Wednesday, October 31, 2012

The right moves

Children force us to do things we've never done before, or never thought we'd do, or rather not have done.   In my case, the biggest thing Puttachi did was to make me talk.  In these 5 and a half years, I have talked twice as much as I've done my entire life.  And she's not letting me stop either. 

And now she's making me play chess.  I never really liked chess, mainly because I had to use my brains for it.  But a few months ago, they created a human chess setup in the park we used to go to.  Naturally Puttachi wanted to know what it was all about, and when I explained as best as I could, she wanted me to buy a board for her.  Her birthday was approaching, and my co-sister asked me if there was anything particular Puttachi would like for her birthday, and I told her that she's been asking for a chess set. 

So that is what she got from them.  (It is another story that for some reason, they couldn't give her the present in time, and she ate everybody's head until she finally had the board in her hands.)

I took it easy, actually.  I assumed she was too young for it (shows how little I know of other children) and didn't bother to teach her at first.  But she insisted, and I taught her the basic moves.  She seemed to get the hang of it, but preferred playing her own version of it where all the pieces are friends and don't hit each other.  I didn't bother to insist that she play it "correctly" because I still thought she was too young.  In retrospect, this was probably a good thing I did, not pressing her to play it the right way, though the reason I did it was wrong. Playing with the pieces made her familiar with them.

And then suddenly, a month ago, she wanted to play chess the "right" way.  We started playing then.  Of course I beat her every time, but I explained every step to her, and at times, allowed her  to go back a few moves and rethink her moves.  She seemed to be getting it, but I was still doubtful.  And then yesterday, when I made a move, she said, "Oh Amma, watch out.  Your bishop is in danger from my knight."  And yes, she was right, and I hadn't noticed it (I am not a very good player.)  And I was impressed, and told her so.  She was pleased too, and she suddenly realized that beating me might not be that far off into the future, and she is all fired up now to play better. 

And yet again, I learned two things from this episode.

1) Never, never underestimate your children's capabilities.  Never.  Give them the benefit of doubt.  Never think they are "too young."  You never will know until you try. 
I make this mistake over and over again, and so I thought I must write it down for  myself, to read and remember.

2) If that park had not created that human chess board, we would never have gotten around to talking about chess since I thought it was "too early."  And now look how much Puttachi enjoys chess. 
Random happenings lead to unexpected sequences of events that lead elsewhere.  You can never tell what will inspire a person (not only children, holds good for adults too) and so it is essential that you give yourself every single opportunity to explore the world,  meet people different from you, with different interests.  You owe it to yourself.  And I am writing this down again for myself, because I can be very lazy about moving myself out of the comfort of my home.  Even when I think that I should do it for my daughter, I am not sufficiently inspired at times.

Time to shake things up!

4 comments:

Ganesh Balimidi said...

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PeeVee said...

Hahahah :D The pieces were "friends". So typical of Puttachi. Two of those strong observations prove better than a DNA test that she's my niece:
i) Eat everyone's head until you get what you want
ii) The love for chess, and the disappointment that no one wants to play with you (alas, this disappointment awaits her)!

Suchithra said...

Awesome post! :) Loved the last part... And way to go!

Clenia Gigi said...

Hehe this reminds me of the day my younger sister beat me at chess, I never saw it coming...

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