This is what our daughter Akshara asked me when I asked her to pray while we were at the temple. I told her that God will give her chocolates only if she prays and she goes "why papa, doesn't God love chocolates?” I said he does but he wants to share and he will share only if she prays. She said "papa, I share with my friends.. sharing is good, fighting is bad”.
Akshara is now 3 year and 5 month old. For almost everything we ask her to do, she wants to know the reason. And if we say no to something she asks, she has some advice too. “Sharing is good”, “We are family”, "God loves me"... I think she has learnt this all at her preschool.
The other day I stopped at a gas station and started filling the car. Akshara asked me what is it and I said it’s like chocolate milk for the cars. She asked what else does the car eat and I said nothing else. So goes "papa, I drink chocolate milk and also cookies and chapati and anna saru (Anna Saru = Rice and Rasam in Kannada)”.
Sometimes it will be almost as if she is tricking us! She had once scribbled all over the wall with her crayons. When asked she goes, "papa, I was trying draw a picture of you me and mama". It was almost like emotionally blackmailing me not to scold her :). If she asks for chips or cookies and I say no, she very beautifully says “papa you have to share. Sharing is good, fighting is bad”.
Whenever we are at the grocery shop, she knows her mama will say no for the chocolates and so she comes with me and shows me the chocolate she wants. If I say mama said no to chocolates, she says “papa, [rem]
member.. we are family. Akshara loves papa and mama”.. The way she
says it, I have almost always bought her the chocolate she asked. When she
opens the chocolate wrapper and I ask her to share the chocolate with me, her
answer will be “papa, you are big and chocolates are for small girls like me;
[rem] member”. . (Whenever she says remember, it sounds like member to me!)
The other day at the dinner table my wife asked her to say the prayer she had been thought at the school. She said the first 2 lines and stumbled. Started all over again but kept repeating the first 2 lines. My wife asked her what is happening and she said "mama, that is echo". I was quite sure she forgot the 3rd line but was amused the way she had called the repetition of the first 2 lines as an echo.
We like when she tries to reason everything we ask her to do. Sometimes we are able to reason and sometimes we are not. A question on food, to start with, we know will come very soon. We are vegetarians; we don’t eat meat. Many of Akshara’s friends at school eat meat. My wife and I both know that the day is just around the corner when she asks why we don’t eat meat and why her friends do. We however don’t yet have an answer for her.
There are many more questions of her I am unable to recall as I type this, but I am sure one day the answers to some of her questions will become obvious to her, and she will figure some herself. And also by then, she will have newer questions for which she will expect us to know the answers. Until then, it will be newer reasons and newer tricks and newer happiness as the days go by.
~Narendra V Joshi