I was watching Aamir Khan’s latest flick the other day. I am not sure how many of you out there have actually seen "Taare Zameen Pe" – if you haven not, this is one movie that I would highly recommend. Hats off to Aamir for depicting the high pressure world the Indian child of today lives in.
Pressures brought about by his very own, right from the time he would have uttered his first word. How many times have we seen or even asked our little ones to ‘perform’ in front of relatives or friends? Do we realise what we are doing when we ask our child to recite the new poem he has learnt, or display his mathematical ability ? We turn them into ‘circus monkeys’ performing for our self – glorification, not bothered if the child wants to be one or not! Come on let us cross our hearts and say that we have not done such a thing- after all which of us does not want the other person to see "how very intelligent" our offsprings are right!
…It stems from the fear of being ostracised by the society in which we live…….
How many a time do parents exert pressure on their children by living under the Joanes Syndrome. I have been a witness to this malady affecting many a parent in the 500 plus apartment complex that I live. We have kids who can barely support a tennis racket being sent to be taught tennis or, a child in the kindergarten being taught taekwondo, in addition to skating, swimming and drawing classes besides his regular tuition just because the neighbor?s child goes for some of these lessons! It does not matter to the parents that the neighbor?s child is in the fourth standard. Forget the fact that the child may not even have an aptitude for it! Many a time parents can be guilty of wanting their children to live for their unfulfilled dreams and in the bargain crush those of their child leading to a vicious circle. The perfect example of this would be of a family known to us who forced their child to join the merchant navy, just because the father was in it. The individual was very unhappy until he was bold enough to call it quits and stand up for he wanted. Today he rakes in the same amount of moolah in a job of his dreams!
The pressures don’t stop at home. Today’s curriculum followed in most schools, is one that does not permit the child to develop as a all-rounder. Instead we have children who just learn by rote and vomit this at examinations- after all he does need to secure 99.99 % to make it to college right, so who has time for learning? We as parents add to this by declaring to the world that we want our children to stand first in class-never mind that we cannot have all 68 students standing first. If they do not do well in a subject or overall, do we not chide them? The underlying message being failure is not acceptable one has to win -ALWAYS. God help those children who are not so brainy and have a ‘clever’ elder or younger sibling. Additionally a ‘backward’ child is always at the receiving end and gets humiliated by his teachers and fellow students. What could be worse that even the parents joining in, in such a chorus! Besides this though many become teachers, not everyone can teach. Add to this a house-full class and what do you get- an overburdened, underpaid, dissatisfied individual. How can we expect them to be motivated enough to look at each child as an individual and instruct him in an appropriate manner?
Sadly enough these pressures do not stop here. They go on to follow the child even when he grows up- be it in selecting a career or a bride. It stems from the fear of being ostracised by the society in which we live. But have we even thought that we are the ones responsible in the creation of such a society? Hopefully we will understand that it is time to hold a mirror to ourselves, it is time to wake up and smell the beans before it is too late and as Michael Jackson puts it " I’m looking at the man in the mirror, I’m asking him to change his ways", so let us do as he says and " Heal the world, make it a better place, for you and for me and the entire human race".
Author: Charmaine Albuquerque- India