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A fictionalised account of a real life situation, this is an insightful look at how parents try to foist their dreams on their kids, even if inadvertently. Do you find yourself doing that?
Neha was sitting outside the office room waiting for her turn to meet the Principal. She was getting late for office, and was a bit irritated about this early morning meeting with the school Principal. She thought to her herself, “What could be the reason? Did Maya fail in any test? Was it a general meeting?”
She had had a word with Maya previous day, but she did not reveal anything to her. In fact Maya did not even bother to answer her on why they called a parent’s meeting all of a sudden.
Meanwhile Mrs.Nair, Maya’s class teacher, saw Neha and greeted her. “Mrs. Nair, I am getting late for office and have so many assignments pending… could you please brief me on what this meeting is for? I have no clue why they have called me.”
Mrs.Nair smiled at her and said, “We wanted to discuss few things related to Maya, please have patience. The Principal will meet your shortly.” She went inside the office room.
Neha was lost in thoughts. What is it with Maya? What did she do? Did she score less marks or fail in exams…oh gosh I spend so much on her tutions. Rajiv will get upset if he get to know that she has scored less. How many times I told her not to waste time on that useless music and basketball? She doesn’t listen to my advice. I need to be bit more strict with her.
Her thoughts were broken when an office boy called her in to meet Principal Mr. Ramakrishna. Neha went in and greeted the Principal and smiled at Mrs.Nair. Ramakrishna asked Neha to be seated and pointed to chair opposite him. Worried, Neha asked him, “May I know why I have been called for this meeting? Any problem with Maya?”
The Principal and Mrs.Nair exchanged looks for a second. Mrs Nair broke the silence, “Mrs. Neha Mathur did you observe any change in Maya’s behavior these days? Do you think Maya is in a disturbed state?”
Neha looked astonished and replied, “No, she is normal. She is absolutely fine.”
Mrs. Nair again questioned her, “What is Maya’s routine at home – can you please explain?”
Neha said, “Maya wakes up at 6am and gets ready for school. She catches the school bus around 7.40am. Then she comes back from school by 4.30pm. After that she would change, get ready, and go for tutions from 5pm to 7pm. After that she comes back and does online coaching for her entrance exams from 7.30pm to 9.30pm, later homework and vedic maths practice till 10.30pm and then she is off to bed. But why… Why are you asking all this? What’s wrong?”
The Principal was listening to this closely. When she was done, he asked, “Mrs.Mathur do you spend time with your daughter?”
Neha said, “Yes of course,! Once in a fortnight we go out for dinner or shopping. In fact my husband and I are very affectionate towards Maya. We wanted to give her the best in everything.”
Mrs. Nair shook her head and with a slight smile, asked, “You wanted to give her the best in what Mrs. Mathur? You say you are affectionate towards her, in what sense? you don’t even know your child is suffering. She is in pain. She is in trauma.”
Neha felt a sudden shock run through her body. In a commanding voice Neha demanded “What are you saying Mrs. Nair, could you please explain? What’s going on here?”
Mrs.Nair gave her a glass of water that was on a table. “Calm down Mrs.Mathur, please cool down. Let me tell you the observations that I have made about Maya.”
“Maya was a very active, social and smart child as I know her. But from the past 3 months I can see lots of changes in Maya. She never pays attention in class, is not interested in any activities, not willing to mingle with anyone. She wants to be alone. Sometimes she cries, and feels miserable. Once I asked her to solve an equation on the board. She did nothing except stare at blackboard for 20mins, and then she threw the chalk down and ran out of the classroom. She tries to avoid friends and teachers. She is not doing her homework properly. In one of the books she had written this,” she said, and showed it Neha. It was written in big bold letters: “I have no wings to fly, So I must die!”
Neha’s heartbeat skipped a beat as she read those words.
Principal Ramakrishna gave her a sympathetic look and said, “Mrs.Mathur, every kid is born with some talent; not all kids can become engineers, doctors, lawyers…Why do you stress your kid to be someone whom they don’t want to be? Maya loves music – have you heard her singing? She can mesmerize you with her voice. She is good at playing basketball.” He pointed to a big shield and said, “This was won by Maya and team at an inter school competition. Why do you want pressurize her to pursue something which she is not interested in? Please Mrs. Mathur, for god’s sake try to understand your child. She needs your encouragement, support and love. Sending her to the best tuitions, best coaching and best school does not make you a great parent. I suggest you to contact Dr.G.K.Verma. He is a good child psychiatrist. He will help you out. We don’t want Maya to get in to more trouble, we care for her.”
Neha was in tears. She had never imagined that Maya was so stressed, and that she was the reason behind it. Mrs.Nair put her hand on Neha’s shoulder and said, “Kids need wings to fly; only parents can give them the best wings to fly. It’s not too late Mrs.Mathur. Maya will surely come out with flying colors if guided well.”
Neha thanked both of them and came out of the office room. She saw Maya standing outside looking dull and pale. Neha ran to her and hugged her tight. “Sorry Maya,” she said. “I am very sorry. It’s my mistake. I promise you today, that I will surely give you colourful wings to fly.”
Later, Maya was diagnosed for generalized anxiety disorder. With the treatment, and freedom and care, she recovered fast. Neha and Rajiv both supported Maya to pursue her dream in music and basketball. Maya also showed an improvement in her academics.
Author’s note: Many parents have this wrong notion, that kids who get great grades and ranks are successful in life. Your kid is successful if he or she manages to get your support and encouragement to pursue his/her dream. Anxiety disorder is increasing at alarming pace. Parents still pressurize their kids for grades even after reading about many suicide incidents in media. Hope you will not make that mistake. Parents please realize and give your kids color full wings to fly…
Image source: shutterstock
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While I do agree with the overall message the article wants to convey, I think its an oversimplification of the problem and also promotes a stereotype about working women- that they have no time for their kids, they have no understanding about their kids psychological needs etc. I have seen many homemakers who drive their children like this more than working women.
Also, finding a child’s interests may not be as easy as music or basketball. It may take a lot of hard work for a parent to find out what a child is interested in, especially if he/she is an introvert.
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