Life is a strange journey that brings you full circle, soon enough to realize mistakes, smile and say, “Oh! now I understand”. As a teenager, I was very rebellious. Set norms and patterns always bothered me. Moreover, not only was I too unreasonable in my demands at times, I was also too vocal about my likes and dislikes, my mother often becoming the soft target of all my frustrations. One thing I vowed was to never bring up my kids on the same mundane laid down patterns and made sure my Mom got to hear what I had to say about it. But every time I said any such thing I saw a strange smile on her face, a smile which I always expected would break out into words like, ”we’ll see…” but somehow she never said any thing, just that smile. And today I know the meaning of that smile, way to well. Oh yes, two kids down the line, I feel at times I’m treading my mom’s footsteps. Every time I worry about my daughter, her behavior, her eating habits, her friends, her school, studies, homework, interests and the what-nots of bringing up children, I feel without her answering, I have the answers to the thousands of questions which used to fill up my mind then. A week back my nine month old just started crawling and sitting on his own, both almost simultaneously. The new developments thrilled all of us and every time he made an effort we would clap and encourage him. Our clapping delighted him and he would rush into the whole thing again with a big toothless grin brightening his face. His simple grin made me realize how important appreciation is in life, making even a small child so happy. The thought further pulled me back to the days of my childhood when my mother used to say, “As important as accepting appreciation gracefully, is the art of appreciating the small gifts of life and once you learn that, you’ll always have a reason to smile.” How true! If there is any art we need to teach our children today, then it’s the art of appreciating the beauty in small little gifts of life; the giggle of a baby, the fluttering of a butterfly, the sound of raindrops, the colors of flowers , the smell of warm food, an act of kindness, any help big or small and so many such things which, in our day to day lives we tend to take for granted. I had read somewhere once that the best way to make your child appreciate the importance of something is to let the child mull over how things would be without it. Let’s say, you ask your child “what if there were no flowers?” you’ll be surprised at the answers you might get. If nothing else, at least you’ll set their minds at work The art of appreciation won’t develop overnight, not even in days or a year. It’s a slow process which will take time, a long time, infact years to eventually become a part of your child’s personality and that would be a gift from you, which would be cherished forever. A gift which would be appreciated, the way I today appreciate that smile of my Mom. Had it not been for that smile, I would have never appreciated how difficult it is to be patient when your child is being most impatient with you. Another art, yet to be mastered!