By now all the results for all the various boards are out and the dust has started settling over the initial euphoria, disappointment, disillusionment, joy, tears – everything! While the toppers and the bottom rankers have their jobs cut out for them, so to speak, it is the middle rankers who face their greatest dilemma. And a middle ranker these days could be even someone who scored 90 percent!
I am myself a mother with a child who faced a similar dilemma and I have seen how heart breaking it is. But why? Not because we as parents, or my child were unhappy with the score! But because for a while it felt like the end of the road to her, probably!
Is it really so then? The end of the road? Would anybody seriously believe that?
Instead why don’t we teach our children to dream and that there could be a satisfying profession/vocation in every one of their dreams? Is getting into a top-ranked college or a job which buys you a house and a car immediately or expensive vacations or branded clothes and jewellery the only stuff that dreams are made of?
I ask myself – have I encouraged my child to appreciate nature? The glory of the rising sun, the haunting beauty of the setting sun, the stillness of the night when the stars shine bright, the beautiful tinkling of a gushing stream or the freshness of the morning dew?
Have I encouraged my child to see the harmony in nature, the balance, even the cruelty and the inevitability of the survival of the fittest?
Have I encouraged my child to appreciate music – natural as well as manmade; how basic notes can build complicated symphonies, how it all begins with just a few notes and reaches a mesmerising crescendo, with the same notes, in a mind boggling variety of compositions?
Have I encouraged my child to appreciate and learn from the heroes in history – celebrated and unsung, to understand that war and peace are two sides of the same coin, a coin which is ultimately a currency used by people the world over to forward their interests; but that reason and compassion can win more wars and protect more interests than greed and cruelty?
Have I taught my child to appreciate and use science and technology conscientiously, to of course use it to advance self interests, but also to use it for the greater good? To understand that no matter how much advances science and technology make, it should be used first and foremost to achieve a better quality of life for all, rather than immortality for a few ( if at all!!)?
Have I encouraged my child to appreciate the wild beauty of nature along with the symmetrical ( or often abstract) beauty of architecture, painting, drawing or sculpture? The fluid motions of dance and sport? The soothing impact of embroidery, cooking or anything that needs coordination of mind and body? Of travel which opens your mind and broadens your horizons like nothing else does?
Have I encouraged and appreciated the inherent compassion that s/he may have for animals and fellow human beings and guided her towards elaborating on that and making it her/his USP? Assured her that that is one of the biggest and most cherished quality a person can have?
Have I let her know that I love her/him for herself/ himself and not for how much percentage s/he can produce? That I am not blind to her/his shortcomings, but will of course be there in times of need to support, care and lend a shoulder to cry on? And even though at times s/he may be wrong, I will be there to encourage to “do what is right”?
I think this “college of life” is what will ultimately decide our children’s course of life and success; not the percentage that they score. Academic success is important, but impossible for everyone to achieve in the same degree; but a confidence to succeed in whatever they love and want to do is the ultimate driving force to do well. Let us not take away that confidence by berating them for a few lost marks; let us instead cherish and celebrate their mental and emotional strengths!