Caution – Rant ahead!
‘This is how you write ‘Jha’. Go write it on the board and win this round!’
I was in the Hindi class that my kids attend every week and was enjoying my time off by browsing my Twitter account (but of course!). There were about twenty kids in the class.
Subconsciously, I realized there was a quiz going on between boys and girls. The kids will have to write the letters they had learnt till then on the board based on the instructions given by the teacher. That’s when I heard these words from a fellow parent.. ‘This is how you write ‘Jha’. Go on.. Write it on the board and win this round!’ One boy’s parents were egging him on. When the child wrote the letter ‘jha’ on the board and came back, his victory was celebrated with a hi-five from the parents.
I looked around and rolled my eyes. This was a class meant for kids. The parents were mere chaperons who stayed in the class because it would be cumbersome to go home and be back on time to pick them up. But to interfere with the children and the class was an unwarranted action.
But, he is just a small kid; isn’t it okay to teach him when in need? Of course. However, it is not just about jha, isn’t it? There are so many other things that is being not-so-explicitly taught to the kid and I’m afraid, not all of them are good life lessons.
What the parents aren’t realizing is that they are curtailing the kid’s independence. The next time the child is confronted with a task, he would look for his parents. They are thinking and doing things on behalf of the kid that every time there is a problem, the child is going to look for support. Remember – ‘Give a man a fish and you feed him for a day; teach a man to fish and you feed him for a lifetime.’
Okay.. In this instance, this child has the help of his parents and so he won. But his competitor’s parents were not around which resulted in her losing. Where is the fairness in this situation? Doesn’t this send out a message to the kid that it is important to win but it doesn’t matter by what means he wins?
Sometimes, I wonder if I am reading too much into these things. But all around me, I see a lot more competitive parents than competitive kids. Parents competing against each other for their children’s milestones. Parents competing to steal the kid’s glory. Parents competing to better their fellow parents. Parents competing with each other to teach their kids to compete.
I am not sure how our mindsets changed from ‘participating is more important than winning’ to ‘winning is everything’. Oh yes.. all of us parents out here, including me, want our children to win but the more important question is are we teaching our kids how to handle failure? Are we even aware that we are in the danger of raising a generation of sore losers?