The fate of an infant in our country is often sealed with its first cry. Professions and jobs a child would take up some 20-25 years later are determined before it even learns to eat, poop or walk. Interests, it would pursue in the future foreseeable to guardians, are fixed. Parents, peers and so-called relatives make solemn decisions on a child’s behalf and dispose them off to him or her few years later.
The fundamental questions in life such as ‘to be or not to be, to do or not to do’ are answered affirmatively not by a volunteering doer but by guardians and well-wishers. Poor child, at the disposal of his family, has to carry the baggage of borrowed dreams. It has to make untiring and incessant efforts to bring laurels to the family blinded by a herd mentality and skewed understanding of career, success, and education.
Cracking entrances, getting admissions in top notch universities is the main motto people set for their children nowadays. And if in any must-win competition, a child stands second; his efforts are cursed for life. Efforts ignored; only results are rewarded.
Today, the success is not measured in terms of how well a person has lived, changes he brought about in the small world he lives in or creative talents he realized. These parameters have unfortunately been replaced by the bank balance, Alma Mater, professional headline and other materialistic things.
An utterly selfish goal to make sons and daughters successful doctors, engineers or civil servants has started withering the innocence everywhere. A student, therefore, gives up the quest to explore new dimensions which can also be of his or her interest and loses the opportunity to be in a profession or field of study where he can ideally succeed. No wonder, a career in photography, videography, authoring books, painting, dancing, sports etc are just restricted to a hobby class over a weekend.
Ironically in most cases, students in India make choices according to a simple if-else loop. If they secure minimum marks required to get into the science stream, they will be admitted to Science else they go for Commerce or Humanities. Instead of considering personal interest as a guiding light, marks become paramount in selection of the field of study. Put simply, it is not the interest that governs the admissions but the logic. More often than not, dreamers with great potential end up lost and confused after they give-in to parental and societal pressures. Just because a student’s neighbours or second, third cousins are earning extremely well after their degrees in engineering or medicine, he need not necessarily follow them. In such cases, the student gets stuck up in a career which is not of his interest and this ultimately leads to frustration. Thus, making informed choices irrespective of what others think and believe in is the first and foremost requisite for a successful career.
Unconditional parental support can make a child do wonders. Parents can play a very important role in shaping up a child’s career but they must not interfere in his personal ambitions and interests. A child or teenager should decide for himself. Parents ought to give him the right amount of space, time and guidance to help blossom his career. Constantly motivating children and teenagers to walk their own path is very important. Instead of comparing him with other siblings and friends on a failure; he should be encouraged in such a manner that it regains the lost self-confidence and readies himself to battle it out again. When all the five fingers each being equally important are not equal; how fair is to expect the capabilities, level and capacity equal for two children. We must not forget to err is human. Parents should not be oblivious to the mental state, deep aspirations and creative talents of a child. Many a times we read about suicidal attempts on the declaration of results. These are encouraged because students get better critics than confidantes.
The environment at schools, colleges and universities also plays an important role. These are the places where either of true learning or mindless rat-race can take place. Competition is not larger than life. To live is more important than to win. One does not fail if he cannot get into a college which has 100% as its cut off. The universities are definitely not looking out for humanoids.
It is high time that we understand the intensity of the situation. Its way deeper than it appears at the surface. Parents, educators, guides and well-wishers of students ought to churn the wheels of their minds more rationally. They need to re-define the words like education, career and success.
The dreamer in a child needs guidance, support and most importantly – freedom to choose!