No matter how many times we are reminded of the Olympic motto that it is the spirit of participation that matters and not winning, I have never seen photograph of Indian athlete who lost an Olympic race. So am I to be blamed every time my chest swells when our daughters get recognition in school? It could be a star the younger one gets on here drawing of fish or the monitor badge the elder one gets from school principal.
Let us accept we all have a Tiger mom or dad ( let us be gender neutral) in us lurking somewhere in the bushes, that at right moment pounces on the clueless guest in our home to showcase the real or perceived talent of our contribution to the continuity and hopefully evolution of the human race. How many of us were able to resist the temptation to ask the kiddo to sing “Ba Ba Black Sheep” every time the kid met somebody who visited us?
Let truth be told ladies and gentlemen, we have been the clichéd parents on more occasions than one, but we still feel proud every time the kiddo comes beaming from school and showcases the latest addition to the ever-increasing collection of medals, certificates, trophies, star badge and smiles and stars from the teacher on the homework book. It is difficult to say who feels more happy the beaming kid or the proud parents.
Now no matter I may say that marks are not important in exams we all know some day they will matter. What is important is that the other important things in life are not forgotten in the pursuit of those marks. Every kid has a talent that we need to identify, nurture and if it blooms should justifiably feel proud about it.
The important aspect to remember is that we should not live our dreams though the lives of our kids. A lot of us became Engineers, MBA’s and Bank officers because our parents wanted that. I have a friend who is slowly making his name in the world of photography and he did everything possible to make sure he does not becomes an Engineer like his dad wanted him to be, life meeting 3 idiots I must say. An important thing to ask when you enrol your son to those guitar lessons is if he is interested in learning guitar or it is your attempt to relive your childhood through him. Enrol him in guitar classes by all means but only if he loves to learn music not because you wanted to learn guitar as a child and your parents forced you to go to IIT JEE classes. The difference is subtle but vital to the happiness and peace in the family.
What has happened with the parents of today is while they are making the kids learn things besides academics, the things the kids are being encouraged to learn are the things the parents wanted as a child. I think there is not much difference between your father forcing you to become an Engineer and you trying to make a Bob Dylan or a Sachin Tendulkar, same thing as long as you are forcing your dreams on your children. The question to ask is if the pendulum has swung to the other extreme because of our unfulfilled dreams outside of career and education.
I find the kids of today are much more mature before the time and they understand things much better than I used to. There are many reasons for that, one for sure is information overload from all the electronic media around us. So to expect that a kid will live your dream without questioning them is actually trying to go back and live in Doordarshan era, that we all remember with nostalgia but would not like to live and go back in it. To expect our kids to do that is actually stretching it a bit too far.
What do you say? I would love to hear in the comments below. Are those guitar, kuchipudi, cricket sessions that you are financing because of genuine love your child has for it or because the musician in you was never nurtured so he is getting a second life?
Sasha and Prasad Np are proud parents of 2 girls whom they fondly call Princess (11 yrs in Feb 13) and Pinkette (4 yrs next month). He wears many hats after taking a break from being corner office critter for a long time. He is now entrepreneur, blogger, photographer, traveler and an investor in startups with unique concepts. He blogs at Desi Traveler, and can be reached at Facebook and Twitter.