By Rachna Muralidhar
It’s a mellow summer, but also the season for exams and the results that follow. It is the talk of most households. “How much did he/she score?” is a common question. Somehow, marks and academic grades tend to define a person’s ability to be successful. It is an all-encompassing answer to all the questions that the future holds, apparently.
Let us just take a moment to reflect on this reality. Is it really so? Does it have to be a benchmark to measure achievement? Does it actually fulfill all the needs that the future and adulthood would demand? Does it really equip us with skills to solve problems?
There is definitely a huge inefficiency in looking at life from a holistic perspective. Education is looked at only from a marks and grades point of view. However, education is also a way of gaining more exposure to the world as a whole. It is the broadening of the existing horizons. It is the base for acquiring knowledge and the wisdom that entails.
The holistic approach to life we are speaking of holds immense possibilities. These are strong possibilities and are beyond the power of marks.
These can include soft skills like dealing with unpleasant emotions and assertiveness. These are skills that will keep us afloat within the harsh realities of life.
If you find your child is interested in fields beyond the syllabus at schools and colleges, there are opportunities like internships and volunteering that would help gain a perspective. It gives a real life experience in terms of both on the job experience and how we actually feel about it.
It is so important to focus on our strengths, but we are too busy drowning in our limitations. Understand your child’s strengths and talents, help them capitalise on these and put them to use in the real world.
The name of it may suggest that it is a sidelined activity. But there is so much more to it. Creative arts including performing and fine arts, sport, culinary arts, theatre are also career options. There is all of college to explore if any of these can help make a career.
I urge parents to understand that marks can give your children a job, but it won’t give them the skills to become better than who they were, to grow as individuals, to develop their personality, to have a holistic exposure to life, to evolve.
Nobody, beyond formal education, asks how much you scored in your 10th or 12th board exam, which is most of life, by the way! Nobody asks for numbers. Do not allow children to be defined by what their marksheets show. Do not be limited in your capacity to understand life. Encourage them to go out, explore, learn and live. For life is full of possibilities.
(The writer is Psychologist & Outreach Associate, Mpower – The Centre, Bengaluru.)