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[Global Conversations] Competing Demands on Time

A family of fishermen discusses the competing demands on their time that keep them away from spending time with their daughter and preparing her for a bright future.

Photo of Jharkhand Community India [Global Conversations]
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This story was submitted by mobile phone as part of the Amplify program's Global Conversations project, an effort to extend the reach of this challenge to communities without reliable access to the Internet.

This story was submitted by Rashmi from Manjhi-Chakla in response to a weekly program on  Hopes and Dreams relating to early childhood development.

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My name is Rashmi and I am speaking from Manjhi-Chakla. We sell fish for a living… and we are sorry that we cannot spare enough time for our daughter. We are free only on few days. On some days when we cannot go to work, we spend time with our daughter, but not otherwise. You might wonder why we don’t want to educate our daughter and make her independent, but we just don’t get enough time. When we come back from the bazaar in the evening, we spend half an hour or an hour to teach her. We also drop her to her classes… But we can’t spare as much time as we should.

This story underscores the role tha competing demands play in parenting decisions. Even when caretakers are educated about strategies to set young children up for success, they often fall short because of work or other obligations. How might we support parents in engaging with their children despite competing demands on their time? How might we design solutions that improve the earliest years of life taking into account the difficulties that parents face when it comes to time?

We welcome comments from the OpenIDEO community below. Some of your comments below may be translated, recorded and shared back with the person who submitted this story.   


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Photo of Anne-Laure Fayard

Dear Rashmi, thank you for sharing your story and concern. While being with your daughter is important, I think your message illustrates your love and I'm sure she can feel it and that this is what matters. I know a family where the parents have money and time but they feel overwhelmed by their children and prefer to be at work that with them during weekend, and tend to leave them with babysitters. I think this has a much more negative effect that parents like you who love their kids and do their best for them.
Remember also that she is also getting a lot of learning through other interactions - at school, with her friends, with family.
Good luck and thanks for sharing your story!

Photo of An Old Friend

I completely agree with you, Anne. Children are very sensitive and can read subliminal cues from their environment. Although Rashmi is a very harried parent, the fact that she is trying her best reveals the the genuineness of her care. Her approach is far better that that of parents who show they love only by letting their children run loose with their credit cards.

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