trust, good beliefs, patience, temper management, co-operation, communication, commitment, independence and a lot more as we go through and grow through life. Thus we need to ensure that every child, who is ought to face challenges which life places in front of all of us, should be able to deal with them positively and with vigour. Self-confidence, solution oriented approach for problem solving, positive attitude, persistence and an understanding that failures are just another pathway towards success and such other skills can be developed in children at a young age through interpersonal relationships because this is the stage when they learn what they see, hear and feel rather than from what we want to teach them.
Children learn most of their skills from people who they are constantly surrounded with. Developing an environment wherein children feel comfortable to express themselves without any fear, shapes them into confident individuals who can express their opinions. Also, when children learn to actually listen and not just hear, they learn to empathize and develop an ability to approach the situation with another person’s perspective. As a child mostly reflects the actions of the people he looks up to, it becomes important to practice what we preach to them. Thus, even in the current situation it is important to let the children know that we are there for them, if not physically, then through other available means.
When I started my journey with FHI in February 2020, it was my very first activity as a volunteer. While I was wondering whether the children would interact with me, as I was someone new, their welcoming nature towards the volunteers of FHI, including me, was so heartwarming in itself! That is where I learnt how forming a simple bond of trust and acceptance with children effectively helps them to become more receptive towards learning. I can thus happily say that FHI has given a wonderful platform wherein we can do our best and help to develop these skills in children, as their bhaiyyas and didis!