Hello everyone. I do not often talk about my children on this blog. As I have a teenager and a not teenager (but thinks he is one), I am conscious that while they are my children, they have their own semi-adult lives now and it may not be fair for me to be continually discussing them. Hence, I generally refrain from it. Today, however, I am going to make an exception for the greater good.
A few days ago, I read an anonymous post by a young mother who shared that she was struggling with her two young children and allocating time for them and their activities, leaving her wondering if the time spent on hobbies/activities was worth it. Her post touched a cord in my heart as I think most adults have found themselves in a similar stretched situation. Juggling various responsibilities in a finite amount of time is an exhausting task, even for the most organized of us (a club of which, unfortunately, I am not a member). I find that one of the biggest challenges of parenthood is dividing my time and attention to meet all the children’s needs and those of the adults that form part of my family and friends.
Often, when we are in a tricky situation it is normal to wonder if others face similar hurdles or if we are somehow specially blessed with unique trials and tribulations that seem to traumatize no one else. In times of parental anxiety, I have always found solace and a new perspective in reading about the experiences of others. In this spirit of sharing, I offer the following personal experience to the time stretched mothers and fathers who may be wondering what the results of time-consuming hobbies that small children pursue can be.
Our older son has had an aeroplane obsession for almost a decade now. I believe that the fledgeling roots of his passion have their origin in him watching the planes fly overhead in his grandparents garden as a young child. In the beginning, he would observe planes everywhere, and he then started requesting models of airplanes. Frankly, this proved to be quite convenient as no in-depth thought was required to buy him a present – we just thought planes and came up with a smashing present every time. With time, his interest deepened and soon he would happily use his allocated computer time looking up planes and plane related facts and figures.
As his knowledge grew, so did his requirements. Soon, the obsession started getting quite expensive as now not just any plane model would do. His lovely little head only wanted die-cast models (not plastic) that had to be to 1:400 scale (my husband once made the mistake of buying a 1:600 model from Zurich airport that resulted in a big sulk). Then, one day he declared that he would like to go to the area around the airport and look at planes. So on a beautiful cold morning, my husband joined the ‘plane spotters’ brigade and took our son to look at planes. This is when the hobby took a drastic new turn. Our son loved going to view planes and was up to ‘plane-spot’ at any time.
What happened next you ask? Dear son decided to take a picture with a phone camera of the planes he saw. This monumental decision had a tremendous impact on his plane hobby and free time. He wanted to take plane pictures all the time. Now, my husband happens to have a keen interest in photography and uses a great camera and some powerful lenses. Soon enough, our offspring discovered that when daddy took a picture it had much more depth and form than his photographs. His growing brain quickly deduced that better equipment often meant a better photograph. So next, he wanted to borrow his father’s camera and lenses. At this point, we objected and said no as he did not have the necessary know-how to use this sophisticated equipment.
Praise the Lord; it is truly amazing what children can teach themselves when they are really after something. Son went on the internet and with the wealth of knowledge available (youtube being a huge contributor) started to teach himself photography. Not only did he teach himself the basics – but he also taught himself lightroom and photoshop (but alas, he is still unable to fully figure out the intricate workings of our dishwasher).
We finally decided to take a big chance and let him loose with better photographic equipment. He now photographs planes any chance he gets. We cannot book any trip without his input in terms of which airline, which plane and which airport we shall utilise. Indirect flights are preferential as they offer more photography opportunities – sometimes I put my foot down when the proposition involves more than two changes. All our trips to any airport (foreign or domestic) require leaving early to build in time for photography. When we visit a new country, photography rules are researched well ahead of time and ‘plane spotting and photography’ is done at all times. This often means waking up at ungodly hours in the morning and then ubering or walking to locations that he has researched well ahead of time. We then have to stand for hours, often in rain and cold, to capture the perfect shot of a rare plane that is on its first or last journey.
Sometimes, my patience cracks and I threaten no ‘plane-spotting’ on a vacation. My husband has proved to have far more patience than me and has woken up on many a freezing morning to accompany him on a shoot. As he is still too young to be left alone in these situations- the whole family is now subjected to his plane pursuits. Both sets of grandparents in London and Los Angeles will take the time to take him plane-spotting for hours on end at various airports. Uncles and aunts will arrange tours of regional airports and wait in cars for hours so that he can indulge his passion.
The point of the above story is simply the following. All our children will have interests that will span a gamut of activities. Some interests will seem most useful, and others will seem quite useless. Often, these interests will require a big chunk of a precious commodity – our time and their time. This requirement can cause frustration and often it is tempting to just say no. However, my personal experience has taught me this. When we as parents help cultivate a hobby, we may be providing the biggest gift of all. We are helping to develop a passion that will feed their creativity for a lifetime. We are also enabling them to learn another valuable life lesson; nothing in life is free. Excelling at any skill requires enormous amounts of time and dedication. In most cases, it will require hundreds of hours of practice and often giving up precious free time in order to spend developing that skill. We are proceeding with the plan that if we can help him understand this basic life fact and excel at a skill, then we have partly succeded in our parenting duties.
What has been the result of this time investment? His knowledge about commercial aviation is second to none and he has become a rather good photographer to boot. He has a substantial Instagram following, an aviation blog and he has managed to get his pictures published on jetPhoto. I often joke with him that I could get him a job if child labour weren’t against the law.
Below are three of my favourite photographs that the 15-year-old in question has taken in the last few years:
Out the plane window..
Heathrow Control Tower
Out the window of a Southwest plane heading out of Las Vegas
That said, let’s get back to fashion. in this lookbook, I am wearing a silk saree that was part of the wedding clothes gifted to me by my mother-in-law. I loved this saree the moment I set eyes on it – yet it has never been worn in the past 17 plus years that I have owned it. Perhaps the right event never arose or like many a woman before me – I kept saving it for the perfect occasion (which in my head was a winter wedding day event). I absolutely adore the rather unusual pale pink and green colour combination and the two-toned gold and silver floral motifs that grace the saree. I think classic never goes out of style and this silk saree hits all the classical high notes. I have paired it with a beautiful kundan stone set from Toraan design that I have also lookbooked in a previous blog (Handloom Sarees: What Makes a Great Indian Outfit – Money or Styling?).
I hope you enjoyed this lookbook as much as I enjoyed wearing this saree. Have a great rest of the week and thank you for visiting Isha’s Verdict.