A conversation this morning with my son, who is thinking of running for student council as a class rep, and he is doubting himself, on whether he can make the speech in front of his whole class, whether he is popular enough to be voted on and whether his skin is too brown for it.
And here I am wondering how he even got such an idea into his head, that he is too brown to be a rep. But then again, children pick up from their own observations and perceptions about themselves, and we get this little window every now and then to peep in and see how they feel in their own skin.
And here I was trying to make him see exactly why he would be great as a class rep, given his creative side to come up with ideas all the time, to question things that don't make sense to him, and to ask all those endless questions of 'why' and 'why not'?!
"Why, even your teacher gave you a positive referral for this very thing, buddy," I say to him. "She commends the fact that you are always willing to share your ideas with the class."
He grew thoughtful. Brows knitted in concentration as he mulled the reason why she would have said that. And then a sudden smile of illumination.
"Oh, I know why she said that!"
"Why, why why?" I poke eagerly, impatient to know the great glorious reason why he was so noticed for it.
"The other day, in class, we were talking about something 'man-made'. And I asked her about that!" he replied sagely.
"What? What did you ask her exactly? What?"
"I asked her why it couldn't be 'human-made' instead of 'man-made'. Even a woman could have made it right?"
Bowled. Over. Completely.
And I could see why she would have been too.
We have never talked of feminism or equal rights or gender inequalities at home. This is original thinking, straight from the mad hatter's hat, untampered by nurture. And I am so darn glad for it.
"This is exactly why you should run for student council Sathya," I told him. "You are now thinking for all students, male and female."
He smiled. I could see that small flicker of confidence born in him. He was toying with the idea of being voted as rep. I could see that fantasy playing itself out in his head.
My job was done. He has gone in to brush and groom himself for school. Fingers crossed, when he comes out, it will be with a rough draft of a speech in his head! Wish me luck! More importantly, wish him luck!