A couple of months ago, I visited my hometown to spend time with my parents. I got the rare chance of meeting old school friends after almost 20 years! The girls were shining in varied fields and it filled my heart with pride and admiration to see everyone so well placed and successful.
There were those who were the brightest in class and had always topped every exam and then there were those who did fairly well or not so well. But what was amazing is that each one had found their calling. From engineers, lawyers, and teachers, to working in the hospitality industry, running successful businesses and acting in television serials, each one had become successful in their own right. After 20 years it seemed like life had balanced itself leading each one of us to follow our dreams away from the burden of the educational degrees that kept us tied up.
That set me thinking about the way we treat education when in school. I remember the extreme pressure each one of us went through to ensure we got that coveted medical or engineering seat! Some girls had studied a particular course just to please their family but had taken up a different vocation altogether later in life. Have I myself not taken to writing after an arduous four year course in Pharmacy? When I look back, I feel a course in writing would have helped me better! But those days, who had ever heard of a student who scored 90% marks and did not take up science? Also, I had always wanted to learn to sing, but keeping in line with mom’s desire, I learnt Bharatnatyam, and I keep mentioning this to her even now! A friend told me how she was always interested in playing badminton, but had taken up medicine due to family pressure and ended giving it up half way.
The surprising fact is that the parents who have grown up with this very background, are still pressurizing their kids to do what is acceptable to the society rather than what they would want to be. I happened to ask a friend’s child what he wanted to be. The child promptly replied that he wanted to be a guitarist. And his mother who listened to that said, “That’s just his hobby. My son will be an engineer and then go abroad for his MS. “We are even saving for his higher education, she said.” She even went on to elaborate what saving schemes they were investing in to ensure that they had money to supplement the child’s foreign trip! There goes another dream down the drain, I thought to myself!
It is very important to let the child follow his or her dream and let them be what they want to be. Instead of telling them what we want them to be, this is what we need to say to our kids:
- Dare to dream and follow your dreams.
- Don’t be trapped by dogma.
- Don’t waste your life living someone else’s life.
- Don’t let other’s opinion drown your own inner voice.
- Have the courage to follow your intuition.
- Don’t be afraid of failures.
- I’ll stand by you no matter what.
You will be surprised at how mature the kids are and how many ideas they have about what to do in life. Encourage them even if they fail. Children are not limited in what they can do; they are limited in the freedom we give them. Don’t let the marks they obtain at school be a judge of what they can become. There’s a famous quote that says, ‘You cannot judge a fish by its ability to climb a tree!’ Every child is different and has the right to be respected, the right to dream, the right to be cared for and gifts that should be recognized, valued and the right to achieve their god-given potential.
Let your child never regret what he could not achieve, rather, let him feel proud that you were instrumental in achieving what he had envisioned for himself. I bet, that would be the best day of your life!
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My name is Shubhangi Srikanth and I write under the pen name Titli. I started my blog “the little princess” and it helped me channel my thoughts in the proper direction.
After having worked for more than 12 years in the Pharmaceutical and Banking sector, I now freelance as a content writer for medical and health websites. I have two adorable boys, who have taught me more about life than I could teach them. Being a mother is one of the most fulfilling roles of my life, one that I wouldn’t trade for anything in the world!