Parents are the angels we have on Earth who take care of us, when God is too busy maintaining balance and peace in the world. This position of theirs earns respect and gratitude of the child. Believe me when I say that every child feels (and should feel) indebted to his parents, for giving him life and more importantly for making it worth living, at some or all times throughout his existence on Earth. Parents are like the anchor of our boat, keeping us afloat in this gigantic ocean of worldly drifts and waves.
But does that mean they cannot do anything wrong? No, it does not.
Parents are wrong when they lay too much pressure on their child to excel in the ongoing rat race to prove one’s worth in this materialistic world. I am not generalizing here. I know there are many parents who support their child through thick and thin. And if you are one of them, I salute you!
But then, I also know about parents for whom boasting about their child’s success and achievement is so important to maintain their ‘status’ in the society, that in the process of creating a success story, they often lead to tales of broken dreams. They want to produce geniuses. And in this era of cut throat competition, they want their child to go to a reputed college, earn a hefty salary and marry a partner of their choice. Looks extremely well planned, isn’t it ? But I tend to disagree. Between all the meticulous contemplation and planning about a child’s future, where have they taken into account their child’s dreams and aspirations? Parents might put forth an argument that they have seen the world and they are experienced enough to judge what is good for their child and what is bad. I totally agree. But how is crushing of a child’s dreams would do any good to him. I know ‘crushing’ is a harsh word to use in this context but I don’t intend to use euphemism when I want to express my views clearly and without any softening or exaggeration. In certain situations, parents might not even know that they are ‘crushing’ their child’s dream. Ignoring it and asking him to blindly follow the rat in the race cannot absolve them of the fact that they are killing the seed inside him which can give birth to a tree in future. Or even if it is not a tree, even if it is just a sapling – yet a sapling is better than a dead and a wasted seed.
A child is already indebted to his parents. He always wants to give them all the happiness of the world and make them feel proud. But does that mean he has to do everything that his parents’ desire irrespective of what he truly yearns for- ignoring his own dreams? After all, parents want them to be happy, right! What if he is happy doing his own little thing rather than walking the trodden path? Parents want best for their child but what if their perception of best for him isn’t aligned with his happiness? What if he is happy following his risky and uncertain field of interest and not the conventional and certain area of employment?
What if his heart is full when his pockets are not? What if his eyes shine and not his resume?
What if a distant relative or an insensitive neighbor doesn’t approve of your child’s ‘unusual success story’. It will still be a success story for him.
What if your child scores less than what you expected – what if he is not the topper but your neighbor’s kid is ? Should that mean he does not deserve to be your kid or you should pay less attention on him and concentrate more on your younger kid who excels in his education? Should that mean he isn’t a man of good character – worthy of every happiness and love?
You might feel by now that I am too rude or too insensitive and cynical about parent’s emotions and intentions. Or I am a rebellious child myself trying to let off the steam by pouring my frustration out into words. Believe me, I am not. What I am doing here is sharing my experience, not as a victim, but as a witness of the sufferings of an oppressed child who is so low on confidence today because of his/her failure to prove his worth to his/her parents. Let’s call him/her X. X considers himself a loser because he is not able to satisfy his parents’ ever-growing expectations. He has achieved a lot in his life, but not enough to achieve his parent’s satisfaction.
Do you approve of this? Should parents burden their child with so many expectations that a child spends his entire life trying to prove his worth?
Why are studies and grades a metric to judge whether a child is a good child or not? Why is a resume a standard to declare a child successful and not his character or nature? Why a child is always marked on his intellectual abilities rather than humane feelings and demeanor?
This culture is so deeply rooted in our society that I fear children losing the courage to confront their parents with their dreams. And therefore, parents need to understand and the younger generation needs to learn.
I am never going to let my child feel what X felt.
I will water the seed inside my little kid’s heart and will watch it grow. Whether it grows into a big, lush tree or a tiny sapling – future will tell – neither do I care because I will be busy looking at the smile on my kid’s face !
P.S – My idea is not to offend parents in general or doubt their sincere intentions for their kids, neither I am painting parents as dream-killers. I just want to give every parent a chance to reconsider their parenting – to make sure they do not fall into the category of dream-killers.