Basmati rice, the book bag. Freedoms of expression for chidren.

We love to eat basmati rice in our house.  It smells so fragrant while it’s cooking, if you haven’t tried it you really must.  We buy really large bags of the rice, about the size of a pillowcase.   We buy really large quantities of everything.  The bag actually looks like a pillowcase as it’s cloth, a similar size and it zips up across the top.  It has navy blue and red writing in arabic on the bag, the rice is imported.  This photo is an example, not the actual brand.


But this story is not about rice. It’s about the bag and a little boy.

So my little guy Adam, who is five and in senior kindergarten, decided that he wanted to use the rice bag as his school bag, backpack, knapsack, whatever you call it in your area of the world.

I’ll admit my first instinct was what? Why? No. It’s a rice bag.  But he was so pleased with the idea.  He thought it was going to be the most fantastic book bag anybody had ever seen, you could see it just by looking into his imploring eyes.

So I shrugged and said “Sure, Adam.  I think that will make a fine book bag.”  Well, I don’t know if that is exactly how I said it but that sounds nice doesn’t it?

So Adam put his stuffy (stuffed animal), his lunch kit and his writing/doodling note pad into the rice bag, I mean book bag, while almost losing himself in it as well.

He half carried, half dragged the bag to the end of the driveway to wait for the bus.  I stood in the window watching him, as I often do, unnoticed, observing.  I was reminded of Hallowe’en as a child barely able to lift the pillowcase off the ground it was so heavy and full of candy.

He stood there so pleased with himself.  And I stood there so thankful that I knew to allow him use the rice bag.  I could have so easily taken that opportunity away from him.

Adam is such a funny guy.  He asks to bring the most ‘odd’ things to school with him.  The other day it was dental floss, yes, dental floss.  I assure you he did not want to bring it for dental hygiene reasons, as it’s a challenge just to get him to brush his teeth.  I’ve learned that it’s easier to allow him to bring such items.  I know the teachers at his school.  I hear stories of how all the other children like to see what Adam brings to school next.

My daughter Eden is seven and she loves to dress herself, she always has.  The outfits that she chooses to wear sometimes are rather, errrr eclectic let’s say.  She will often turn a skirt into a shirt with a sash or tuck under sleeves, add beads etc. sometimes it’s rather fantastic what she creates.

When Eden was in junior kindergarten she wanted to wear her tutu to school, she wanted to wear her tutu every day of her life at that age.  So I let her wear it.  This photo was taken the morning of that day that I first let her wear it to school, I think it captures what I am trying to say here.

ImageIt was hard for me to let go of the image of looking ‘put together’.  Especially with having such a large family I was worried that people would assume or judge us based on anything and everything.

I am first generation born Canadian, with a British family up bringing.  Appearances mattered, a lot.  Having a put together home, put together children etc. was very important.   Maybe that’s part of the reason why it’s been a bit of a stretch for me to give the children the freedoms to dress themselves and express themselves with their physical appearance.

I also want to protect my children from the possible teasing that could incur, you know how kids can be but that never seems to happen.  The kids love Adams Basmati rice bag/school bag and his dental floss.

There are so many lessons to be had from children and from raising children.  I just hope that I learn them before I make choices or decisions that unwittingly hold my children back.

Giving children the freedom to dress themselves and express themselves is so vitally important, with in obvious age restrictions and appropriateness of course.

So next time your child asks to use the basmati rice bag as a school bag go ahead and say yes. *Disclaimer I highly doubt this will happen*

Do you let your children have the freedoms to express themselves?  If so how?  Let me know in the comments below.  I’d love to hear about it.

There will be more lessons from my wise little man in the future I’m sure.  Check out my post on Adam’s ‘I wasn’t born for that’ you can find it here.  Shore to shore, what was I born for?

But for now, that will cost you one gumball please, his wisdom ain’t free!

Best to you and yours,

Here are our three youngest.  We refer to them as the ‘littles’ This photo is from a few years back and yes I dressed them, that’s why they match!



23 thoughts on “Basmati rice, the book bag. Freedoms of expression for chidren.

  1. Jennifer,
    Your writing made me “smile” and recall a time many years ago, when my then five year old son chose to wear his big sister’s denim overalls to Kindergarten. He rolled up the long legs, the bottom hanging practically to the floor. He thought that he was a carpenter. Another time, he collected and taped so many feathers to his arms. He thought he was a bird! Thankfully, he only hopped off the lower porch step. Precious! Enjoy these times together.

  2. Your message is wise and your writing is so inviting… so very easy to read. My youngest is obsessed with polka-dots. If she sees any article of clothing with polka-dots, she must wear it. And she does. She’s 1 and she is her own person, just like your Adam…

  3. How wonderful that you have given your children an amazing gift–the freedom and encouragement to be themselves. Thank you for giving me a little inspiration boost this morning. 😉

  4. Your family observations are fun to read. I relate to the bit about struggling to let children choose their own clothes as with my third son (no girls) my youngest one day said to me ,can I please choose my own clothes and not make everything match.
    Thank you for visiting and liking my site.

  5. I remembered my children, every time we decided to buy their new clothes, we never have the right to pick the design we wanted for them otherwise you will see their frowning faces. Kids 🙂

  6. Thank you for the like on my blog. My son wore a tutu over his jeans at home until he was about three. He got a far off look in his eyes last spring and said, “Mom, where is my tutu?” 🙂

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