Can our child take it all?

Dr Navniit Gandhi
Tuesday, June 16, 2020

What we speak often does not tell who we are...
Our messages do not reflect what we think and even our talks give no clue of the turmoil raging within us.

We are undoubtedly in the midst of a crisis, the full consequences of which are largely unforeseen. Life goes on though... —-reading whatsapp messages on positive thinking and watching videos on possible cures of corona, cooking delicacies ceaselessly, attending free lectures/courses/webinars and playing games or antakshri with the larger circles of family and friends on Zoom or whatsapp.

And then there are days when, we get jolted with the news of a death due to corona or a suicide of someone we know.

We are strange fellows, aren’t we?

We have been discussing and even wondering quite a bit on why the actor Sushant Singh Rajput killed himself....? Of course, it is tragic as every death is and a jolt and may he rest in peace. A documentary is doing the rounds wherein the late actor is showcasing his house, his car, his telescope and his fascination for many things including astronomy and we, the viewers are wondering as to why then did he choose to kill himself, when he had all that he loved. Soon after the news of his tragic death spread, other messages and poems on how much friendship matters and how other material things are meaningless also began to go viral...

It is not the first such incident when a person who had nearly everything one generally vies and strives for, committed suicide.
And yet, till Saturday night, if we had to choose a life for our kids, which would have resembled S S Rajput’s, we would be beaming with pride and asking God to bestow on our kid too—-as much success, fame, and prosperity as one can get. Nothing wrong at all in vying for success and/or prosperity. It is just that nothing is always only perfect or fully rosy, and there is always a price to be paid somewhere. And it is this fact of life that we do not teach them and thereby, plant dreams in their eyes without preparing them adequately for success and for failures.

On innumerable occasions, when parents come for counselling sessions after they have done the DMIT for their kid, they are very keen to know the IQ (Intelligence Quotient) of their child and consequently, the probable career options. There is a small section in the report which mentions the AQ (Adversity Quotient) of the kid, the meaning of which most parents are unaware of. Even after explaining that AQ implies the resilience of the child; how strongly would he be able to weather the storms and trials in his or life and that parents must focus on strengthening the same—- it is doubtful if the importance of a strong AQ dawns on the parents. After a day or two, their desires and commands are again all directed at studies, studies, exams, exams, exams and then results, entrance tests, and admission in the best engineering college.

Our systems and curriculum are designed to encourage rational/logical thinking, the culmination of which denotes the IQ. We burn ourselves and make our kids burn in this fire as soon as he or she starts schooling. There is severe pressure that numbers, facts, theorems, laws, dates, formulae etc have to be memorized, and reproduced at the right time.

Neither all teachers and nor all parents are much interested in going out all the way towards ensuring that the child shares, cares, speaks up, helps, understands people and situations, accepts trials and failures, analyses what he sees all around, smiles and feels fulfilled even if there is no one and no gadget around. How many of us—-the parents and teachers spend sleepless nights and consider ourselves as failures because a child in our care has not learnt any or some of the above? However, if grades are poor or a child fails in academics, we do fret and fume for days and months.

This is why we are strange...
Many of us do sigh and feel bad especially when a young bright guy or girl chooses to kill oneself. And yet, the next hour we are spanking or nagging our own child on the same path and towards the same goals as the life that ended abruptly in pain, was moving.
Let us change... and tick mark against the following entries on the checklist for our kids:

•Does he/she always need attention of some person?
•Does he/she get bored and complain if there is nothing to do?
•Does he/she demand for more and more things?
•Does he/she criticise his friends and find faults with them?
•Does he/she think his teachers are no good?
•Does he/she cry or get angry too soon, and with or without reason?
•Does he/she like to be alone most of the time?
•Is he/she disinterested in listening to stories of your struggle/hardships?
•Does he/she avoid spending time or having a talk with you?
•Does he/she eat/sleep/talk too much or too little?
•Does he/she find it difficult to share and to praise others?
•Does he/she feel sad for too long when he doesn't win a contest?

The list can be longer...
If the answers to the above questions are ‘Yes’, PLEASE put aside your own pursuits, gadgets, quests for promotion at work and all other priorities...
The life you brought on earth and the one you are in-charge of, needs you to take a pause!

Dr. Navniit Gandhi is an academic, a feature writer and an author. Her publications include several academic papers presented at National and International conferences/seminars, nearly 250 feature articles in magazines, newspapers, and on web portals, two e-booklets and nine Books. Presently, she teaches at Indira Gandhi National Open University (IGNOU) and counsels and conducts training workshops at Gurukul, Kuwait.
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