My daughter came to me this morning asking me to help her make a paper boat. She already had a paper boat in her hand which her friend had made and wanted me to help her make a similar one using colored paper. I looked at the paper boat her friend had made and felt I too could make one as I used to when I was a kid.
We took the colored paper of her choice and sat down to make the paper boats. I tried to recall how I used to make them as I folded the paper. By two or three folds I realized I had forgotten how to make a paper boat. I called my father, then my mother and later my wife to see if they knew how to make it. Everybody tried different folds but none came even close to a boat. My daughter all the while waited eagerly yet patiently for me to make that last fold and show her the boat.
I was thinking of logging on to the internet and search for steps to make a paper boat when Akshara’s friend who had made that boat came to our house. She is a year or two older than Akshara and they usually play together. I asked her if she knew how to make the paper boat and she said yes. I requested her to show us how it was made and she immediately sat down to make a paper boat.
We eagerly watched her as she chose the paper, cut it, fold it and paste it to make the boat. Once she had the single colored boat, she cut small pieces of paper of other matching colors and stuck them to the boat. Soon she had a beautiful colored boat ready. She then looked at me and asked if I wanted to make one. I followed her steps and had a new boat ready. She looked at the boat I had made and said “Good job uncle” with a thumbs up!!
As I mauled over my paper boat learning's this afternoon, I realized I had not learnt 1 but 3 things today.
Learning # 1 - Learning for me will never end. There is something for me to learn from everybody around me, young and old.
Learning # 2 - Sometimes things that look seemingly simple can turn out to be the most complicated. So the next time my daughter wants me to help her with something, I have to think through completely before promising to help.
And learning # 3 – How to make a paper boat, thanks to that little girl!!!
~Narendra V Joshi