By Saru Mukherjee
We have heard this time and again that each child is different, that we shouldn’t compare two individuals, and that every child has his/her own unique talents. But how many times have we, as parents, understood this and applied it in our own lives? It is easier said than done! How many times have you judged your child’s intelligence, growth and development through marks? Education is important, agreed, but does that mean the number of marks a child scores should be the sole determinant of success and failure? Don’t you think if marks carry the burden and the determiner of an effort a child puts in, the real pleasure of learning is lost? It is a utilitarian approach and the simple pleasure of sheer learning, of acquiring a skill, is lost. The scales of measuring this shouldn’t be based on academic learning itself. As a parent living in the 21st century, it is time to let go of all the social constructs that dictate the success and failure of an individual through academic learning.
Nothing is more important than mental health
Academic learning doesn’t necessarily make your child smart for the world. Experiences, life skills, extracurriculars matter more than just a sheet of paper or an entrance test. Accept that there are problems in our education system, flaws that are changing gradually. To be successful, you don’t want your child to be a doctor or an engineer, you want them to be content and satisfied. Nothing will bring comfort or is worth it, if your child isn’t happy at the end of the day or is mentally pressured or disturbed. You need to ask yourself if the number of marks mean more than your child’s mental peace.
Unconventional is cool
If you think the only way to survive in the world depends on the number of marks your child is scoring, or the stream he/she chooses, or the college he/she is able to get into, then you cannot be more wrong. There are a lot of offbeat courses, skills, professions that your child can choose and be successful at. If your counter argument is that there exists a neck-deep, cut-throat competition, doesn’t that competition exist for other so-called conventional jobs as well?
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Less confident and over anxious
If you teach your kid that success means getting good marks and less marks means failure, he/she will develop a constant fear, a sort of assumed pressure and anxiety to get good marks. Failing to do so, there are high chances that he or she might come out as less confident, not sure of himself/herself and constantly in comparison with others at every stage of life.
More marks don’t mean more intelligence
Your intelligence doesn’t necessarily equate to more marks. One can score average marks due to any reason and still be intelligent. Learning, cramming, solving a few equations don’t make you smart, they just makes you academically good. It’s important to unlearn the obsession of scoring good, to be intelligent and prove yourself worthy.
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Soft skills aren’t learnt from the book
There are far more important things than just academic learning — being humble, the skill to deal with different people and situations, being grounded, soft spoken. If you don’t possess these skills, your academic learning will all be a waste. And there are no marks given for these soft and life skills. There is no exam. Not to forget, a child must know how to manage their emotions well, which a book cannot teach them.
(The writer is a mom blogger and digital content creator. She started her blogging journey in 2017 with her blog ‘Diapers and Lipsticks’)
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