Again that time of the year has come, the dreaded month of March. The month hated equally by students. Parents and teachers alike. It is that time of the year when students are judged by their marks, grades and percentages. If God forbid, something unexpected happens on exam day which affects their performance, well no one is bothered. No matter how hard you have worked throughout the year, how sincerely you worked, you will be judged only by your final performance. Exams are necessary or not? Are they the only means to judge students capability? Etc, etc, Well, I will not dwell upon these points. Neither I neither am an authority over the above issues nor am I interested to express my views.

What I want to share is what we as parents, teachers, elders can do to reduce stress among students, children? Being in teaching profession, I am in touch with students from past 18 years, since I love kids, the association goes back deeper. My teaching time is the happiest time of my day-children not only keep the child in me alive but they also keep me updated. But from the past few years, I am saddened to see the increasing depression, sadness, anger- among children. Unrealistic demands of parents and teachers, unwillingly made a part of rat race to score marks have multiplied the problems. Half of the students are carrying the expectations of their parents, many are studying only because they don’t have any other options, some are doing ‘rote learning’, and many have become totally indifferent towards studies-which is not only a very serious situation but a very dangerous too.

Dear Parents. I sincerely appeal you to stop pressurizing your child or forcing them to do a particular thing or opt a particular subject.  Please don’t confuse ‘pressurizing’ with ‘encouraging’. How and when as parents we have become so indifferent that we have stopped understanding them, observing them, listening to their inner voice and unspoken words? Why have we become so ruthless that we can’t see what they want or like? STOP JUDGING THEM, LABELLING THEM, COMPARING THEM. The mere thought that no matter what my parents will always support me, hold me- is more than enough to boost their confidence.

Why as parents we are not letting them decide about their future, making them responsible for their decisions and letting them charter their own path? We are ever   ready to help them whether it‘s offering food, ideas or advice. Let them feel hunger so that they enjoy food, let them feel confused so that they know how to take decisions, let them take decisions so that they feel responsible. Let them feel happy on their achievements.  If you feel that we as parents are capable of taking decisions and shouldering our responsibilities efficiently then it’s only because our parents were lot better than us. Ours is a confused generation. We as children were not given ready made ideas. We worked that’s why we have stories to tell, we have anecdotes to share. Our parents made sure that we struggled, we made our own roads. We were not spoon fed. Our parents didn’t buy us PRESENTS to make for their PRESENCE.

Being a parent, I often find myself at crossroads but then it’s up to me how to tackle a situation? Either I can shout at my child or wait for the right moment to teach him/her between right or wrong. If I shout at him/her, I am teaching them to deal every situation by shouting but by being patient I am teaching them to understand things calmly and then act.

Education doesn’t simply means getting good marks, securing good job, earning a handsome salary or moving around in a big car. Education is the all round development of a child. While looking at your child’s report card, don’t ignore the columns below the marks. They tell you a lot about your child personality and development.  Sadly we ignore that column after reading marks of mandatory subjects. With increasing nuclear families, single parent’s children are growing among gadgets, Ipads, video games and if they have any query or doubt, Google uncle is always there. As parents and teachers, it is our duty that we should keep an eye on how our child is evolving as a human being. How he/she deals with family members, teachers, friends, classmates, especially grandparents and their helpers like maids, servants, drivers, waiters. It tells a lot not only about your child but also about your upbringing.  Is our child really happy with what he/she is doing?

We have heard of so many suicide cases where the victim was believed to be very happy, had the best of everything but investigations told that they were not happy with themselves and were fighting depression. Maybe they were trying to please others and afraid of telling their loved ones what they were going through.

Many of them were brilliant students, from IT sector, research scholars who were earning good, well settled still they failed test of Life. We can blame Destiny, circumstances but the main thing is they were unhappy and unable to deal with pressure. I would like to make a point here that our parents and grandparents especially women in olden days were not much educated, in fact some were illiterates still they sailed smoothly and handled everything very efficiently. They managed households, big joint families in a limited budget. Suicide was never an option.

Like a flower, every child has his/her own blooming time, own personality. Give them time. What they need is continuous nurturing, love, and care and most important you’re TIME. As my father says “Children are your biggest assets, so think cautiously. They are mutual funds, they will slowly give you returns but there is lot of risks involved. Don’t buy your presence with presents.”

Let them cry, let them fall, let them have heartbreaks and get hurt, don’t run to hold them. Let them get up on their own but make them know that you are always there for them. Let them understand that all this is a part of growing up; we faced them, our parents and grandparents too. Everything will fall in its place and in the end ALL WILL BE WELL. Scoring less marks or getting failed doesn’t mean the end of road or life. Remember, Life is the most precious gift from GOD and marks are one miniscule part of it. Exams, results, grades etc are part and parcel of LIFE. They are not LIFE. No One is going to remember your marks after few years.

There is difference between EDUCATION and INTELLECT. Don’t confuse the two things. Education gives you exposure, opens your mind, and lets you explore new avenues and arenas. Education never binds you in rote learning, marks, percentage etc.

Do you pressurize your child too much for good scores? Is your child carrying the burden of your expectations? Do you really talk to your child? Do you really listen to them? Kindly share your views about these questions?

Happy Parenting!

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An open letter to a Daughter in her 17th Birthday

About Bharti Gautam Kikan

A diehard optimist who always looks for hope in despair, positive in negative and light in the darkest of alleys. Besides being a mother of two kids, I am almost mother to my students also.
Surrounded by kids not only keeps me updated and connected to GenX, but also keep the child in me alive. I am also associated with NGO-‘RAUNAK-HELPING HANDS’, which trains underprivileged girls vocational courses and elementary education so that they can live a better life. Writing unwinds me and helps me to communicate with strangers, unknown faces and helps me to learn and understand new perspectives. So, let’s talk and understand each other..

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