Friday, 17 June 2011

Padhaai Ki Gaddi!!!

“Mom, when I grow big, I’m gonna be a painter and will paint the whole town’s road red”. I don’t like their color now.” His mom smiled and said, “But your father and I have decided that you will be an engineer”. Confused, he said, “Mom when I grow up what I become is my business right, how can you decide for me?” Surprised by the answer the mother replies, “We know what is better and a painter is no job” and brushed away the conversation. Alas! The mother has no clue that she has already sown the first seed of disagreement about her own son’s future and decision by disagreeing to what he wishes to do. A childish dream may be, but this was whooshed away!

This episode is one of life’s most common and unavoidable situations and conversations that take place in our lives. Almost on a daily basis, the perpetual arguments, fights and disagreements happen when a child longs to do something and on the other side parent’s sketch an altogether different picture for them. Choices are the most misunderstood, misinterpreted and wrongly practiced practice of life. Children, choice and parents don’t really go hand in hand. Do they? Parents don’t understand children and vice versa, is a forever debatable talk.

It’s not that parent’s are always fault. Poor souls, since the time lady fortune lays a child into the cradle of their life, they try to give only the best. The child being the flesh and blood of them becomes the very life of their lives. But, I guess, somewhere down the lane, they tend to forget at ease that their child is an individual. A person in the making, they have a different DNA that is in a never endless work of weaving them with thoughts and emotions that will eventually define them as unique human beings. In short, no matter how similar or different they look in comparison to their parents, they are different. And as one grows, decisions are made for them. Feelings are taught. Right and wrong is being fed into their brains.

The scariest part begins when children go to school. School is a place where a child goes to transform into an educated person. But, in our culture school is a place where children are sent to transform themselves into what their family what them to be. Oh! Common, how many of us disagree to this? Yes, they need to be educated and knowledgeable but beyond that school becomes a ‘grade marathon’. I’ll confess, once upon a time I was a victim of this. In the race of gaining good grades, I never registered anything what I learnt. I was always asked, “How much did she and he get?” When I answer that, I exactly knew the next word coming out… “Why did you get so less….”. I must have been like 8 or 9 years old. How would I know what the meaning was of this big and mean word called ‘COMPETITION’ was? Sometimes I think parents go a little far too much by seeing that their kids only concentrate in their studies. No play or TV and the poor kid’s childhood itself.

Corporal punishment is almost a crime, but what about the physical torture that a child takes in from home and other places. This is definitely a serious issue to address. Driven by the demon of grade/ranks, parents sort such kind of painful methods, which they call discipline to push them learn and win grades. But are they even aware, every time they do this, they mar the soul, the conscience and the self confidence of the child? “Spare the rod and spoil the child”, may be the quote that would run in contrast to what I wrote. Yes, parents do need to discipline the child. Nevertheless, you also need to know when to draw the line as well.

Recently, a national paper stated that the weight of a school child’s bag is weighing somewhere between 5-9 kgs. So heavy is this burden that research has proven children suffer from back problems. Is it worth for a child to carry so many burdens at such young age? This is just one side of the story, other side being, when a child shows interests in subjects which the parent’s consider not opportunistic. The clash between interests and aptitudes is like-‘the clash of the titans’. It’s a well known fact that ‘Science is well preferred than Arts”. Even to this day, engineers and doctors are churned out in lakhs from India. (No wonder there are Indians reigning in the Silicon valley and NASA! Good or bad, I keep guessing!)No offence against them, but, yes kids to get stressed and spanked when it comes to science and mathematics. There are versions of stories where parents send their kids to more than one tutorial class, one after the other and by the time the kid return home they crash. There is no break in between; all they do is study and sleep. What a life? No wonder they get stressed and develop psychological issues at an early stage.

It’s both saddening and infuriating to know that the pressure of performing well reaches such unimaginable peaks that kids and youngsters feel ‘it’s enough so I’ll give up’ and take up extreme steps like medicines and drugs. Apparently, there are medications to beat exam stress and anxiety. Some of them are given with the knowledge of the parents. Suicide attempt is the extreme of all. Our city is not new to headlines describing students taking their lives, as they cannot handle the stress from family and institution. When caught in such a situation, where do they go? When the pressure comes from both the ends, whom do they lean to? So what do the family turn into, friend or foe? These words may sound like families are to blame-Yes and No! Yes, for all the reasons that obvious. No, because even each of you reading this is helpless to competition ruling this world and time is also the biggest villain here.

Take a second and think, you’re doings as a parent, is it right and worth it? You are raising a person and only hoping to provide the best. Quite understandable and agreeable, but we all must remember that as you and I have choices to make, likes and dislike, even children are a mould of all these attributes. Yes, when they are young, they don’t know what is good for them, what they are good at or what are their strengths and weaknesses. It is for the parents to observe, understand and realize what and who they are. From a child’s mouth, have mercy and do not compare. That’s the worst enemy for every kid’s morale. Every single time you do that, you are literally ripping their confidence and self esteem, tearing and breaking them into a zillion pieces. Sadly, the heart break goes unheard and unseen.

Understand us, us kids! Yes, there needs to be a change in the education system, the mentality of parents. From one end the world looks like a child’s greatest ‘hell to be’ but at the same time, with the advancement of various fields and disciplines the rainbow of opportunity has never looked so colorful and vibrant. We have sportsmen, media houses, counselors, financial experts, education professionals, directors, economists and a host of new professions opening up. Gone are the days when a child had only few options and had to choose between an engineer or doctor or accountant. Times have changed.

People! Open your eyes and see! This is the best times we are living in. It is your world and it is their world as well. So shun the conventional though and let a revolution take place in your mind. We all live in the 21st century where we are being taught to be welcoming and broad minded. Kids are ten times smarter than their parents. They are all born into a technology and online era. How can you then judge and decide for them with your thought age?

It definitely is a question to be asked. And is there a solution to how parents behave on what their kids want? Yes. And it’s for each parent to comprehend and act. An ancient saying goes that we are all born unique. We may be similar but we are not the same. Parent’s gasp when children compare them to their friend’s parents on various factors. And this really disturbs the parents. On a similar basis, this is what happens when parents demand and push children. Things go from bad to worse when parents force them to choose a professional stream against their likes. A career choice is a huge decision and if one is not content with it, it will be one of the biggest mistakes of their lives. Would you want your child live with such a mistake? And probably blame you for all that happened. As yourself, is all this worth at all?

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