Coming back from her school, just one week after her new school started, my daughter announced, “Mamma, tomorrow we have to wear colour dress to school.”
I checked the diary, there was no mention of it and I gathered from her classmate’s moms, that other kids did not know anything about this. Prisha must have misunderstood some conversation in class. But try as I might, to find this out, she was only becoming more defensive about it.
Prisha’s new school is too finicky about uniform, I would be surprised if they made such an abrupt announcement regarding dress code, this early in the session, without a written communication to parents. And that too for six year olds.
We did not choose her school for the uniform after all. We chose it because, this is one of the few schools in our city, which does not have exams for children till fifth standard and focuses more on character building than on academics in the early years. Uniform came in the package. Just like us, Prisha accepted it as a small compromise for an otherwise good opportunity.
I had the option to simply ignore her and to tell her to wear her uniform. But I realised that, up until now, in preschool, Prisha always wore what she wanted to. I would never stop her, unless she wanted to wear a wet T-shirt to school, I could not influence her choices now, just because her school prescribed uniforms. She needs to discover it for herself, and take her own decisions.
I could have asked help from other moms too. They would be more than willing to find out, what the misinformation was all about. I refrained… Prisha has been right most of the time, when she brought these important messages home from school. She is quite responsible in this matter. Is there any need for me to now doubt her and ask others for help? Is there no way to figure this out in a different way? I kept asking myself.
I could see this was my opportunity to do something different. I decided that, whatever it takes, I will let Prisha do what she believes is right, but I had another concern, what if her teacher did not understand and said something that might hurt her or worse break her confidence? With all that in mind,we went to sleep.
The next day was Wednesday. The day when children wear sports uniform in Prisha’s School. In the morning, as I prepared Prisha’s lunchboxes I was still unsure of whether I was doing the right thing. I woke her up and put up her regular sports uniform in the bathroom, to see if she still remembered. She did, “Colour clothes today Mamma” she announced.
This was it, she had made her choice.
“you can wear whatever you want Prisha, just make sure that, if someone says, you were wrong, don’t get hurt, we all make mistakes” I said,
That sowed a seed doubt in her, though that was not the objective, “Mamma, why don’t you call my teacher and ask?” She asked.
“I don’t have her number” I responded very matter-of-factly.
Prisha suggested further, “What about my friend’s mom, ask her.”
And now was my chance, “But Prisha, your friend’s mom would know whatever your friend said to her, why should I trust your friend more than you?” I asked quite casually.
The smile on her face was enough to tell me, that the rest did not matter. She was thinking, she understood this was going to be her decision.
She was doubtful now. I asked her to recall the exact conversation regarding colour clothes, which took place the previous day, in the class, I knew the clue was there. Wednesday is for house colours in her school. There may have been a conversation on “House Colour Dress” Like most schools Prisha’s school has 4 houses with 4 different colour shirts. Prisha was now in doubt if that was indeed the case. She decided to wear her Wednesday uniform,
Overwhelmed with the experience, and satisfied with the way our conversation went, I was happy that her new school uniform played some constructive role in my daughter’s life, other than being just a garb. I know that today, I have taught her to be a more attentive listener and a better decision maker. It is not my job as a parent, to make sure that my daughter is right all the time, it is my job to tell her what is right, when she errs. It is for her to right her wrong.