I am an abnormal parent by today’s standards. I don’t push my child. I am not paranoid because he scored just 46 out of 60 in the Science paper or just close to 91 per cent overall. If others would have me believe, I should pay more attention otherwise my son would be left out in the rat race.
I can never be Tiger Mom… because I want my child to enjoy what he’s doing, academics, games, music, sports or quizzing. I don’t want him to be No. 1. Sorry, there are enough people vying for that position. No. I don’t want to be that neighbor when congratulated looked at me with a smirk and said, “What congratulations. My son got only 88 per cent in XIIth, he is 56th in his school!’
I agree that even 100 per cent is not enough to secure admission to a top college these days. But I also know that 60 per cent does not make you a loser. When I was in the Xth standard, some smart-ass in my school came up with the idea of dividing the batch into three sections: X A for the intelligent, XB for average and XC, shudder, shudder was for ‘poor’ students. Twenty-two years later, (and though I was in XA) I can cock a snook, my heart bursting with pride to see the ones in XB and XC are the super-achievers, excelling in fields they have chosen to be in. Labelling did not and does not matter.
That also does not mean that I look down upon these super achievers. But I’d carefully look at what it took them to reach the top. Academics isn’t everything… but for me, putting the best in what you do is important. And that’s what I tell Amrit… there’s no excuse in not doing your duty… whether it’s studying for his exams, clearing his table. Or preparing for that quiz or practicing music.
I certainly don’t find kids enjoy what they are doing these days. Why… because when push comes to shove, the pressure to perform reaches the peak. And that’s why I see 16-year-olds in therapy. At a recent parent-teachers’ meeting, I was appalled to see that parents had more complaints about their children than the teachers. It’s strange world we live in.
When we stop trying to live our ambitions through our children, the pressure on them to be the best will ease. When we start understanding that academics alone do not make an achiever, we’ll start pushing our kids in directions that will make them, in the end, better people. If we start looking at mistakes as stepping stones, our children will also become our friends.
At the PTA meeting, Amrit’s class teacher just told me one thing. “He has to learn to be assertive and fight back!” I smiled at my boy who I have taught ‘hate is a very strong word’ and ‘love begets only love’! A boy who believes that his friend should be on the school quiz team and not he because he ‘simply rocks’! Someone who has no trace of jealousy, aggressiveness or a highly competitive streak. Not as of now.
His dimpled cheeks expand into a huge grin. All’s well with our world, as of now!
Que Sera Sera… the future’s not for us to see!