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!


19 thoughts on “When push comes to shove…

  1. Wow! your son is indeed lucky. My mother too had a similar parenting style, except that it made me too complacent at times 🙂 You’re sensible enough to understand that come what may, if your son is to achieve something, he will do it, no matter what. I wish all mothers had such insight. Reading your post, I got reminded of a cousin of mine and his Xth board exams. We were never welcome through-out the year at their place and this poor boy had to take separate tuition for maths, physics, chemistry (and what not). What he missed out was an afterthought on his aptitude. And it did reflect in his poor final results too.

    1. Thanks Thamim! I had precisely the same kind of childhood… nobody forced me to achieve anything; but rather I forced myself 🙂 I enjoyed the best of all worlds; academics, quizzing, debates, writing, etc and had a lot of friends. I want Amrit to be the same… academics is important but not so important that it has to consume every waking hour of your life…

  2. Super Rekha!
    I’m no expert, but I know one thing: Amrit is one of smartest, politest kids I have ever met. And it’s indeed rare to find kids like him these days. That’s saying a lot! 🙂

  3. Wow…agree with your post 100%, every word in there rings true for me too! Although I was the over-acheiver in school…I don’t want my kids to go that way. I want them to have fun in life and there is a lot to learn out there besides academics. I am hoping one day my kids will have careers which they chose and they love!

  4. Rekha, you are absolutely normal parent in today’s standards. Need not worry about Amrit, when he gets lesser rank in the academics. It is better to have a loving engineer instead of a top ranking engineer (who doesn’t love his parents). It is better to have a caring doctor instead of a theoratically book worm who indulges in all sorts of ‘trade’. it is better to have …….

    And last but not least, I appreciate your boldness to come out with such a blog.

  5. I think the happiness should come only from within us. And that is what u r having. Keep it up. Let no pressure be targeted on our kids. “cool”

  6. Just the right attitude. I do the very same with my girl and the I expect the same from the parents of my students. When an enthusiastic parent recently expressed her disapproval over the one A2 (against four A1s) in her girl’s card, I just encouraged her to look at the brighter side and to congratulate the child. The mother was happy. The child was happier.
    “some smart-ass in my school came up with the idea of dividing the batch into three sections”: I differ on this point as I am a ‘smart-ass’ – but with a difference. I differ as I have been doing the ‘grouping’ successfully for the last 8 years – without hurting the feelings of a single child but at the same time extracting the best out of each of them. And after they pass out with flying colours they (all of them) come back, thanking me for what I did for them. But I my approach is slightly different which I think needs some detailed explanation, may be through a blog post in the near future.
    Glad that I found your blog! 🙂

  7. So so soooo agree! I am also an equally abnormal parent…in your parlance 😀 And daresay, proudly so! My kids do well in what they pursue because I never pressure them – to either come ‘first’ or win … Good grades therefore come naturally and I do believe that it is because they are not under any “pressure”… Rekhs I tell you babes, we are a rare breed 😀

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