Toxic diet

Toxic diet

One morning, I decided to give him a surprise test on the words done so far.

My teenage son, who is studying in high school, has been introduced to a lot of extracurricular activities, other than his regular love for sports. One day, while going through his overall strengths and weaknesses, somewhere I thought, a little extra support and guidance for English was needed before time ticked by.

So began my hunt for ways to improve his English, the internationally acknowledged language. I started looking for innovative methods of teaching English on the World Wide Web. Day in and out I would Google to make the learning process more fun than a routine way to thrust upon the young mind. It is very difficult with the children of his age group, who are more interested in playing virtual cricket, all day long!

As a new step towards the plan of action, I asked him to read a few magazines, the newspaper and many other things. I was suddenly struck with an exuberant  idea, of picking up some random words from the newspaper headlines and asking him to find the meanings, learn the spelling and make a sentence of his own.

So, very sincerely during my newspaper reading session, in the mornings I would sit with a dairy and a pen and pick a few words at random. When my son came back from school, he would look out for the meanings and as both of us would sit and make sentences, we were having a good time. This exercise   continued for a few weeks compared to many of my previous attempts that had stopped abruptly, in a day or two. Things were quite falling to place, I thought.

 One Saturday morning, I decided to give him a surprise test on the words done so far, for almost  a fortnight of practice. While picking the words, what I saw to my surprise, or more of a shock was, all the words picked from the headlines of the  newspaper had been of a criminal origin. Most of the news covered were subjects like scams, murders, rapes, kidnapping and so on. Then it struck me that in an attempt to make him familiar with some of these highly ‘intellectual’ words, I was setting my child on a path which his innocent mind can’t even think of. As his friends rang the door bell, he rushed out to have a game of cricket and I decided at that very moment that I would let him happily be in the world of Chandamama, Tinkle,  Famous Five and the new add-on to the list, Percy Jackson.

As former president APJ Abdul Kalam had rightly said, we need to cover these atrocities in the inside pages and not make them the headlines. But can the journalists of the print media do that? They hardly have a choice as these are the only things happening along the length and breadth of the country. And I said to myself, ‘Nurture the plant, but allow the bud to bloom on its own.’