The other day my sister Upasika went on to rant about how she observes parents pressurising their children, and how much it disturbs her. I related to her woes, since I myself wasn’t really forced into anything in my childhood – only took some training in music and painting, but never actually participated in competitions. I practised them because I enjoyed them. Neither did my parents force me to excel in studies. That came quite naturally. But now the situation seems to have changed a great deal. Everyone, every single child needs to be a part of this rat race, and prove their worth in things that they don’t even care about. Why so? That’s what I asked my dear troubled sister to write about. And here she goes….
The actual problem nowadays lies with the parents. Yes, the Indian parents. Each of them wants their child to be at No.1. Why? What is wrong if they stay at No.2 or 3 or 4? Why there has to be any number at all? It is important to study but why should one study to beat the others? They say it is an era of competition. Who is creating the competitive mindset? It is the parents who are infusing this great revolutionary idea into each and every pore of their brain. And why not! Don’t they need to brag about this to their friends and their neighbours, that their little kid stood first in his/her class, won such and such competition and so on? Competitions of various co-curricular activities are definitely necessary, for the mental development, and to know how the world around them is, but not at the edge of the sword. And not only academically, the child must also excel in singing, in dancing, s/he has to learn drawing too, should learn to play the piano and what not. When will s/he live then? By the time s/he grows up doing all these as directed by “Parents”, s/he will have lost her/his childhood. Sports? S/he plays that too but to win and not to have fun.
Each child has a different degree of potential. Let them decide. Yes of course the age is too small for them to choose their passion but you being parents, it’s your duty to discover your child. Find out what is good in them, what they do without effort, what their in-born talents are and then help nurture that part into excellence. A child is born, s/he is taught to speak, read and write and by the time s/he has not even learnt how to spell C-A-T, s/he’s sent to some tuition class where some tutor would teach her/him how to write A B C D. I proudly boast that I never went to any such tuitions even in my higher grades. That is solely because I had this wonderful Dad to teach me everything. Not all parents are that capable of tutoring their child as s/he moves to the higher grades and thus, tuitions become necessary. But at the age of three? Are you serious? How busy are you to take out as less than 30 minutes out of your packed curriculum to sit with your child and read out to them? Who are you earning for? Them right? What is the use of your piling up money for their future if you’re not beside them today?
Spending time with your children and helping them learn is the only development you’ll render them – not by putting them into some tuition classes and make them learn things to forcefully excel so that they turn out to be better than the others standing just beside them. Know your children, discover them, their potentials, their inclinations and prepare them to fulfill their own desires. That little soul is a different individual. It has a different world altogether. And they need your company, not someone who teaches them few words everyday because it is their duty. Let them spend more time with their friends in a playground and learn the values of friendship and sharing, not just mug up knowledge that is of no immediate use to them. Ask them to study, ask them to be sincere, teach them to be wise and do their work genuinely and all that they need to be taught, but don’t force them. They do not need to get a job in an MNC. They can be good sportspersons, they can be graceful dancers, they can be beautiful painters. Recognition is not what they require. Competition is not the only medium.
I admire parents whose children get to play in the evenings, because I’ve even seen children returning from school, going to the dance class, then their music teacher comes, then they do their homework, then some days there is coaching for what they are going to study after high school and… oh that’s it! There is no childhood left for them to grow.
Not that I need to conclude anything here, it is pretty obvious. But if there are any parents reading this, or even people with small children at their homes – please try to understand the repercussions of your actions, the pressure you are subjecting them to at such a tender age. Let their imaginations soar high, let them not have their feet on the ground right now. They will have to do that anyway in the future. I am sure every one of us wish our childhood would come back, but it will not, under any circumstances. So do NOT take away the most beautiful part of their life by drowning them in a mechanical lifestyle. Times might have changed, but a child’s mind is always a little ball of innocence and creativity. Let it be like that.