Over the past days, I have watched quite a number of documentaries commemorating the life of the late Queen of Hearts – Princess Diana.

Now, take away the personal drama from her life, she was really an icon to be reckoned with. With her, it wasn’t just about the monies raised for different ‘charities’ and ‘causes’. It was about touching hearts in the very places where they hurt and this principle of hers was evident in the way she interacted with the people she represented.

I honestly cannot quite get over the way she interacted with outcasts such as lepers and HIV patients. As in, she broke all protocol and leaned in for close, raw, heart-warming ‘contact’ despite the fact that prior to her era, the royals never actually made skin-to-skin contact with the commoners. They always wore gloves. Diana, on the other hand, went all out – Gloveless.

Okay, so what does all this Diana talk have to do with our children? I will explain…

So, school is about resuming and as is tradition, my 4-year old has her new school bag, shoes and water bottle ready. However, I started thinking – Is there anything really wrong with the school items she used in the previous session except for the fact that they are now old and may need some touch-ups here and there? Not really. Nevertheless, with this being a new school year, I still have that natural inclination to treat my daughter with bits and pieces of something new. Hence, the new school items.

Okay, rather than let the old items go to waste, my plan was to give them out to people who will need them. Usually, this is an ‘act’ I carry out on my own. But, this time around, it occurred to me that rather than go on my ‘mission’ alone, I will involve my 4-year old in the ‘giving’ process. So, I told her to think of one person who we could share her old stuffs with. Someone who did not have quite as much as she did. Someone who will appreciate it. Someone in whose life those seemingly little items will make a difference. My request then led to our usual mommy-daughter chatter which I will not go into.

Now, the reason why I did what I did was because, inspite of her age, I want my daughter to begin thinking a little bit more deeply about the realities of life. You know, even when we think we have little, there is always someone who has less than we do. Hence, rather than constantly being so self-absorbed in our own lives, we must step out of ourselves and touch the lives that cross our paths. Actually, rather than just accept what comes naturally our way, we must go the extra mile. You know, break the rules and go out of our way to make ‘that’ difference by putting ‘that’ smile on someone’s face.

Okay, when she has a lot, I know it is easy to share. Hence, beyond sharing her ‘excess’, I want her to also learn that, sometimes in life, it is equally important to let go of the only pie you have just so that you can set it on another person’s table.
These were some of the principles that I believe guided Diana through life and I really do pray that it will be one of the principles that guides my children through life. Actually, this is a prayer I believe all of us parents should pray. Then, as God does His part, we too must do our part, nudging our children in the desired direction through ‘involvement’ and not just ‘teachings’. Yes, we must not just tell our children about what we did for XYZ, we must get them appropriately involved as we do some of these stuffs for XYZ.

In addition, we must be the perfect role models. You know, I see Diana’s sons, William and Harry, going out of their way to do stuffs that they may ordinarily not have done. However, thanks to their mother’s legacy, they feel compelled to occasionally step out of their glamorous world and put themselves out there for people.

So, I ask myself – what legacy am I leaving for my generation? Am I getting down on my knees and drawing people close? Yes? Okay, when I do so, do I do so whole heartedly? Or, are there light traces of hesitation in me? Can my children sight a silent inward cringe in body language? The honest truth is that if I try to fake ‘it’ – if you try to fake ‘it’ – our children will see right through us and it will be all meaningless, in the long run.

I could go on and on but I will rest my case at this junction hoping that I have been able to push one or two of us towards raising wholesome children who will throw away the ‘gloves’ and touch a world that so desperately needs touching.

Image Courtesy: Hello Magazine