Tuesday, June 2, 2015

Anjali - But It's My Cartoon

Yesterday Anjali drew a cartoon, complete with illustrations and dialogue, inspired by the popular Suppandi jokes in the Tinkle Digest. It was well illustrated, had a clear story structure and looked as good a professional job as any, more so for a seven year old. Frankly I am not sure if I could have done something as good at first try.
Cartoon - courtesy Anjali

My first reaction was praise for her effort. Suppandi looked perfect, the joke sticks. And then the adult in me took over. 'You know, between these two slides you could have inserted one more and had that guy say this and this guy say that and it could have been funnier etc etc.

She looked at me, slightly disappointed. 'It's my cartoon. I'll do it that way only.'
That must be for me

Clearly she has visioned it a particular way and executed it - and very well too. Instead of viewing it as it was, I had to add my two bits and take all the fun out of it. Whatever she did, was hers. It is a source of pride for her. Fine there could be scope for improvement but can we wait until asked? Why this instant need to correct that and feel good about it? Why take away the credit for her good work?

In many ways this episode highlights how we demotivate people. Dealing with children gives us an great insight into how to motivate people. Appreciate the progress they make. Look for what is right in it and focus on that. When we pay attention to that, it will grow. Don't look at what is not there because then we will grow what is not there.

Those critical words of ours are killers really. They kill the spirit. Thankfully children are resilient and they bounce back. But after years and years of putting them down and killing their spirit they just might give up on themselves. In our quest to create perfection in other's lives (and not ours, we are perfect already you see) we take our criticism to work places, families etc and demotivate them further.

When someone does work, appreciate the progress they have made instead of looking for perfection so they do more of that. Do this until they develop some belief in themselves. Don't mess up their energy by making them feel that they did not do a good job. It's work in progress. Nobody's perfect all the time. Step back. Chill.

If you can, appreciate it. Some effort has gone into it. Else shut up.

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