By Faiza Farooq
Ever since I attained the sense of remembering events, from the time I got admitted in one of Kashmir valley’s reputed schools until the time I graduated from the college, not of my choice, I have been experiencing a constant fear of failure, a constant rise of stress in me. I am pretty sure that this is not only my story, but it’s a story of millions of blooming buds, it’s a story of all those who are the victims of the ongoing cutthroat climate of competition.
A child, right from birth is handed over alphabetic toys to play with. As children complete their 2nd year of life, the discussion of the list of schools starts hitting everywhere. A child, who knows nothing except playing with nature, is subjected to endless questions and trials to train him or her for the so-called interviews. And if by mistake, the poor soul fails somehow, the anger of his parents shoots up remarkably.
Being holistic, has any parent ever thought of the consequences of thrusting their dreams onto the shoulders of that innocent soul who has just about begun to live? A few decades back or a generation ago, when our parents were kids, a child would start his kindergarten at the minimum age of five, which has now dropped to 3 or 3+. Pondering more, I personally feel that our parents started late but have achieved comparatively better than us. What I mean to say is that they were not forced or made to do things their parents dreamt of doing, so they became what they wanted to be.
But what are we doing? Where are we going? Our levels of stress are so high that we think not even once before hanging ourselves, well aware of it being a sin. The reason being the inability, or perhaps unwillingness to fulfill our parents’ expectations.
Another misery in our ways is that parents have this opinion, imbibed to their bone, that they are spending more of everything than they were spent on- Best schooling, Best education, Best material and you name it, which undoubtedly is true. But, in all this, they forget that it is equally important to know if their child is able to deal with the mounting stress? Is their child mentally well, fully equipped to deal with the stress of the competitive atmosphere children are now almost always pushed into? Whether or not their child is facing learning difficulties? Is it or not, way too more than his or her capability? Is he or not sinking inside his study room, feeling alone having none to understand him? Is he losing himself to depression by this number game?
Yet another psychologically frustrating feeling comes from this habitual comparison between batchmates, friends or neighbours, casually done by parents, unaware of the damage it causes to a child’s mental health.
There is a constant rise in anxiety disorder among teenagers since the past few years. In the game of doing better, students are actually losing their individuality. “98% na laye to ghar nahin aana!!”, is the most common dictum used by average parents. Students are treated as “grade machines”.
Grades have become the mark of status in our society nowadays. Intelligence and knowledge is nothing, if you have a 6-pointer. If you can’t mug up and fetch grades, you are not worth anything. This is the current scenario of judging intelligence. But, by judging an eagle by its ability to swim will lead to disappointments always. Parents need to understand this simple but very important concept.
Agreed, that being harsh sometimes is necessary, but thrusting your choices on your children is not good. If your child wants to study literature, don’t force him or her to join medicine. If forced into “succeeding” in what they are innately interested in children will be a black spot to that profession too. Parents are a treasure, undoubtedly, but their never ending expectations curb the child, ending up creating anger, hatred, annoyance and disobedience.
—The writer is a student of M.V.Sc (Veterinary Surgery and Radiology) SKUAST-J.