Diverse Potentials

Source: The Hitavada      Date: 27 May 2018 09:55:05


 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Every child comes with a unique genetic coding and it is that uniqueness that needs to be celebrated and nurtured. It is futile and regressive to shoehorn a different mapping and engine genetics into another bay where it does not fit.

 

The likings and passions of children are hardly heeded to. Parents, who are ideally supposed to be facilitators and enablers of their kids’ propensities, are today ending up exasperatingly aspiring to maintain their own status quotient.

IN INDIA getting the highest marks in school exams is an obsessive parental craze for their children. It brings the curtains down in one’s life if one’s child fails to break into the top ranks.


This ever-increasing fight for this fad called exam numbers is detrimental to the mental health of children and also to the diverse potentials they hold apart from the bookish knowledge that a regimental school education provides.
It is often forgotten that school education is an average education pro-forma that takes the lowest common denominator as the basic factor of its syllabic structure. It is not necessary that every child will fit in that format.


Every child comes with a unique genetic coding and it is that uniqueness that needs to be celebrated and nurtured. It is futile and regressive to shoehorn a different mapping and engine genetics into another bay where it does not fit.
If something is tried to be fitted into space it doesn’t belong, the obvious outcome will be that it will break. Most children, who are coaxed and forced to do better in school rankings than they inherently can, end up being duds. In the process, their other potentials are also lost, for they are never given a chance to be explored and harnessed.


The likings and passions of children are hardly heeded to. Parents, who are ideally supposed to be facilitators and enablers of their kids’ propensities, are today ending up exasperatingly aspiring to maintain their own status quotient. Unwittingly, for the blind pursuit of some limited goals and gains typically approved by ‘society’, they are scuttling the immense possibilities that their children hold.
There is lack of originality and innovation, which is why India falters when it comes to original research and inventions. Most of us are happy following a pattern, without taking the risk of thinking out of the box. We don’t want to sacrifice our little luxuries and comforts or compromise on our transient and momentary pleasures to do something better and challenging.


Getting the kid into an IIT or IIM is still the ultimate middle-class dream in the country. Yes, things are changing but very slowly. The upper middle class and the rich are gradually shifting away from the clichéd medical, engineering and management career options and experimenting with different things that don’t necessarily warrant a sterling academic performance.


Globally, the focus has largely shifted from a dogged pursuit of educational excellence to prove competence. Competence and intelligence today have greater and wider avenues to express and manifest themselves. One who is not too good in studies can definitely prove to be a better entrepreneur or a better sportsperson than others. Our society is replete with such examples of great men who never ranked among the best in their school. They may not have gone to the best colleges or technical institutes, but they have been world class poets, philosophers, dancers, painters, magicians, statesman, economists and scientists. Had they been fettered by the strict school education stricture, their talents would have perished. Since they were lucky to be freed from the encumbrance of proving themselves to be the best in studies, they could give a free reign to their imaginations and potentialities and chalk out their own uncharted path, which brought them unprecedented success and happiness and pride to the nation.


Parents must understand that money and status is not all—they are illusions of happiness and a very obsolete and typically middle-class mindset. Unless a child is allowed to do what he is passionate about, he can never be happy in his life, no matter how much money he luxuriates in. He must be given the elbow room to manoeuvre. No doubt, it is always good to encourage good results. This is not to say that good students are insignificant and only those not paying much importance to school education are great. A good student is always appreciated and he stands a fair chance to excel in the academic field.


A good student is a symbol of perseverance and sincerity and must be emulated. A student who doesn’t pay much attention to his studies due to neglect may also end up being a lout and good-for-nothing fellow and we need to save from that danger. But the contention is not to put undue pressure on children to always stand out and be the best. One has to be second best in any case. All cannot be at the top.


The second best or the third best also stands an equal chance to make it big in later life. A difference of a couple of marks doesn’t decide a person’s intelligence or capability. There are other platforms to prove that and those platforms need to be explored.


Parents must closely follow their kids’ inclinations and proclivities and decide accordingly. There cannot be a general thumb rule or yardstick of excellence, simply because every child is unique in his thoughts and capabilities. It is up to the parents and teachers to nurture the right talents in the child, not giving undue importance to bookish knowledge.


If the child is breaking down or feeling too pressured to do well and not getting the ranks despite trying hard, it is time for parents to handle it sensitively and relieve the child of that pressure, accepting that he may be ordained differently and may be oriented towards other things in life than the strict academic domain. He may not be an IIT-ian or an IIM grad but he must be given the chance to be a great painter or a great musician if he has a liking for them or does better in some such discipline other than school studies.


There can be umpteen numbers of factors why a child cannot do as well in school as his parents dream of. But that is mostly not the fault of the child but the fault of our parental aspirations and dreams. We need to change our stance and approach towards life and career.


Only then our children can be mentally healthy individuals. We don’t want children stooped with the burden of school bags that help them prepare for a 10 to 6 job in an MNC. We need inventors, explorers, navigators, adventurers, artists and trailblazers. But for that, we need to provide the right ecosystem and breeding ground for our children.


By the way, let our children’s aspirations be our aspirations. Let’s not load our own unfulfilled dreams and aspirations on our kids to fulfil. We are here only to guide them, not to be them. They must have the authority to live the kind of life they want; not a kind of life we want for them.