In the course of my journey so far with Khel Khel Mein foundation, I have come across many children of different attitudes, habits, and behaviours. Some days, you feel that they are the best set of children, and then, some other days, the same kids are creating havoc. This is the story of my highly energetic and motivated group of 5th graders in Angoori Khirki.
Pooja is one of the children studying in grade 5 at Angoori Khirki. She is a sweet girl in the class when the teacher is around. But in the absence of a teacher, she is entirely different and dictates terms to the other kids.
The problem was, she used the leadership skills to make other kids part of activities she likes rather than what the teachers assigned to them. So, to have a proper session with children, it was important to take Pooja in confidence. We initially did this by changing the course enough to meet her requirement. Slowly and quietly, we started asking her to do the activities that we wanted her to do.
I changed my methods of mentoring to ensure she willingly participated in all the activities. For instance, she didn’t like the warm up exercises, and only wanted to run around the playground. So we played a lot of running based games. These exhausted her enough to want to do cool-down exercises like stretching. Explaining the importance of these practices made her also see the benefits. She felt relaxed after and said that she started enjoying them. This was a win for us.
After each session, I used to sit with her to get to know her and build trust. This made her realise that we were there for her growth and benefit, and were not against her in any way.
Slowly, she started to do the warm-up sessions on her own. There was another incident that made her realise the importance of teamwork. We got the kids to play Kho-Kho one day. She ran throughout the game, but could not catch her opponents. Exhausted and frustrated, she asked me, “Bhaiya, ye kya khila rahe ho?” (What are you making us play?). I made her observe the opponents game. She realised that she needed to tag her teammates to win the game. She immediately started applying this new knowledge. But, none of her teammates tagged her or wanted to be tagged by her. She also realised that day that she was not in good terms with anyone, and bossing others doesn’t make them like us. She decided from then on to make friends. And also to work with everyone as a team and win the future games.
She finally started understanding what we wanted to achieve with the program. She not only followed my instructions but also helped me manage the class. The changes in her behaviour and manner have been noticed by all her classmates too. They say she has become much calmer now. I am proud of her growth and hope to see more in future.
Anjali, a class 3 student, is another student of mine. She was quiet, shy, and remained aloof from the team. I saw the potential in her and made her the lead during the exercises. I also made her the group monitor. At the end of the first month, I was pleased to see that she had started coming out of her shell. She began engaging much more in the games and was also highly energetic during class. She not only understood the games herself but also explained the rules and cleared the doubts of her classmates too.
These are two of the many students and incidents I have encountered during my fellowship. The different environments that the children come from have influenced each story. We might not be able to change their domestic situation, but I believe that we can instil confidence in them through sports. Each one has something unique to them. We just need to spark that potential. With all these skills, they can take care of the rest themselves.
About Khel Khel Mein Foundation:
Khel Khel Mein is working towards creating and establishing self-sustainable sports model in schools and communities. Their aim is to infuse enriching values like camaraderie, teamwork, perseverance, work ethics and mental strength in a child’s personality using sports as the medium and create self-sustainable sports structures to promote experiential learning for children.
PLAY. PERFORM. PROSPER
– Submitted by Khel Khel Mein Foundation sports mentor Thakur Bikram Singh
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