Tuesday, 10 January 2012

Should we force our children into a Rat-Race?

It is a known fact that parents often impose their failed ambitions and goals and ambitions on their children. Children often become extensions of parent’s failed targets, and failed targets. Even educated parents impose their ambitions on their children and this results in the children being forced into a vicious circle of competitions and comparisons. Unfortunately, parents find it very difficult to let their children be!
As a Principal of a well known Public School in Haryana, I am often surprised to see parents cajoling, threatening and pleading with their children to recite a Nursery rhyme or count till ten or twenty prior to getting admission to the Pre-Nursery class or the Nursery class! In many cases the child is moody or cranky, and refuses to comply with the parent’s wish! I then tell the parent to take the child out and offer him or her some chocolates, or make him feel relaxed, because ultimately, I realise, on talking to the child that he is smart enough!
In many cases it is just a case of the child rebelling or imposing his own whim, that he will do as he wishes! I warn the parent not to scold or threaten his child for not dancing to his tune.  Often I end up scolding the parent for not letting his child be! Unfortunately, in a competitive world, most parents would appreciate it if their child would rattle off a Nursery Rhyme in one breath or perhaps recite one to ten! Prior to appearing for the process of admission, the child is initiated into a rigorous regime of rote memorising a rhyme or rattling off one to ten! The poor child who comes for an admission to the Pre-Nursery or the Nursery class, he is accompanied by both his parents and both his grand-parents, and when the child retires into a dudgeon, his grandfather comes  forward, cajoling his grandson to recite Humpy Dumpty! I tell the parents and grandparents not to stress the child, because, in any case, I notice that the child is smart enough, I tell them to buy him some chocolates and bring him back to me! It seems as if the child is an extension of the aspirations of, not only the parents but also of the Grand-Parents, who want their child to be admitting in the prestigious school of which I am the Principal!
After passing through the imposed and artificial rigours of the interview for admissions to the Nursery Class, the parents then prepare their children for the myriad competitive exams for tiny-tots! The common desire of such, “enlightened” and, “educated” parents is that  their child should, “win”! Parents transmit their stress, and anxiety to their children about what would happen if their child did not come first! We have numerous baby shows in which the children are trained by their parents as if they are pets competing in a “Pet Show!”
During admissions to the Pre-Nursery  or the Nursery Class, I notice when I step out of my office, parents conducting rigorous and vigorous rehearsals with their tiny tots for the forthcoming process of admissions! It brings a smile on my face, but inside I feel angered that their parents should be forcing their children into the vicious circle of competition! Who are we to judge our children by their performance in competitions, knowing well that God has given them a set of abilities and gifts which are waiting to be discovered!
After the numerous competitions that the child is pitted against, the time comes for the board exams. The child is then sent for coaching so that he might achieve the marks to get admission into the science stream. Parents suggest that the most lucrative career options for their children are medicine and engineering. If the child fails to get the requisite marks for these prized streams, then he is derided and compared with other children who have managed to get through!
After the child graduates, the child is further initiated into another round of comparisons, how does he earn, is his company an ISO company, will he get the desired bride? What dowry will he get, and the questions go on!  After the child gets married and he becomes a father, his child is initiated into a yet another cycle of competitions! The whole process is repeated! I often wonder whether it is only Engineers and Doctors who are the most successful people on this Earth? What about the artists, the lawyers, and the educationists?  How about the writers, and the PROs.? What about successful poets and writers who add spice to our lives?  Are they not successful professionals? What would happen if everyone became and engineer or a doctor? Is our success as Human Beings always assured by the marks we get in entrance exams? Do we as parents have the right of labelling our children as, “hopeless” or “useless” based on their inability to get through that entrance exam? Why can’t we let our children be? Do we have the right or imposing our failed goals and ambitions on our children?
If our children are gifts from God, then should we not appreciate them for what they are, distinct and unique from what we are? Perhaps, they come with a different set of abilities and talents!  Shouldn’t we appreciate them for what they are, distinct and unique from what we are? For all parents, their children should be winners in all sense! It doesn’t require an entrance exam to make them our prized gifts, to be appreciated and admired for the unique gifts they bring with them! Our children require our appreciation and admiration! Parents should not be wanting in these encouragements!


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