I was in a school for my workshop and during the break, I saw the teacher taking printouts of the FAMILY TREE. Now Family Tree is an outline of a tree on a piece of paper where names of family members are written in hierarchical order.
It was quite colorful and made me curious to pick one and go through them. To my surprise, the kid had only two sets of relations – Parents to Grandparents.
I asked the teacher:
Me: But there can be other family members as well, right?
She: What do you mean?
Me: S/he can have siblings, Chachu/Mamu (Uncle), Bua/Masi (Aunt) … we have a culture of joint family in India. It is not completely dead !!
She: But then we do not know the exact numbers and moreover the number of blocks, the hierarchy will all be disturbed.
Me: No, you do not have to do anything. the kid knows the family members and is capable enough to fill the tree himself/herself.
Her: But I have already taken the print outs now?
Me: Yes I want you to give them this sheet along with the other sheet that I want to EDIT with your permission.
I kept everything the same, just added a single line on the top in Bolds.
“This is YOUR FAMILY TREE, go ahead and write all the names who are part of your family”
As I expected, to my Joy, the response on the next day of the workshop was overwhelming.
Sheet 1: had just FIVE names. (kid, parents, grand-parents)
Sheet 2: Was a blend of Characters beyond the imagination of Teachers. That included: all joint family members, PETS, maids, caretakers, best friend, society friends, school friends, some also included my Best Teacher (now that was an icing to the cake)
Kids have their own definition of D&I (Diversity and Inclusion). When they are not taught, they apply in a right sense the concept of D&I, may it be in a Family Tree. Do not limit their thought. Yes, Kids need to learn a lot, but we should also keep an open mind to learn from them. They might teach us the best lessons of life in disguise.
WHY The concept of Family Tree in an International School was never questioned before by Parents too? Yes, they are equally responsible. Why the other family members are not part of the tree? This is not about just writing names on a piece of paper. No! Never!!
This is much beyond. The insensitive and reserve behavior of a kid can be part of it. Why kids do not share their belongings with other kids? Why you complain they have become rude and unpredictable. WELL!! here is one reason I have figured out, there can be numerous such reasons which we believe are minute and can be ignored.
ALARM: If you do not give your kids a blank sheet today and a liberty to take a deep dive and fly high at the same time, and if you tell them who their family should be, please do not be disappointed tomorrow when they design their family tree in their mind and you are not part of it!!
*Disclaimer: Personal Perspective!