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Values & Education

Learning Life’s Lessons

“You’re going to allow him to become a chef?”, asked my teenage niece about my ten year old son. She seemed surprised! She had just heard that R had made up his mind about it. And she wasn’t impressed…


My young son had shown a keen interest in cooking and baking from a really early age. He even won first prize for Sandwich making when he was in Grade 1. That’s when my husband and I decided that if R does indeed show a preference to be a chef, we as parents, should encourage it. In a world where people are looking for highly paid jobs in various fields like Medicine, Computers, Commerce and Engineering, this seems to be quite an unambitious outlook.

Every year, millions of students write the Entrance Exams and become disappointed when they don’t get an admission. They bury themselves in mountains of books and are hardly conscious of the world outside. And every year, hundreds of professionals pass out, looking for jobs that can make all their hard work worthwhile.

But if we ask them if they are happy with what they are doing, few will assent. Of course, there are those who are crazy about their chosen careers and are undoubtedly in the forefront, and then, there are those who need their careers to create their image for them and there are yet more of those who pursue their chosen course for the satisfaction of their family. Jobs and careers are so important to us these days that we seldom take the time to enjoy what we are doing.

I remember how my ambition was to become a flight attendant- mostly so that I could travel and of course, the smart suit 🙂 And then I wanted to become an artist and yet again, a singer. What happened in the end was that I got married as soon as I turned eighteen and became a homemaker. And with early motherhood came responsibilities and my studies were ignored until now, when my kids have begun to learn on their own and I have taken up my books with renewed enthusiasm.

And the truth is that I had not stopped learning just because I put away my books. I have been learning all those years I was a struggling young mom. My experiences were my teachers. And each problem I faced were my exams. Each successful milestone covered were my results.

And that’s what I want to tell all those parents out there who think book learning is the only education. I think that we should give our children the choice to choose their own path. Life is not all about colleges and degrees. It’s about having fun doing things that you love, making mistakes and learning from them, exploring the things that has made us curious and most of all, keeping awake the child in us. Of course, I want my children to develop academically, but I also want them to appreciate the little things in life. I want them to enjoy the feel of the wind on their face, the wetness of the grass on their feet and the warmth of the sun on their skin. I take them on picnics, talk to them, read with them and recently, we even flew a kite together. I believe that of all the schools, colleges and universities, what we teach our kids is what’s going to show foremost in their lives.

Hence, I have made a habit of letting my kids help in the kitchen, know the responsibility of cleaning up after each task, understand the nutritional values of each food and of course, to be excellent food critics! If not a chef, I know that they won’t be dependent on anyone else to prepare their meals for them when they grow up.

As a mother, I want my kids to be responsible, sensible and yet, carefree. I don’t know if that can be enough in our competitive world, but I’m definitely going to try.

I’m a homemaker and a mother of two, who loves to read, cook and bake and who has recently developed the art of leadership and public speaking through Toastmasters International. I must say, I’m still a bit old fashioned and hence am a bit backward at social media. However, I get pretty chatty when I want to and am a great correspondent. So please feel free to share your views on my article with me!