A little BIG concern
Wise head on young shoulders! I exclaimed after hearing a speech from an eight-year-old at a school elocution competition. However, after hearing a couple of speeches, I was convinced it wasn’t spontaneous. It was a mix of innocence and maturity. Kids discussing environment, corruption, competition, success, stress! God!! They were all too young to deal with these subjects.
I could make out that many teachers and parents had forced children to parrot speeches. Poor tiny-tots might not be knowing what they were talking. When results were announced, parents of winners appeared happier than kids themselves. Prize bagged, I wondered if they really cared if the child had understood the subject.
Most parents live to see their child making it big. In newspaper offices, we see a number of ‘proud parents’ urging us to profile ‘young achievers’. If newspapers decide to do a series on young achievers, I am sure media will have such cases aplenty. Many children participate in the reality shows on the small screen while others are winning this or that competition, from drawing to dancing to Olympiad! Talent search examinations go tapping hidden potentials whereas other competitions provide platforms to showcase inherent skills. Be it a housing society event, school gathering or TV show, parents grab every opportunity to make their child participate in a competition.
From studies and performing arts to sports, avenues are increasing and parental aspirations seem turning into desperations…
The other day, I received a call from a proud parent who wanted his 13-year-old daughter to be featured because she was taking out an anti-corruption rally. He said the girl was dedicated to ‘social service’ since she was eight. She has raised funds for Tsunami victims and fought for tribals’ rights. Now, she was campaigning against corruption. The father made umpteen calls to list his daughter’s achievements. I was driven to my wit’s end when he told me that child’s rally will touch topics like black money, two-child norm, reservation and so on. He was taken aback when I asked if his daughter understood enormity of these issues?
Nothing to discourage the child here. Isn’t it a bit too much for the girl? A child this age will play on ground, go to school, do her homework, watch cartoons and read children’s books but certainly won’t take out a nationwide rally! Apparently, the child was pushed to do something that didn’t go with the age.
Today, we see different forms of parental pressures. A child becomes a medium for parents to fulfill dreams. Little do parents understand that damage they are causing to the child’s future is enormous. Short-term glory will always be short-lived.
Let’s think from children’s point. What will happen to them when the pressure of expectations becomes simply too much? Frustration and depression aren’t far away once this happens.
Why push children into a mad race when they are raw? Instead of forcing our views on them, let’s help them develop their own thinking. Once they learn to think independently, achievements will follow.