The Carlisle Mosquito Online

Friday, May 23, 2008


It takes a town to raise a child


“What is the best thing about your school year?” I casually asked my younger daughter, Namita. She looked at me with a smile and said, “Everything,” making me realize it takes every aspect of the school and town to help a child thoroughly enjoy a school year.

You know children are enjoying an activity when they are eager to get ready, be it early morning on a weekend or weekday. Namita can’t wait to get up early for her Friday morning chess class or weekend chess tournaments. We thank David West for that – a composed person who can handle crowds of children with ease. He is also helpful to us parents (with challenged memory power), reminding us of the chess events, and he even registers our child once we say we can attend. We can’t miss an opportunity when it is made so easy! The least we can do is to drive our child to the tournaments. There are also wonderful parents like those of Rholee Xu, who are willing to carpool to the chess events.

I must admit I have sometimes secretly wished for the clouds to thicken and rain to pour especially when it comes to chauffeuring my child to soccer practice after a hectic day at work. My older daughter Anagha picked travel soccer; I remember asking her repeatedly, “Are you sure you want to do this?” each time crossing my fingers hoping she would back out. Much to my dismay she said yes, and she hasn’t changed her mind yet; this is her second season. Perhaps it is her true love for the sport that compels her to keep an almost perfect attendance despite a string of losses. Over time, our friends in Carlisle have made it easy; Monica Chen’s family carpools with us, easing the burden of twice-a-week practice sessions and out-of-town games.

Namita plays in-town soccer, which is less stressful because no travel is involved. Her coach, David Massicott, a father with three daughters, handles the demands of these young and vibrant players with ease. No player wants to be the goalie; we appreciate his negotiation skills as he gives each child a fair chance at all positions. Most importantly the snacks and extra water bottles that the coach’s wife, Tricia Massicott, brings, show that they genuinely care for each of their players.

In everything that Anagha has participated in, this school year – the math league, writer’s guild, yearbook, or student council – she has shared her insights with me, like her thoughts on why Carlisle Math Leagues always secure the last or second-to-last position and events that happen at school dances. Listening to my preteen’s new breadth of analysis and knowing that she is invariably learning from people she crosses paths with adds pressure for me to pay attention to my words and actions. There may be a child out there trying to emulate me or judge my reaction, even if it is just for a second. ∆

© 2008 The Carlisle Mosquito