I couldn’t help contrast Ricky’s life with my formative years. As kids, if we misbehaved, our mother would tell us she had brought us from the grocery store, and she threatened to return us there. We were dreadfully scared of the big size man- the thick moustached proprietor who raised his eyes to quieten us when we were restless at his shop. Once my brother wondered since he hadn’t seen any other children at the shop display, maybe the man is no more selling kids! At the right age, we knew the secret code that is transferred amongst parents for babies to be born, but that was a forbidden topic – as children, we thought babies either grew on trees or picked from a shop.

If I grew up with Ricky, I’d be a buffoon. But I am glad my parents never insisted I score high marks in school. They were content if I merely passed my exams, and I could play the whole day without guilt.

Today, however, things are different.

I hoped to see Ricky’s childish behavior, but he was grave; he spoke and ate like the grown-ups. I asked him what he loves to eat, and was happy when he exclaimed his love for mangoes.

Suddenly, however, I worried maybe Ricky is like an artificially ripened mango where Calcium carbide reduced the juice content. On the other hand, a naturally ripened mango not only contains more juice, but it’s also healthier. Likewise, when children comment on North Korea’s nuclear program, the fluid of their lives is sucked out of their system; children, who grow up as children, would cry when they feel like, and laugh and play when they want. The foundation of their future emotional growth is the experiences of catching frogs or playing the games Tom Sawyer played in his courtyard. Interestingly, Mark Twain confessed he wrote his famous novels more for adults because they often forget what it is to be a happy child; they need to remember what they once were themselves, and what they felt and thought.

Let’s not snatch away the precious years of our children. Let’s remain assured that one day when your child stops asking you how babies appear you would know for sure he is growing up!

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