June 23, 2014
In the recent past I was browsing some article and suddenly I came across an incident of tragic death of a youngster. The boy of 16 years committed suicide not able to deal with the stress of his student life. I was totally shocked, as this is the tenth case I have come across in a couple of days.
We all come across stress, depression, tension in one or other phases of our life. But definitely as a student we were only students, studying, doing some cranky things, naughty things, playing. Just common student life. But in the recent past I have seen students not doing anything other than studies. It is a competitive world; we need our kids to do well, no doubt but where will be the normal life if they study all day?
We as parents and teachers focus only on scores, grades, points. Beyond that there is nothing. Parent wants his child to go for Engineering (main stream now days) or medical, but that’s a parent’s wish. What the child really wants to do? Nobody has asked the child or rather child itself has not decided or thought of because when the child was born parent has already decided what the child is going to be.
Child grows with the same dream as that of the parent. If the child also dreams the same then well and good. But what if the child can’t visualize the dream clearly? What if the child cannot stand up to the level to achieve the dream? 65% of the students who go behind the dreams of others can’t fulfill them, because they don’t enjoy it, rather do it because someone has told them to go for it.
Once one of my students asked me, “What If I don’t stand up to my parent’s expectation?” I asked her what the problem was. Then she told me, all her cousins were engineers and worked in good companies. So her parents wanted her to do engineering. But the problem was she was not interested in Physics and Mathematics, the core subjects. She wanted to do Psychology. I assured her there's nothing wrong in doing what she wanted to do, and to convince her parents. She said they would not listen.
I called up parents and told them what their daughter wanted to do. And her father replied, “She is mad, she has read some books so she thinks Psychology is something really great and she can treat mad people.” This was really shocking. And to be honest, the Gentleman is well-educated. It took three whole days for me to make them understand there is life beyond some areas and their daughter would be happy if she does what she wants to do.
There are numerous examples before us where people have excelled when they have chased their dreams, and shattered when they cannot take up what they don’t want to do. Many times students don’t even know why they are studying a particular course. They don’t even realize what their dreams are and what they are capable of. By the time they realize they will be already bound by too many commitments or they will start developing self pity.
It is a common tendency to think if the son or daughter is studying in a prestigious college he/she will get a good job and be able to lead a good life (financially) and he/she will be recognized in the society. How far is this true? The core problematic area in a peaceful life is thinking what others think of us. If son/daughter fails in an exam then people will start making faces, people will start commenting, prestige issue all this will come up. But we don’t even go that extra mile of reaching out to our kid, extending our support to the kid, helping him/her to come out of it, realizing what the problem is. If this is done by every parent then most of the children grow with a confidence of conquering the world.
Life is not only about scoring good marks and getting a god job. It is much more than that. Life is not a machine or mechanical, there are hundreds of humanitarian aspects that one has to deal with. First we need to teach the child to be a human being. Help the needy, have respect for the elders, listen more, sympathize, empathize and be realistic and have self esteem. Definitely this is a competitive world and we need to be competitive, but there should be a healthy competition. Teach the child to lose first and then win.
Life is not only about money and prestige. There is much more and it is a mystery to everyone, differing from person to person. It is better we realize what is life for our kids, let us come out of the dogma of ‘Parent is right always’. Children are much more intelligent today and they have their own ideas to share and their own vision and dreams. Let us help them to achieve what they want rather than pushing our unfulfilled dreams on them. There shall be no boundaries to life.
Let us hope for a bright future for our kids.