Read a Story

#Sarachats: How to make parenting easier? With renowned educationalist Valentina Trivedi


Bookosmia Spotlight

Sara Chats : Hey. Sara here. You know how I read out and publish stories from kids across India every week. That is because I believe kids are as smart and creative as anyone else.  And  you know who else believes so? My cooler, older friend Valentina Trivedi.

Valentina is an acclaimed author, speaker, film director and educationalist. But more importantly a brilliant ‘childist.’ What does that mean? Read on as she thinks from a child’s view and helps parents make their life easier. Everyone can use some extra help during lockdown times, right?

#Sarachats: How to make parenting easier? With renowned educationalist Valentina Trivedi

Sara: Hey Valentina. I love stories- reading, telling and listening in to them. I guess you love them too. So tell me, is there a story about your name as well?

Val: There is. My dad taught Physics and was very taken up with space travel so he named me after the first woman in space – Russian cosmonaut Valentina Tereshkova.

Sara: Wow! That really is so cool. I need a moment to soak that in. OK, so I snooped around and heard you say you are a ‘childist.’ At first I misunderstood it as ‘childish’ but then realized this word ‘childist’ is out of my vocabulary. Can you tell me what it means and how you become one? Why haven’t I heard it before? Can I also become a childist?

Val: I call myself a ‘childist, ‘you know how a feminist believes in equality of women and looks out for their interests. I look out for a child’s interests. Because adults often fail to see a child’s point of view and impose rules which they themselves don’t follow.
Of course you can. Everyone is a childist till they lose the connection with their own inner child and forget what the world looks like from a child’s perspective. As we grow up the world conditions us into thinking that children are intellectually inferior and need to be constantly directed. They get no space to just let their mind wander and that’s where learning actually happens. There is far too much teaching. Not enough learning. Education is a long term outcome, beyond scoring in exams. It is not like boiling an egg where you know in two minutes if you have done it right.

Sara: Wait, you like to create stories ‘with’ children? Not like so many others who create ‘for’ children? I love the stories kids send to me from all over India and publish them online too. Why do you think it is not more common?

Val: Adults have outgrown the ability to be whacky and are not able to appreciate it in children. They don’t see it as a skill because ‘curriculum mein nahi hai’! I think that whackiness and creativity is totally underrated. It’s what will get you to those ‘other’ places. Not be a front runner in a herd but leap above. If adults would be open to learning from children, they would be able to drop their conditioning and discover a whole new dimension in themselves.

Sara: I heard you talk in a video of a bunch of things parents should not do in dealing with their child. Can you tell me a few things parents SHOULD do? (I of course have my own list:))

Val: For any job, you require prior knowledge, experience or training. Parenting is the only thing which you are allowed to get into without knowing anything. Parents should be very conscious of the world they are bringing their kids into.
The world will keep changing. There are a few simple things that you should stick to which will hold true and valuable always. The first thing which all parents should do is always speak the truth to their child. You can refuse to share information if you think it isn’t appropriate but don’t lie to them. Children are very perceptive and see through lies and that prevents a bond of trust to develop. Parenting would be less stressful if parents remembered two important things. One, that children do as the parents do, not as they say. And secondly, parents should, at ALL times, say what they mean and mean what they say.

Sara: There is a flush of stories everywhere. But sometimes i feel sad at the kind of stories and how they are being told. It is almost as if no one cares to ask a kid like me, what kind of stories do you want? We are still given the same old options (Traditional tales, bollywood). Why do you think stories are important and what kind?

Val: Stories are not just for entertainment. They help you in forming your own pictures in the mind, and that enriches your imagination. Imagination is required for everything. We imagined we could fly, so someone tried.
Also, we can address the problem of dwindling attention spans caused by flipping screens, by making children tune in and focus on one story. Also engaging with stories from a young age improves your problem solving skills. These are just a few of the many reasons why stories are important.
And finally, communication is not only about talking, public speaking etc. The other, more important half of communication is listening.  For every parent who complains their kids are not listening to them, I ask, how are you teaching listening? You cant ask your child to cycle if you haven’t taught them cycling. It is the same with listening. And how do you teach a child listening? By listening to them. Model it. By paying attention.You will have a better relationship with your child if you listen to them better.

Sara: Thanks for answering all these questions Val. I almost felt those answers were mine. You are indeed a childist.
Now to parents, what about you?Are you a childist yet? Feel free to comments with your inputs or questions.

To engage your kids in weekly fun tales told by ‘not just another storyteller’, Valentina hop on to my youtube channel-

2 Replies to “#Sarachats: How to make parenting easier? With renowned educationalist Valentina Trivedi”

  • Indira

    So simply put facts about parenting…yet profound

    • bookosmia

      Yes Indira. I guess that is the beauty of experience that Valentina brings.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *