Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Did you love money before?

And along with this question came up another: Can you give away money just like that to someone?

I went to the temple with my sister-in-law and two year old nephew. Just as we were entering the temple, an old lady was distributing Mango Bite candies to children. My nephew was happy to receive the priceless Mango Bite. The smile and cheers on the child's face was priceless for us onlookers. He gave the candy to be kept inside his mother's purse until after he finished his prayers in the temple.

After the joyful and cheerful Darshan of the Godess Devi, we sat on the alloted bench, as per the customary practice in the temple.My nephew suddenly recalled the candy. My sister-in-law gave it to him immediately. She pointed to another kid who was watching us, and asked my nephew if he would give away the candy to the other kid. You must have seen the reaction on the child's face. He was totally confused and definitely didn't want to let go of the candy.

I don't remember seeing him that perplexed in all the days that I spent with him. But a nice child that he was, he simply said, "I want to keep it." And we both offered to buy him more candies if he would walk over to the friend there and give the candy to him. We intended to teach the child the habit of giving and sharing.

My nephew seemed to be convinced about the idea of more candies if he can give away what he has now. He took the first two steps. The friend on the other bench was looking our side too. He obviously didnt understand what was happening, but as is the habit of children, he just looked towards another child of his age. That's all. Both the children looked at each other. Then my nephew turned to us and asked one simple question : "Amma, why don't you give him some money and let me keep this candy?".

Brilliant question that left us speechless. The child valued the candy more than money. And he didn't want to disappoint us. His answer was more like saying, "if you are so bent upon giving him something why dont you give him some money". How many of us here would be able to do that? That made me ask the questions : Did we love money before? Can we give away money to someone just like that without a second thought? Are we good at negotiating small things like this child? The answer clearly is a NO.

That is part of being child-like and somewhere along the path of life, we all lost it to some extent. We do give money to others in the context of help, but then we remember too well. :-) We want it back. We are assertive and sometimes insensitive to others' thoughts.

I am not saying my views are correct or incorrect, practical or impractical, possible or impossible, but its just that the child and the minds of children are better than ours. With all innocence when my nephew asked the question, I couldn't help wondering, whatever happens to the noble thoughts when we grow up?

And strange, we were teaching him the practice of sharing and giving, while he taught us a little more. For argument sake we might say, its just a child's innocence talking here and that when he grows up he will probably not say the same. I agree.. But the point here is : Are we ready to give less importance to money? Are we ready to give away money to someone without expecting any returns including the credit of having done a good deed? Are we good at negotiating without hurting? Not sure.

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