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Great Expectations Can Only Lead to Despair

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September 8, 2015

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Great Expectations Can Only Lead to Despair

Most children at an early age require love and affection more than anything else, if only parents would understand this. Instead of running a race for materialistic or superficial success, let us set the stage for eliminating unrealistic pressures from the minds of the younger generation.

It seems that young parents today are running a race for their children. They have great expectations from their tiny-tots. Each parent expects that his child must excel, succeed and be the ‘first’ in every sphere of his little world, to the extent that he/she must even be the first one to walk, talk or ride a tricycle. The child is also expected to earn a stunning report card, and be chosen as the most talented student of the class. Not only this, the so-called superchild must be the star of the Annual Day at school, and also be the monitor of the class.

This message is hammered by the parents into the mind of the child, day in and day out. He is not only the apple of his parents’ eyes but also their only hope to achieve the ‘perfect‘ life they themselves aspired for once. Who hasn’t heard of the young parent’s refrain: ‘Dear child, we’re counting on you to do fantastic things in life. Don’t you disappoint us.’ The child becomes the status symbol for the parents, who raise their expectations as the child grows older. It is amusing to watch them vigorously competing with each other in bringing up the best dressed, the best fed, the best educated, the best mannered, the best behaved and the best cultured child. He must also be the cynosure of relatives and neighbours.

Poor little thing! The hopes, dreams and ambitions of the entire family rest on the shoulders of the little one. In this atmosphere of fierce competition, the parent who produces this epitome of intellect and talent is clearly holding the sweepstakes ticket. But the truth is that exceptional children of the kind mentioned above are indeed ‘exceptions.’ On the contrary a vast majority of children are average. It is just not easy for parents to mould or make their child exceptionally brilliant or talented. Nature plays its role.

Most children at an early age require love and affection more than anything else, if only parents would understand this. Instead of running a race for materialistic or superficial success, let us set the stage for eliminating unrealistic pressures from the minds of the younger generation. For if you do not do so, you are certainly heading for disappointment in the long run.

As parents, it is often good to remember that: ‘The happiest people don’t necessarily have the best of everything: They just make the best of each and everything.’

Dr Shayama Chona, an academic, was born in Shimla on August 12, 1942. She is the former Principal of Delhi Public School, R K Puram, New Delhi; Founder President of Tamana (NGO for physically & mentally handicapped children); Founder of Anubhav Shiksha Kendra (a school for the under-privileged); she has been a member of 96 Advisory Boards and Committees; she has been nominated to Managing Committees of 46 schools and other educational institutions; she has been named in the Limca Book of Records 2007. She has been awarded the State Award for Services in Education 1993, National Award for Services as a Teacher of Outstanding Merit 1994, National Award for Outstanding Performance for Welfare of People with Disabilities 1997, Padma Shri 1999, Padma Bhushan 2008, and 49 other awards. She lives at C10/8, Vasant Vihar, New Delhi-110057. Email: shayamachona@gmail.com, tamanapresident@gmail.com

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