Tag: choices

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.
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Picture credit PIXABAY.
Linking up with Mackenzie at Reflections from Me

In defense of Hitler

In defense of Hitler

Before I am lynched for supporting Genocide let me clarify what brought on this epiphany.
It was a lazy Sunday morning and I was happily immersed in the Express Eye. Trying to put away the moment when I would have to relinquish the newspaper I asked:
“What do you all want for breakfast?” 
“Porridge”
“French Toast”
“Dosa”
The chorus snapped me out of my Sunday mood right away. Oh how I regretted my
large-hearted gesture! Kicking myself mentally I began the uphill task of brokering a consensus. 
Democracy is hard work.
I was brought up
in, what I would describe as, a quasi-democratic home. It was democratic in the
sense that we had complete freedom to speak our minds resulting in long and very
heated dinner-table conversations (arguments) but the rules were pretty much
made for us. Even as we raged and argued and dubbed our parents the worst kind
of Hitlers, we were quite aware of this fact and stuck with the rules – well mostly
we did. (PS: I did more than my sister, that’s an aside I need to add!)
Coming back to us – ours, I feel, is a way more democratic household than my parents’. And
I am not sure that’s a good thing. I have to confess sometimes I invite the
children’s views simply to avoid a showdown later on or because I am caught up
with something and don’t have the mindspace to make a choice on my own.

As parents/teachers we do need to ask ourselves:

1.     Is the child capable of making the right choice
at his level of maturity?
2.     As the adult in charge, am I prepared to
accept his/her choice, whatever that may be?
Having the freedom to make choices is a wonderful feeling for
anyone, especially for children and they are quick to exercise and defend it
once they have it. Yet too much freedom can not just result in bad choices, it
might end up confusing the child. Try taking your young one to the toy store
and ask him to choose one toy and you’ll know what I mean.
Democracy certainly
doesn’t work all the time, definitely not in a parent-child (or a teacher-taught)
relationship.

I would like to remember that as a parent/teacher:

1.     I do know best. I might actually know the
child better than he knows himself or what’s best for him.
2.     I make the rules.
3.     I will invite suggestions but I will have
the final word.
4.     I will disregard the rebellions and will
be prepared to be dubbed the ‘evil one’.
5.     I will not forget that despite the complaints
the children will never stop loving me because deep down they know I love them
too.
Do I sound like a Tiger Mom ? Well sometimes Moms do need to get out the
Tiger/Tigress in them, even if it is only in the best interest of their cubs.