Category: academics

Why I will continue to push my kids to study

Why I will continue to push my kids to study

I come from a family of teachers – my father, mother, sister, aunt, uncle are all professors, teachers, principals. Academics have always been placed at a premium.
My grand mum would say:
Padhoge likhoge banoge nawab, 
kheloge kudoge toh hoge kharab.
(Study hard and you’ll be a nawab, 
fool around and you’ll go bad).
That translation isn’t too accurate, but you get the idea I hope.
Over the years we have recognised the value of khel kood. We have learnt to place peace of mind, emotional well-being and self confidence over pure academics.
And I’m glad.
With exams going on, the word success has been thrown at the kids rather liberally and that prompted N to ask me the other day, ‘What does ‘being successful’ mean?’ 
So what is success? Ideally success would mean getting to do what you love and making some money along the way. Neither one of those two things is any less important, to me at least.
However, life isn’t perfect and not many of us are fortunate enough to get to do exactly what we love and get paid as much as we would like for it. So we strike a compromise – choosing work which we like most of the time and making enough money too. The money bit is complicated. How much is enough is something the children will have to decide for themselves and I hope they do a sensible job of it when the time comes.
But I’m digressing. 
The thing is, no matter what they decide to do, academics remain the single most certain ticket to a good life for the average Indian. Unless the child is a prodigy, academics offer that most important Plan B.
Besides, there’s a more important lesson to be learnt. Their current scores might be of no importance, nor an indication of what they will make of themselves and their lives, but the habits they form now are. Habits of hard work, of recognising and using their full potential, of  focussing on a target, of giving up inane momentary pleasures for a greater goal. They learn all of that when they sit down with their books every day, day after day, and aim to do well.
Those are habits they will need, no matter what they do or where they go. Whether they decide to be engineers, artists, web designers, actors, zumba instructors.. whatever. 
Not all children are born with these qualities but all are born with the capacity to cultivate them. As a parent it is my job to see that they do. That I do it with compassion and consideration and with their individual capacities in mind is what I have to remember.
The only spoke in the wheel is that I have to do it within the framework of our unimaginative, one-mould-for-all education system. But that is a rant for another day. For now I’m off to celebrate. Exams are done.
***************
Picture credit PIXABAY.
Linking up with Mackenzie at Reflections from Me

Finding gratitude during exams

Finding gratitude during exams

And so September bids adieu. And with that come exams – the first ever for the kids. I find myself unable to think of much else while the kids can think of everything else except academics.

I find them reading story books, making song lists, comparing computer game scores and planning ‘what to wear for the dandiya night’. Apparently they have picked up none of my exam anxiety and for that I have learnt to be immensely grateful.
I find I need at least three or four of me to help both of them while keeping them apart and managing the house. Early this week just as the arguments were turning into a complete impasse who should arrive but the husband! I don’t think I was as happy to see him arrive on our wedding day. Was I grateful!
He has such a calming influence on all three of us.
He took the kids out shopping (for all kinds of exam stationery) and they settled down to their studies.
He was only here for five days and was working for four of them yet we were happy to have him home. He’s gone now. And I think we will survive. I am already looking beyond the next 20 days to vacations when we will be travelling to join him.
By the next academic term we hope to be together.
I thought that was all I had for the gratitude post this month but as I write I realise I have more, so much more. Last evening while I was struggling with Marathi lessons with the kids (a language they now know better than me), I was dragged off for an hour of Zumba. I have to admit that one part of me was pretty incredulous that I could leave the kids between their exams for something as frivolous as Zumba. However, it was all for the best because the kids were anyway having a field day laughing at my pronunciations as I tried to quiz them.
And so I am grateful to friends and family who always rally around pulling me for impromptu breakfasts, long morning walks and short evening chats, keeping me sane.
I am now looking forward to October – the latter half of course.

I’d love to know your thoughts on academics and how they effect the kids and you. How important are they? Were they a trial for you when you were young or did you breeze through them? Do you find it difficult to get your kids to study? How different is it from the time you were a child and now?

If I seem overly and rather unnecessarily stressed do forgive me but academics have taken over all of my thoughts of late. Do bear with me for a few weeks.

************
and with Mel at  Microblog Mondays.
                                                
Clearing my head

Clearing my head

…. that’s exactly what I’m trying to do through this post today. A few weeks back I shared my anxieties regrading the twin’s academics  – how they seemed completely unconcerned while I was losing sleep (and hair in equal measure). 

A mum blogger, Suchitra raised a point in the comments.
She said, “I wonder sometimes if it’s just us trying to impose our insecurities on our kids because what they do and how they do it reflects on us and how we raise them.”
It made me think. Am I pushing the kids solely for their sake or also because their performance proves my credentials as a good parent – to myself and maybe to others too?
Will it matter to them whether they scored a 100 or a 40 in their exam? The truth is I will be more affected than them maybe because the importance of academics hasn’t quite sunk in for them.
Good grades are important in that they are an indicator of a good education. And they make me come through as a good parent. And both those make me happy. The two motivations are so closely entwined it is tough to separate one from the other. They are almost the same thing. Almost.
It really is a thin line, because when the children do well it automatically makes me look like a good parent. The important bit is to make sure the focus remains on them and not on me – on their progress and happiness rather than on how I am contributing to it.
It is easy to confuse the two and to begin to do things for them, to choose paths for them that make me happy or make me feel like a good parent, in the belief that it makes them happy too. The grades are just one instance.
However, as they grow up, I need to remind myself, that they are not solely a product of my parenting – not their grades, nor their talents, definitely not their likes and dislikes or their personalities or even how they turn out, finally. It is important to recognise them as separate people guided by myriad influences.
In other words to not be an obsessive mom!
I am not as evolved as all of that. But recognising that it needs to happen will put me on the path to making it happen soon enough. Hopefully.

Picture credit: PIXABAY


And also with Mel at  Microblog Mondays.
If we were having coffee …. 4

If we were having coffee …. 4

Picture courtesy: PIXABAY
If we were having coffee… 
I’d invite you home today because I’m feeling a tad down. That perfect cup of coffee served by a professional on a neat little tray is tempting for sure but today I need the comfort of home. I need to curl up my feet on the sofa for a long chat, no matter that the cup is not designer or that Marie biscuits don’t measure up to the brownies. Maybe I’d invite you to my kitchen and we could take turns at beating the coffee. That’s your favourite kind, I know, and mine too.
Once it is poured, sweet and frothy, we could settle down to our conversation.
I’d probably ask about your days and tell you about mine. It has been a long and exhausting fortnight, with the maid on leave, the kids on holiday and husband home too.
I’d tell you, a trifle guiltily, that much as I love them all, I cherish my alone time. I’d tell you how I savour the silence. The absolute quiet as I tap at my laptop. The single cup of tea on my side table. Or the mindless chatter of FM (that no one else seems to have the patience for) while I go about my chores. I miss all of that. I need it to get me through the craziness of the rest of the day.
I’d tell you about the twin’s academic pressure that seems to have suddenly multiplied many fold and hangs like a dark shadow on me, always. Somedays, I’d tell you, I cannot sleep from worrying about them.
Mercifully (?) the kids seem completely unaware of it but that makes me worry even more.
How can they not care? Is it okay for children to be so completely unconcerned? Are they too young? Am I expecting too much from them? I look at the mums around me. I see how they urge their kids on and I feel hopelessly inadequate. I am just not capable of pushing mine. Am I doing enough to help them? Or am I letting them slide into laziness by expecting too little? Am I taking away their chance at a better life by not egging them on?
It’s hard. This not knowing. Like walking blindfolded.
You don’t have an answer either. I know. But simply telling you how I feel lifts my spirits just a bit. You’d probably smile away my fears telling me I was over-thinking. ‘They’re just ten’, you’d laugh. And you’ve no idea how that would reassure me. Yes, they’re just ten. They’ve just started secondary school. They’ll settle, their grades aren’t bad.
We’d lift our now cold coffees and smile at how that always happens – how conversation takes over coffee. I feel sorry for having monopolised it all the way today. 
And yet long after you’ve gone and I’m getting on with my day, I remain grateful for your presence. I send out a tight mental hug for friends who let me voice my thoughts and fears no matter how unfound, how stupid they might be.