News like the one above makes me very, very sad. Committing suicide in fear of exams? What must have driven those young minds to take such terrible, desperate steps? What kind of stress those kids must have been going through before coming to such a disastrous decision? And here we are, complaining about stress at jobs, stress in marriage and what not. We have thousands of crack pot stress relief programs to teach us how to ‘deal’ with stress, effective or not. What do these innocent kids have? Who is to tell them it is alright to have failures in life, leave alone in exams, as long as one doesn’t loses hope? Who is to encourage them to face failure and try again, without denting their confidence and self-esteem?
Education in India is mostly driven by strong emotions of parents who want to see their child ‘succeed’ in life. Parents, esp. in India think that hurting their child’s self-esteem by making negative statements about the kids abilities, like comparing their kids with someone else’s, threatening the child with humiliation in event of ‘failure’ (as defined by the parents), will actually make the child want to put in more effort and make the parents proud.
But what does a child know about pride? What does a child know about Indian family politics, where ‘status’ is determined by how much one earns and the name of the company he/ she works for?
“If you don’t get good marks in the board exams, you will spoil your entire life!”
“All your friends will ridicule you if you don’t study for engineering or MBBS”
“Why don’t you get smart and have only the top rankers in your class as friends?”
“You have to put study efforts for at least 14hrs a day… 8hrs at school, 6hrs at home. If you don’t, you will not get good marks and then you will become worthless!”
“You got only 85% marks!! Miserable wretch! You are only fit to herd pigs!! May be I will get you 50 pigs… no, you won’t be able to do even that!”
don’t actually help a child! These kind of comments blows holes in the child’s confidence like a shotgun firing through a sheet of paper. It breaks the fragile minds, giving them a feeling that no matter how hard they try they will not satisfy expectations. Some also begin to believe that if they ‘fail’ in something, ‘they’ have proven to be worthless.
Instead of giving love and affection, parents end up scorning, beating and sometimes even endangering the child’s future as well as life.
I don’t usually see hindi movies… hardly, actually. But I saw ‘Taare Zameen Par’. Excellent movie. There is one statement in that movie which sums up the solution to problems faced by millions of children (Indian, too) throughout the world.
“Parents should stop burdening their children with the huge weight of their own ambitions.”
I completely agree with it.