Tuesday, December 15, 2015

Connecting urban children with rural life

Most of our children today grow up in cities and towns leading sophisticated lifestyles and as a result, they hardly get the opportunity to experience a unique type of life their parents and grandparents have enjoyed back in the village. Although the towns and cities do have various modern facilities that make life in general easier and more comfortable, villages have their own unique natural beauty and charm. So while many parents in urban centers are busy looking for means to engage their children meaningfully during this long winter vacation, I and my wife are sending our children to the village to let them experience a unique way of rustic life as well as to get them closer to their grandparents. We have been taking them to the village at least for a month every winter with the hope that they would learn to appreciate the beauty of rural life and realize the real value of family and community bonding.

This year, we are sending our eldest son and daughter earlier with their aunt while we are planning to follow them with our youngest son sometime in January 2016. They are leaving on 17th of this month. However, the saddest thing is that I don’t have a village to go to and because of this, my children always have to go to their mother’s village. My wife’s village in Sibsoo is a perfect place to go to experience a real rural life. Blest with abundant natural vegetation and the lack of accessible roads, it provides an ideal opportunity for my children to enjoy their vacation in a uniquely beautiful setting. I am sure they can learn a lot about the village life by herding cattle and goats, feeding pigs and chickens, collecting firewood, fetching water and helping grandparents in the fields. The good part is that there are no electronic gadgets in the village and the TV does not have most of the paid channels. So, they would get enough time to explore the natural environment around the village and interact with other children. It would be a real break for them from the apparently busy urban life.

My wife always says that if we do not let our children see the village life, their perspective of the world around them will never be complete. She believes in the wholesome learning of our children and she always insists that they should go to the village at least once a year to experience that unique life and learn to appreciate the difference. The social and human values which have shaped our social life for ages are now fast breaking down in the cities and towns, but they are still intact in the villages. The pure innocence of villagers and their children, the value of respecting parents and the elderly, and routine traditional and cultural practices are some of the things we hope our children can still learn if they remain connected to the village. Moreover, exposure to the hardships of rural life might help them appreciate the value of whatever we invest for their education, health and personal wellbeing. More importantly, they will be able to know their close relatives so that they won’t be strangers to each other when they grow up. Otherwise, there will be generational gaps created within the same family-tree like that of mine. More than half of my relatives are totally cut off from me and I have no idea where they are simply because my father had migrated to a different village from where we could never catch up with those relatives left behind in the ancestral village. So in order to avoid similar mistakes as well as to give them the opportunity to experience the type of life their grandparents have been living for years, we have been sending our children to the village at least once a year with the hope that they would be able to grow up with a balanced view of the world around them. . My eldest son still remembers being beaten by leeches during one of the summer vacations in the village. He also remembers how monkeys used to invade the orange orchard every now and then. For him, all these experiences were part of his life-long learning. Although our children are quite reluctant to go without us this time, we are hopeful that continuous exposure to such experiences might contribute to shaping their lives positively in the future. We will be joining them soon though.


  1. Hi ABS,

    Nice article and good thinking. Two questions:

    1. What happened to your village that you don't have one to send your children to?

    2. Have you considered sending them to a western or central or an eastern village home for your children to interact with village life that is different from those that they are used to? I am sure you have some good friends whose parents may be willing to play host to them for few weeks. I would have been happy to get my old dad and my half sister to host them ... unfortunately my village does not qualify as a "rural village" any more and the lifestyle there is no different from the one that your children are already used to.

  2. Dear Yeshi Sir,

    Thank u for dropping by and leaving your comment la. My answers to your questions are as follows:
    1. I don't have a village to go to because although my census is registered in Chengmari, it's not my original village. My late father had migrated from his ancestral home in Dorokha and settled in Chengmari where we didn't have anything. Now my uncle is the head of the family but he is settled in Samtse and literarily we don't have anything in Chengmari except our census record.

    2. I would love to send my children to other remote communities but right now they are too young to be able to travel on their own. Surely I will take them when they grow up la. And thank you so much for your willingness to host my kids in your village la.

    Once again, many many thanks for checking out this article and leaving your encouraging comment. It means a lot to me la.