Updated: Aug 18
When Sanat and his family relocated to the East Bay from India for a job opportunity in the tech industry, everybody felt a bit disoriented. His young son, Yatharth, became very fearful of strangers and would cry whenever anyone approached.
Eager to help his son adjust, Sanat decided to investigate fatherhood classes at Aspiranet’s Monument First 5 Center in Concord, which provides services to families with children 0-5 years old. Sanat admits he was a bit skeptical at first.
“I thought, ‘Why do I need those classes? I can watch the best parenting videos. But then I thought, let’s just give it a chance.”
As a software engineer, Sanat’s instincts were to look for answers online. It took only one class for him to recognize the value of sharing experiences with other fathers.
“The other fathers started speaking, and I found that’s not the same thing I can get from videos,” he says. “Here I can see the real scenarios, and I can teach myself how to handle the same scenario with my kid. Every day was a new learning for me.”
Sanat realized this was more than he was going to get from any social network or YouTube. After the first day, he says, “I never missed a class.”
Sanat is especially grateful for the diverse, multilingual staff who have created a welcoming environment for families from a variety of backgrounds.
“Everybody wants to be a good parent, so the motive is the same: everyone wants to give the best to their child. I saw that everyone wants to speak– whether their native language was Spanish, or Hindi, or English– they want to speak.”
“They want to tell their stories, and the staff create that environment. After that I started speaking.”
His wife Babita also comes to the First 5 Center three times a week with their son, and they’ve seen a dramatic change in Yatharth’s behavior.
“After two weeks he started hanging out with the other kids, and now he’s perfectly fine and I really feel a big relief,” Sanat says. “That teacher’s patience, teaching my wife and me how to handle our son when he’s cranky — all the credit goes to this place.”