Sandhya Acharya: Not Bad For An Adult

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Sandya Acharya’s son creates a stuffed animal and a lesson in being kind to yourself.

One night, after putting the kids to bed, my husband and I took stock of our 6-year-old’s latest creation a stuffy isopod. He had used an old bedsheet for the body, brown felt pieces for its limbs, and two black sharpie smudges for its eyes. And even though the crustacean felt lumpy, the limbs were of different sizes and the stitches scattered all over, we were in awe. “Not bad for a 6-year-old!” we exclaimed.

As adults, we are kind to our children when they try new things. Even if the circle isn’t round, we admire it. Even if the handwriting is loopy, we applaud it. We clap when they jump rope 30 times and cheer when they run around the block.

But when it comes to appraising ourselves, we have different standards. We want to break our personal record each time we run. The dishwasher must always be clean, the garden bed flourishing and breakfast must always be hot. Even when we take up something new, we forget to adjust the scale. We set unrealistic goals and are disappointed when we fail.

But what if we are kinder to ourselves; enjoy a slow leisurely hike, laud ourselves for reading a book, play tag with the kids, do art for art’s sake? We would perhaps cherish our successes more, accept our failures better and be open to trying new things. We would be happier.

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With this conviction in mind, the next day, I agreed to make my son an origami dragonfly. It wasn’t easy, but it was my first time. I watched a video and followed along. I folded, turned, pressed. Finally, it was done! I triumphantly handed the paper insect to my son, waiting for him to gush over it. My son picked it up and looked at it closely. He flapped its wings, let it fly and wound and unwound the rolled-up-head.

Then he looked at me and said, “Not bad for an adult.”

With a Perspective, I’m Sandhya Acharya.

Sandhya Acharya is an author of children’s books.