Friday, November 14, 2008

Happy Children's Day!

Here’s wishing you the child in you, a very happy children’s day.

Every parent’s claim to fame is their child’s achievements. They piggy back on their success. The children; form the brigade of new-age brand ambassadors. Parents take great pains in organizing their child’s life; they are the marketing maestros in the making. They plan everything to the last detail, and strive for perfection, because the child is the product and they are the marketers.

The new-age parents of today are in search of that ideal child, who will make them proud, stand out in a crowd, and be crowned the best in town. Their ultimate goal in parenting seems to be the crowning glory. Call it parenting pressure. They are under greater pressure to perform than the Indian Cricket team.

At any given family function you can see groups of ladies resembling the great Indian huddle, and a child standing at the centre doing a stand-up show. All these ladies throw random requests at these children and they sing, dance, recite rhymes, shlokams and what not. Every lady worth her salt makes sure her child’s talent is “showcased”, “Kanna maami andha paatu paadi kaatu…” and the child meekly shakes its head and starts singing, and one request after the other follows. So on and so forth. If you have 2-3 players: I mean ladies in the group the competition only intensifies.

These folks are so good at advertising and marketing that, Mr. Philip Kotler can pick up a few marketing tricks from these people and incorporate them in his book. If you are a management student, and are pretty interested in building a brand, you can emulate them. The idea of bringing up the ideal child starts when the child is barely a couple of years old. Parents read up books on good-parenting, how to make your child the best. They want that perfect child, and leave no room for complacency. They have their blue-prints ready and all they need to do is implement it.

Take for e.g. Bhuvi; my cousin sister, who is 8yrs old, and is pretty much the size of a mini-Sumo-Wrester. She has a life than busier that of mine. paatu-class, dance-class, maths -tution, shlokam classes during weekends. Summer vacations are filled with painting classes, and God-knows-what classes. Yes! Bhuvi lives a full life. My chitti is quite serious about building Brand Bhuvi. She comes back from office and helps her finish her homework and also gives her extra coaching. She wants Bhuvi to be a bundle of success at the end of the day, and she goes to every possible limit to fulfill this desire of hers. What she fails to realize is, she is trying to mould her little daughter’s life according to her own whims and fancies and in the process is giving absolutely no room for the kid to grow.

I am not trying to say, you should have no dreams and aspirations for your children. You can dream, form your own ideas on what you want them to be. At the same time you need to let them dream as well. By goading them day in and day out about what you want them to be; don’t you think you are adding too much pressure onto their lives? Are you building castles in the air, and fooling yourself with these unrealistic expectations from life? What if they come crashing down on your face? Will you be able to take failure in the same spirit?

I am not too sure if there will be something called Brand Bhuvi a few years down the line. I would be the happiest big-sister if she walks into a prestigious insti or becomes famous.

Let them dabble with stuff and see if they find something that interests them. Show them gateways which will let them explore, don’t just thrust your dreams on them. Just because you like something doesn’t mean your child will like it too.. If you like red, ask your child if she likes it too.. Give her a chance to voice her opinion. Teach her to walk on her own, but don’t become her walking stick. It’s ok if she goes off-balance, she’ll learn to walk ultimately.
If your child doesn’t live up to it, accept it; don’t blame her for a fault of hers. A disagreement is not the end of the world, it opens a window to sneak into your little girl’s life and see what she is.

Question yourself; is your child failure-ready? Being in a cocoon and being super-protective, will only cripple her. Tomorrow when failure socks her in her face, she may not be able to get over it. Every child, who attends a music class; need not become a singing sensation, IIT Coaching doesn’t lead to IIT-Madras. Let them be what they are, Nurture them. Don’t choke them with more than what they can chew. Let them take little steps into life. Let them be; what they want to be.

Like Taare Zameen Par put it; every child is special, accept it. Lead them; don’t expect them to follow you. Let them be what they are.

Happy Children’s Day!


sowmi said...

Well written.......... actually u've given the perfect picture of wats happening today...... i also pity the children of present generation.....they don't live fa themselves but fa their parents.... thank god ma parents are not like todays parents..... i have more freedom to choose on wat i like.........

Darshan said...

i hav to applaud ur efforts to put into writing one of the most debated topics of these times.

and i must say u cudnt have timed it better !! ,,

kindly send this to TOI or The Hindu, ... i cant say how well u hav put this one ..

by far ur best post !!

keep it up

Vedha said...

I second Darshan. Perfectly written.

Anonymous said...

well written.

please continue.