Parents and schools must take special care not to overburden students with activities
Parenting is a skillful art and most of us are not prepared for it. Parents we become by chance, not really learning the intricacies of rearing a child. As the child grows up, we, with little knowledge of parenting, start to influence our children.
Our interests and experiences, our likes and dislikes, our successes and failures play a significant role in nurturing our children. It is the universal desire for any parent to wish their child to be ‘the first’ in everything. But in reality, it is not possible. Every child is unique and special. Each child has potential in different skills or a combination of skills.
Parents are often unaware of the child’s latent talents. So from the day the child enters pre-school, his or her parents begin to set lofty targets for their child to reach. Restrictions, limitations and don’ts rule their life, thereby putting an end to their creativity and originality.
In the pursuit of excellence, parents force their children to attend all extra-classes that are available. The child is made to follow a time table for after-school hours starting Monday through Sunday.
If students at the primary level are engaged in drawing, painting, abacus, Vedic mathematics, chess, carrom, dance, karate, music, skating and yoga classes, their seniors are enrolled for subject-wise tuitions – IIT, AIPMT , AIIMS coaching classes, etc.
During long holidays and vacations, other activities fill up their time: summer camps, adventure camps, robotics classes, multimedia classes, and what not?
Ultimately the children are left with no time for themselves. No time to relax, no time for hobbies, no time to birdwatch or stargaze, no time to explore, no time to experiment and no time to learn from nature. All their precious time is being meticulously planned by parents, effectively draining them. Unable to cope with school and with parents, children tend to get depressed or dejected. I request the parent community to accept their children as they are. The onus is on parents to observe, guide and help the child in his or her progress and development, enabling them to do the best they can with the skills they have been blessed with. A child could be word-wise, number-smart, musically inclined; he or she could have strengths in logic, be a lover of nature, athletic, photogenic, or be blessed with social skills. It is the joint responsibility of both the school and the parents to identify the strengths of the child and to let them attain success using their unique talents, rather than thrusting them with our ideologies.
If handled gently, caressed with love, corrected kindly, today’s children are sure to thrive with success and lead a happy life in this cut-throat competitive world.
So let’s pledge to celebrate the child and provide them with a hassle-free childhood!
Geetha Laxman is the Principal of National Model Senior Secondary School,Coimbatore