Yesterday was a really pleasant afternoon. I thought to leave the institute a little early and avail the chance to pay my utility bills and school fees of my two kids. I found my kids, Mimi and Pipi, at home. I took them for a ride to the bank so that it could be a little outing for them and I could pay the bills.
We reached the bank well before bank closing. We had time and I thought instead of simply paying the bills myself why not turn this into a learning experience for my kids. I asked my elder daughter, Mimi who is recently promoted to grade four, to take a paper and pen, make a list of all the bills and make two fee slips. Initially she didn’t have any idea how to complete the task. With a little help she drew a table and filled it with the information. I asked her how much we need to pay to clear our dues. She started adding five four-digit amounts. Then I extended the situation and asked her, if we pay fifteen thousand rupees to the person at the bill collection window, how much will he return to us. She confirmed the sum she needed to do with me and then started subtracting amounts. She told me that we will get thirty rupees in change. I handed over the bills to Pipi (recently promoted to preparatory grade) and the money to Mimi, and asked them to go to the window and submit the dues. I sat comfortably to watch what happened. Both were a bit anxious but very excited as it was their first experience at submitting bills at the bank. Both went to the window. Pipi found it a little difficult to reach her hand up to the counter but she managed it by standing on her toes. It was funny to see the cashier stand up to see who was beneath the bills and fee slips! Both sisters submitted their first ever payment slips in the bank and came back with the body language of queens! This gave me immeasurable pleasure. Almost everyone - including some mothers - in the bank had noticed us, and there were some passing smiles of appreciation. I am quite sure, if not all then at least some of them will certainly use this idea with their kids.
This situation took ten to twelve minutes. I can do it in a few seconds but then I would have missed the sight of both sisters walking towards me. Those additional ten minutes had changed them; more confident and closer to the real world.