Aditi Mathur and Ratnesh Mathur
“I am not your Dream Girl”, screamed a teenager’s t-shirt. I initially laughed it off as another smart t-shirt message. But, somehow the line lingered in my mind and it slowly came to me: what if every child wore this t-shirt for his/her parents?
“I am not your dream child.”
And what if every parent, teacher, the whole society took it seriously?
At one level it is about the freedom one has, in terms of professional, educational, career choices, and so on. While today there are a lot of parents open to their children looking at different or non-conventional careers, we still need to evolve to be able to accept some of the more radical choices.
What if the child decides not be successful in the conventional terms; to live a simple life of an ascetic?
Why is our focus so much on success and not on enjoying what we do? Aren’t we the ones who build the stress in our children and then rue the same stress? Don’t many of us crib about the rat race and yet unwittingly shove our children into the same? Can we not let their intelligence and their own decisions drive them towards their destinies?
At another level it is about character. In workshop after workshop, I hear from teachers and parents that they want their child to be of a great character. Perhaps I should rename it as “dream character”. They want their children to be the ideal package of values. Is it our own insufficiency that drives us to yearn for a child who is perfect? Or, is it that we are scared that the child’s character is a direct reflection of our own character (or at least an indirect assessment of our competence as a parent or school)?
Photo: Sakti Prasanna Mohanty
The authors are educators, trainers for teachers and parents. They belong to amable.in – an organisation out to empower learning, learners – teachers and children alike.