Jinx-A Vignette of Conscious Parenting

By Madhavi Sibal Mehra 

Have you ever had someone 'jinx' you?  It's when two people say the same word, at exactly the same time and one calls out 'JINX'. You might remember playing this game when you were a child. According to the rules of the game, the one 'jinxed', can't talk until permitted by the other. The other must say OVER that allows the other to speak. If you speak without the magic words being uttered, the penalty is being pinched and tickled, especially if you are playing with younger, enthusiastic participants who happen to be your children. 

The jinx has been cast and the game proceeds. You begin to indulge the one 'unjinxed' by attempting to use sign language to communicate. Your hands become your tongue, your fingers acquire a language.  As you, desperately but fruitlessly try to convey your thoughts, they giggle with glee. Seeing their parent look silly and helpless is amusing to the young participants. On your part, as a parent, you are only being magnanimously indulgent of this gleeful amusement. 

The game continues even when you stop at the local store to pick up home supplies.  They watch you proceed in silence, on what might at other times have been a vocal exercise with the store helpers. Your response to the demands of your little ones for a packet of chips or cola is the customary refusal. Except today you shake your head more rigorously to get your disapproval, of their food choices, across effectively. 

The shopkeeper and other shoppers mistake you for a mute. They look at you with pity eyes. 'Dumb? Me? Hell no! I can talk. Quite well actually!' revolts a little voice inside your head. And just as you clear your throat to prove just that to the co-shoppers, the self-appointed referee of the game tugs at your shirt sleeve. It's a non-verbal reminder that the game is still on.

To hell with strangers, you are the keeper of promises, the follower of rules, the role model. What message would you send if you used your "power position" as a parent to put an end to the game? So you decide to play along.

Actually, that's not the only reason why you play along. You do it because it is getting to be fun. Not just for the children but for you too. You watch the delight on your children's faces at having you twisted up for not being able to utter a single word. You realise that your giving up something has brought joy to those you love. Your silences have said more in those moments than your words have in numerous others.

Then after a lot of eyelid batting and pleading in dumb charades on your part, they let you off the hook. And at once the magic words are uttered, your are set free. Free to talk, free to use your voice. Free to be in command...again! Your children have happily relinquished their power and have returned your throne back to you. You are free to rule, be the person in control, until the next time they jinx you!


Posted in Default Category on June 26 at 02:44 PM

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