Monday, October 24, 2016

Why I will continue to push my kids to study



I come from a family of teachers - my father, mother, sister, aunt, uncle are all professors, teachers, principals. Academics have always been placed at a premium.

My grand mum would say:
Padhoge likhoge banoge nawab, 
kheloge kudoge toh hoge kharab.
(Study hard and you’ll be a nawab, 
fool around and you’ll go bad).
That translation isn’t too accurate, but you get the idea I hope.

Over the years we have recognised the value of khel kood. We have learnt to place peace of mind, emotional well-being and self confidence over pure academics.

And I’m glad.

With exams going on, the word success has been thrown at the kids rather liberally and that prompted N to ask me the other day, ‘What does ‘being successful’ mean?’ 

So what is success? Ideally success would mean getting to do what you love and making some money along the way. Neither one of those two things is any less important, to me at least.

However, life isn’t perfect and not many of us are fortunate enough to get to do exactly what we love and get paid as much as we would like for it. So we strike a compromise - choosing work which we like most of the time and making enough money too. The money bit is complicated. How much is enough is something the children will have to decide for themselves and I hope they do a sensible job of it when the time comes.

But I’m digressing. 

The thing is, no matter what they decide to do, academics remain the single most certain ticket to a good life for the average Indian. Unless the child is a prodigy, academics offer that most important Plan B.

Besides, there’s a more important lesson to be learnt. Their current scores might be of no importance, nor an indication of what they will make of themselves and their lives, but the habits they form now are. Habits of hard work, of recognising and using their full potential, of  focussing on a target, of giving up inane momentary pleasures for a greater goal. They learn all of that when they sit down with their books every day, day after day, and aim to do well.

Those are habits they will need, no matter what they do or where they go. Whether they decide to be engineers, artists, web designers, actors, zumba instructors.. whatever. 

Not all children are born with these qualities but all are born with the capacity to cultivate them. As a parent it is my job to see that they do. That I do it with compassion and consideration and with their individual capacities in mind is what I have to remember.

The only spoke in the wheel is that I have to do it within the framework of our unimaginative, one-mould-for-all education system. But that is a rant for another day. For now I’m off to celebrate. Exams are done.
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Picture credit PIXABAY.


Linking up with Mackenzie at Reflections from Me


26 comments:

  1. I think that you are absolutely right to recognise that 'the habits of hard work' are important, whatever you end up doing with your life. It's not all about being academic, just doing your very best to realise your personal potential. That is how I try to encourage my girls to work. Alison x #mg

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    1. Most kids need a little encouragement to focus on the important things in life. As parents we need to do that.

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  2. Hi Tulika..what a nice post...exactly my thoughts on academics..for me the habits that come with it like dislike, concentration and hard work are the life lessons... beautifully written...all the best to you, N and H for the exams��

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    1. Thank you Gowri. And a very happy Diwali to you and your family.

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  3. Congratulations with the happy festival times to come with exams getting over and Diwali coming :) The measure of success in my academic times was to secure a seat in an engineering college or a medical college or to become a CA. When I think about D, I do not aspire for him to get into IIT or MIT but he just be happy and remain aware as he progresses along the way and, yes, without foregoing the value of putting the best efforts into whatever he does.

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    1. Much has changed from the time we were kids Anamika but some things remain the same. Hard work and perseverance are the keys to success even now.

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  4. Yay! For the exams done bit. And for the rest of the post, it could have been written by me except for the teacher part. We share similar value systems and thought processes, Tulika. Just like you, I want to inculcate order, discipline and methodology in how they study. Their marks at this stage may not matter but how will they learn these habits from out of the sky at a later date? Both my kids have shown no aptitude towards sports or crafts or any other calling just now. For me and my family, academics are very important. They are what have made us. With all 3 siblings in my family being MBAs, my own dad a senior bureaucrat and my husband from IIT and MBA, we place a lot of importance on studies and for good reason. I hope they can follow their heart and do something that they will enjoy most of the time and make money that works for their needs. Loved the post!

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    1. Thank you Rachna. I think you and I come from very similar backgrounds. Good habits form over years, they don't drop from the sky, like you said. That's exactly what I think.

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  5. I want to hate you, but I agree with your thoughts. Education matters at least for any average Indian. We live in a country where talent is judged after verifying the degrees!

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    1. Ha ha Anmol. Unfortunately it is only too true - that bit about talent and degrees.

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  6. I absolutely agree with what you said. I tell the girls every single day that I am not bothered about what grades they bring in, but I want them to put their best efforts at whatever they do. It does not matter to me if they fail after that. But work harder they must. My mom and aunts are all teachers and lecturers. I guess that instills this quality in us.

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    1. Yes yes and yes again. Marks don't much matter but that they are doing the best they can does.

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  7. I totally agree. Education is the only real wealth we can give/receive. Beautifully said, Tulika. The meaning of success is so relative. Congratulations on the exams being packed off for now. Our system is a bit depressing, and never really brings out true talent, probably because it standardizes everyone. Sigh!

    Cute image! Hugs!

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    1. Thanks Vidya. Yeah the system is truly depressing. And unfortunately the average person has to fit in it to survive.

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  8. I agree with you, Tulika! Education is always important. Only education along with the right to choose career path will help the kids in building a healthy future!

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    1. Glad you agree Vinitha. Sometimes it is hard on the kids but that's the way it is.

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  9. Education is what will stay with us when everything else leaves us. So invest in a good education.

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  10. How true you are, Tulika!
    I took academics much more seriously when I was in college and it paid off. A fact I am proud of. Kids these days have a hundred distractions, and when I see then whiling away their time or giving academics less priority over other stuff, my heart breaks. They don't realise how much working hard now is going to pay off later in life.

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    1. True that. Somethings never get devalued.

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  11. I totally agree with you. No matter what the importance of education cannot be discounted. Ever. We need it and I hope I'm able to help M see that while she pursues whatever she wants to. Education is right on top, right on top.

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    1. Glad you agree. Our parents were so invested in our education. We need to instil the same values in our kids.

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  12. Yay exams done! We have made so many sacrifices to give our children the best education, to us it is so important. Both academically and emotionally we are thrilled with their school, and whatever our children choose to be I know they will go into it because they believe it will make them happy. I want them to follow their passions and I totally love and support their natural thirst for knowledge #mg

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  13. You are bang on Tulika! Exactly what I was arguing the other day with my son who was asking me what's the point of learning all this history of France and geography of Tundra. Its not the what you learnthat matters but your attitude towards any situation, time planning, sincerity, team work and other skills that happen alongside that matter more.But it does get tedious trying to make kids understand the importance of these aspects, doesn't it? Great post Tulika.

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    1. Of course it does. And how they argue! It's some task trying to convince then about the Hpws and Whys of academics.

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