When I worked as a preschool teacher earlier, I was irrevocably drawn towards student psychology. Although I handled preschool, I was also in a position to interact with students who were in eleventh and twelfth grade. It seemed as though I was a part of two different worlds, each oblivious of the other’s existence. My preschool kids were innocent, loving and obedient. They absorbed every word I spoke, like a sponge. I still remember how the kids used to fight for the first bench. But then, ever since I made it a point to walk around in class while teaching, the fights stopped. My kids mastered the art of head rotation with their eyes and ears following my gait and sound. You can say, I was their mother teacher. They took my scolding with the same grace as they received my love and care.
However, when I interacted with teenagers in the same school, I realized communication was a jigsaw puzzle. As I pondered over the alternate universes I was dealing with, it suddenly dawned upon me that these teenagers too were preschoolers at some time in their life and, my kids too will become teenagers some day. So, what happens in the time slab in between?
Recently, a case in Kerala opened a can of worms about the damaged psyche that the youth is being fed with. Toxic masculinity is the word, perhaps. The absolute incapability of a man to accept a rejection from a woman is just the beginning of a dangerous dementia that is fast settling in the minds of the youth. A professional setback is not as hurtful as a rejected love proposal. Why? Victims of sexual abuse are troubled more than the perpetrators of the crime. Why? All answers to the Whys lie in the dormant ‘time slab’.
We live in a hunky dory world. Nothing goes wrong. Really!?
When children grow up, they are the apple of our eyes. We as parents comprehend the complex feeling of seeing our heart parade out in the world by themselves. When our children cry, our heart cries. When our children get hurt, our heart bleeds. When our children express joy, our heart rejoices. When they sulk, our heart drowns in ennui. That is what our children mean to us. However, loving a child and raising a child are different things. So, the definition of happy parenting stems from success stories.
Especially when parents wear their children’s achievements up their sleeves, the children have a high boost in their morale. That feels good, right? I remember how my elation still touches the sky when my mother proudly mentions to people about my blogs. Some small pleasures, I suppose. On the other hand, my father does not give away compliments so easily. But I also know for a fact that his appreciation comes in the form of his criticism. I can sense his pride in prodding me to excel. His limited words are laced with enough mojo to convey the much needed message for me – “Criticism is what keeps you going ahead.”
This statement has come a long way for me in terms of life’s teachings. And somewhere down the line, we have missed out on the important lessons in life pertaining to rejections, failures and criticism. And this, I believe is the root of all the miseries that are sprouting in our society.
Now, Let’s talk about failures!
I remember the years after my graduation. I had given a lot of job interviews where I always cleared the written and technical rounds. However, by some strange interference of destiny’s designs, I failed the HR interviews miserably. There also came a stage when failures and rejection got to me and, I was in a place where I was not happy. In those days, my father kept me going on with those magical and comforting words – This too shall pass! A very important phrase and much needed to be spread in the current times! And even though I faced only 6 months of constant rejections (which appeared a long time to me then), that duration did teach me a great deal about the importance of failures in life. Somewhere, it also was the trigger for my interest in blogging.
Now why does this incident deserve a mention? Now, my failures weren’t that huge to be raved about. But for me, it was a junction phase then, a time to sit and think and contemplate which train I need to take to further my journey. And, I felt like mentioning this as I have observed that the children today are not adept in handling the sudden setbacks and failures. And, as parents we are going wrong at some point. Children do not need success stories of great leaders to be motivated. You want your child to understand success, show him a spider trying to build its web after our countless attempts of displacing it!
Fail, but try again like the spider
Some time back, my son came to me and said – “Mum! What is the point of you removing cobwebs! The spiders keep coming back. See, it is again weaving a web!” I detest spiders. I am also slightly arachnophobic! However, the spider relentlessly coming back to weave its web made me take a pause from my chores. And, I found myself singing the rhyme –
Incy wincy spider climbs up the water spout….
Down came the rain and washed the spider out….
Out came the Sun and dried up all the rain….
And, Incy Wincy spider climbed up the spout again….
The spider keeps coming back despite knowing that humans will repeatedly destroy its world again and again. That day, I told my son that in some ways we all need to be like that spider. When we fall down, we need to get up. On a stormy day, we must pause till the storm passes. If it is a sunny day, we need to make the best of it. If we get hurt, we need to take the lesson and move on! We have to be spiders in a world of turbulence.
This is a two-part series by Narayani that emphasizes on preparing children to face the real world, by talking to them about failures. You can read Part 2 here.
Narayani Karthik is an army wife who is a software engineer by profession. After a three year stint in the IT industry, she dabbled in content writing for a while before she embarked on the most beautiful journey of her life – Motherhood. After having been a Stay-At-Home-Mom for about three years, she took to teaching pre-primary children. This experience helped her gain an insight into toddlers’ behavior and psychology. Besides being a book lover, she loves to cook for her man in olive-green (Yes, she is a Proud Army Wife!) and loves to spend a lot of time with her hyper active son – Arjun. And then, in some free time that she manages from her busier than busy schedule, she loves to blog at Swimming In An Ocean Of Thoughts…..