We had been to the annual day celebrations at Akshara’s pre-school. It was a neatly organized event with everything from the venue to the timings planned with the kids in mind. The program started with a small speech by the school principal followed by a quick felicitation ceremony. From then on, the kids ruled the stage. It was a treat to watch the toddlers and the preschoolers perform. They danced with equal flair for the patriotic, devotional as well as film songs. They even conducted a small skit. All this was done under the watchful eyes of the teachers who stood at the stage corners acting and dancing for the kids to follow.
As we sat enjoying the events, I couldn’t help overhear the conversation of a family who sat in the row behind us. I think their daughter was of the same age as Akshara or maybe a year younger. When the event where their daughter was to dance was announced, the father and mother became anxious. They prayed loud that their daughter performs well without forgetting any step. As with all events, all kids in that event too danced well. I didn’t get to know who their daughter was, but once the event ended, the parents spoke with a kind of relief explaining how their daughter was shy of dancing on the stage and how relieved they were, now that she had done well.
I don’t understand what’s with some of these parents. Will the earth end if a 3 year old forgets a dance step? For God’s sake, these are 3 year old or 4 year old kids. It might be the first time on stage for many of them. At that tender age, if a kid wants to pick his/her nose or just sit on the stage, he/she will do it and will not care how many thousand people are watching. So appreciate the kid for the effort rather than judging their performance on stage. And to those parents who stood in the audience gallery and danced for their kid on the stage to follow, I suggest they go on the stage and dance, and allow their kid be the audience. But No, parents want their kids to dance like film stars.
It not just with this. Many parents often expect great things, almost miracles, from their kids. They want their kid to be almost born with expert knowledge of mathematics or science or grammar. And if not by birth, then they want the kids to become experts by the time the kid is ready for first year preschool. This is just the beginning. Once the kid goes to school, there will be a comparison of the kid with other kids in his/her class.
I decided to give the parents behind me, a piece of my mind. Don’t steal the kids’ childhood. Every kid has a unique talent. So don’t compare or put them through a performance bell curve. Let them enjoy and learn as they grow. Show them the right way and guide them where required, but don’t force your wishes on them. If every kid grows into an astronomer, then who will enjoy the beautiful earth?
In the meanwhile, they announced the next dance event. Akshara was a part of that event. I turned to tell my wife that Akshara will be coming on the stage, when I noticed the folded hands and anxious face of my wife and my mother. That’s when I realized what I should actually do - Before I advise the parents who sat in the row behind me, I should first share a word with my own family.