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Should We Chisel Down Our Children To Fit Into Our Dreams Instead Of Encouraging Theirs?

I am not sure who is right - those who try to push the children to their limits or those who allow the children to loiter around and find the limits on their own?

I am not sure who is right – those who try to push the children to their limits or those who allow the children to loiter around and find the limits on their own?

Though I have my masters in Psychotherapy and Counseling, I enjoy teaching. It has been my passion since my childhood, yeah you heard me right.

My first project was teaching my mom to sign her name instead of the thumb impression. I did that when I was in 3rd grade. I realized how difficult that simple thing was for her. It took nearly 6 months for her to learn to just sign her name. After that I had taken it upon myself to teach the helper’s children, my classmates who found a subject tough to understand and also my elder sister who was terrified of math.

I realized that I love teaching. This slowly led to coaching children in primary school when I was in high-school. Since then, I have had different students who I have helped to cope with their academic challenges.

Naturally everyone expected me to do the same with my son. I did earlier, but then I realized he is not like me. He loved to learn differently, not by memorizing or reading like I did. After an initial clash, I decided to let him be himself and learn the way he wants it.

The pressure on a mother is endless…

He was forced to take up Computer Engineering which he was not keen about, but later, after three years in Diploma, he decided that was not what he wanted to do for the rest of his life. He took up animation. When I fully supported him, I received a lot of flak from people around me. Finally, he proved himself by winning a second prize and later a first prize at a reputed institute. He did not have trouble finding a good job either. All is well.  But what if things had not gone right? Who would be blamed for that?

What I observed with my above experience is the pressure on a mother to fill the child with knowledge, no matter what it takes for it. Tuitions, extra classes, corporal punishment, coaxing -anything is fine as long the score is ticking.

This reminded me of my friend Narayani who had shared similar thoughts earlier in response to one of posts on Facebook where I mentioned how I don’t try to always be there for my children, but give them their space and choices. 

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She has faced a lot of flak for not sitting with her son for his academics but only assisting him whenever needed. She is trying hard to step out of the norm set for moms and trying to be a part of change. But, even though a smart person who had made a smart choice, she is riddled with doubts and criticism.

Marks hardly measure knowledge!

Let us evaluate her words because nothing compares to a rant which is unedited. I am sharing this with her permission, let us flow with her rant –

“Like, I am constantly reminded why one needs to be around the kid for academics and other things. And, I tried too. It is then I realized I was becoming exactly the person I was against becoming – overly competitive and a compulsive over thinker. It has been a year since the boy is doing it on his own. He manages a 70 to 80 plus without my assistance. And then the comments pour in – if you sit with him, he will cross 90.

One of the flaws that was not seen as a flaw when we were growing up is the compulsion to hit the century. Most of my academic energy was invested in that. I was one of the toppers till my 10th grade and then, topped in a couple of subjects in 12th. But, I am unable to consider it as an accomplishment. For, what I took as a learning from that timeline is just a branch of conditioning – to get a good seat, you need good marks.

Needless to say, marks hardly measure knowledge. I have met academic olympians with little understanding of the practicality of the subject and mediocre academicians with a deeper understanding of the subjects they have studied.

Also, I have been constantly reminded as to why Arjun needs to be an avid reader because at his age, many are devouring novels on a daily basis.

Apparently, the boy isn’t inclined towards reading yet. But show him a tree, he will climb it. Show him a bird, he will try to feed it. Show him a (gut flipping) centipede, he will rescue it.

I do carry this small pain that he hasn’t taken to reading the way I did at his age. But, at the same I am also surprised when he uses the words he listens to, while watching David Attenborough’s documentaries on wildlife.

Yes, there are days when I feel I am not doing good as a parent and my anger floods out. Arjun immediately calls up my mom and asks her to pacify me first. On some days, I am just OK with the way life is carrying us. And then, there are days when the son and I sit together and discuss melanin and chlorophyll like today.

So yes, I am in the process of becoming a parent because I unlearn something about myself every day. These days, I am forced to feed a stray cat that visits us. And on some days he is forced to write the tables more than 3 times as a practice.

Yup. A lot of quid pro quo happens here.

Someday, I would like to feel the same joy in seeing Arjun as a self reliant kind and a compassionate man, the way you have raised Rayyan”

That came directly from a mom’s heart.

I am not sure who is right – those who try to push the children to their limits or those who allow the children to loiter around and find the limits on their own? The debate will never end… though I can tell for some children, the torment has ended. I agree to disagree and argue over this.

Image credits: DigitalSkillet/Getty Images Signature, via Canva Pro

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About the Author

Farida Rizwan

I am Farida Rizwan, 55, Counselor and Psychotherapist working as Senior Curriculum Developer with Chimple Learning. I am ardent blogger @www.chaptersfrommylife.com and share my life experiences of surviving breast cancer 3rd stage for read more...

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