The world today is full of bright children who excel in everything that they do – academic, extracurricular or home. I regularly see posts of proud parents sharing their children’s achievements online. I feel happy for these families, who have a lot of accomplishments to pride on. When it comes to our house hold, I am happy to say that I have very simple things to our credit. The biggest achievement that I can boast about is that my children are happy and healthy! Touch Wood!
I take pride in their love for each other, their sense of freedom and love for life. Honestly speaking, there is nothing more I can think of adding to this list. My daughter has never topped her class and I do not intend to keep this as a goal for her future as well. Most days, her moderate interest in education doesn’t bother me. In place of having her bent down on books, I would rather have her unleash her creativity in dance, art, taekwondo, singing and cracking jokes. I have no doubt that she is extremely talented and she will excel in her chosen field one day. Then there are some days that we step outside of our cosy little world and she is placed in stark comparison to her peers. Those days, I am drawn to skills that she doesn’t possess and I start to feel depressed about her future. I vow to work harder on her education, spend more time with her at home and try and change her scores for the good. The stress rubs off on me and of course on her.
It was only a few days ago that I realized where I was going wrong. I was extremely happy with my child as long as I viewed her as an independent individual. As soon as I started comparing her to others in her space, I lost my sense of pride. That made me question myself, “What was the need for me to compare my children with anyone in this world? I know they were born unique, with their unique talents and goals just like all the other kids out there. Then why do we compare and contrast. Why do we make decisions for our children based on what rest of the children in the world are doing and accomplishing?” The immediate answer that came to my mind was, “It is a competitive world out there. We need to prepare our children to beat the competition. They can only do so if they know what the rest of the world is doing. That is the start of benchmarking and comparisons.”
My next question to myself was, “What will happen if my children cannot beat the competition? Will they not be able to make a living for themselves? Will they not be happy about themselves?”
The answer I got in return was, “Of course they can make a living for themselves. For making a living you need life skills, more than academic skills. I am sure my children have those. Of course they will be happy about themselves, because that is what they have learnt in life. Yes, in the process, the society might view them as failures who did not accomplish anything big, but that is fine. Keeping the society happy is not the focus area of my life.”
I found the answer I was looking for to find my sense of peace and pride. Now, I have vowed to stop comparing my children to others around me. I have vowed to focus on the areas they love and give them the freedom to explore life as it comes. If I cannot handle the stress that comes with my child not matching upto another child, then it is Me who needs to be grounded at home, with stress busting pills and books. My children were born to be free. Nature delivered perfection to me. How can I question Nature and try and change it? I have to let it take its own path.
When I am 65 years old, I do not want to sit back and take pride on what I have been able to create of my children. At that age, I would want to sit back, relax and know that the creation is still progressing, on its own, cause it was never dependant on me. It was fuelled by an intrinsic urge within my own children to grow. The biggest gift I can give to my children is the gift to believe in themselves. And that gift will only be possible when I stop doubting their capabilities in the first place.