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.
Picture credit PIXABAY.