The other day when I came home from work, Sara, my yet to be 6 year old daughter, who is in class 1 now, ran up to me. She seemed very happy and excited. “Papa, Papa, (do) you know what happened at school today?”, she said, in her lilting voice. I knew she had something to share with me. Her mama was standing behind her, beaming as well. Faking utter surprise, I said, “No, Sara. Tell me, what happened”. “Papa, papa, I got this monitor badge today”, said she as she held up a white rectangular piece of plastic with Montitor, Class 1 Section C, inscribed on it. “Wow, you have become the monitor of your class!” I exclaimed. We did a high five and I asked how it happened. She told me that Priscilla Mam, her class teacher, made her the monitor. My wife laughingly told that in her school, the naughtiest fellow used to become the monitor. May be that is the reason, Sara became the monitor. Sara showed some displeasure and said she is not the naughtiest.
The next day, when I returned home, Sara was still basking in the glory of being the monitor. I asked her what she did as a monitor. She replied that she did whatever Priscilla mam told her to do. She followed her to the cupboard where the notebooks were kept. She had to carry them from the cupboard to Priscilla mam’s desk and distribute it to the children. She was still thrilled of doing that job.
I remembered the days when I was the monitor of my class. We did not have a monitor badge or anything. The teacher just announced that someone is the monitor of the class. Now, that was a grand feeling, because it exalted your status in the class. It felt like you immediately acquired some super-powers. And which kid is not enamored with super powers? In my days, I as the class monitor, apart from doing the usual job of carrying stuff, also had to actually “mind the class”. Minding the class means, announcing to the other kids, actually shouting to them to remain quiet and refrain from any pranks, going around the class like a king, looking at the other children and noting the names of the errant ones on the blackboard. The teacher would come and then take those folks to task by making them stand on their chairs or asking them to kneel down outside the class depending on the severity of their indiscipline.
The next day, while dropping Sara at the school bus stop, I saw that she was not wearing the monitor badge. I told her so. She was shocked and she ran back home instantly with me trailing back. She scooped the badge from her cupboard and put it on in a jiffy. She could not for a single day, go without the badge.
Couple of days passed and Sara was still gung ho about being the monitor. She would put the monitor badge proudly every morning and show it to everyone in her bus stop. People also feigned wonder and disbelief by seeing that badge. Children of her age were eager to be monitor of the class one day.
I realized that unlike our school days, when I was monitor for the entire year almost, these days, schools must be rotating the task of being the monitor among all students, just to give them that extra responsibility and make them feel special. So, I guessed that it must be a weekly turn and Priscilla mam will take the badge away after a week. Since Sara was quite attached to her monitor badge, I thought it would be good to tell her that one day, it will go away. She should know that nothing in the world is permanent. So, one night, I broached the subject to her. While she was in bed, going to sleep, I told her that mam will take the badge one of these days and give it to someone else. She said, it is not going to happen. She is the monitor and she will have the badge. When I tried some rationale justification to explain it to her, she didn’t listen. However old one may be, one cannot reason with a 6 year old! She can furnish unquestionable arguments, no matter how nonsensical they may be, and if nothing works, she would crumple her little face, break down and start sobbing.
In the middle of that night, she woke up from sleep crying. She had dreamt of something and she was blabbering about me saying monitor badge being taken away. We somehow put her back to sleep again.
In the coming days, I decided not to make this monitor badge a big thing. This issue had to be taken off from her mind and the best way was not to bring up that topic and engross her with something else. So for a few days, neither the badge, nor the monitoring activities were subject of our discussion. One morning, while going to drop her off at the bus stop, I noticed that she had not put the badge. I asked if she has forgotten her badge and she nonchalantly said that mam took it away. She did not have a tint of sadness or any attachment to it. She had happily forgotten the incident and moved on to other things that were in the present.
Are you still holding on to your monitor badge after it has been taken away?