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It is funny how innocent incidents trigger unrelated logics. While attending the annual show at school for my class 4 son I realized how every year he got to play a new role. Sometimes dancing, sometimes singing, sometimes acting, sometimes back-stage and some-times chorus in the crowd. And he isn't unique. Every child goes through a rotation and possibly by class 10 would have experienced every possible role and may be a few of them multiple times given the number of roles will be lesser than the number of years. Basis is equal opportunity with next to no weight attached to competencies (except playing in the band). Similarly if you run through other class activities like sports (soccer, cricket etc) leagues, class monitor among others - once you show a basic willingness or minimum qualification (e.g. finishing work on time to be appointed a class monitor) - usually there is a fair rotation among the kids with minimal concentration onto one kid. No cribs till now. We feel that our child is learning new skills and is getting an equal exposure. Everyone loves this fair socialist process.
Of course between these socialist processes we come across a few capitalist selection criteria like representing the school for district sport teams, or house captains etc which are strictly driven by competency because seats are lesser than candidates.
Consider this situation where the child is spending all his formative years in a predominantly socialist system where opportunities are distributed across every child, and post school thrown into a highly competitive capitalist system that makes you fight for your college seat and then a career and so on. Is the child really prepared for this world? Probably not because the brain is wired differently. The kid probably looks at his parents and feels under pressure and must be wondering what is the fuss about. Don't I usually get to do what I usually want and that too without a sweat?
We can go back and say that our school system needs to be tuned to realities of the world to make them sweat it out for everything they do. But then this would be counter to the position that the kids need to be under even less pressure in their formative years. And the government is supporting this too with changes in the curriculum and school examination structures.
Does this then leave a lesson for some of us parents? Can we blend socialism and capitalism? Why not continue growing up the kid to embrace a socialist style inter-meshed in the highly competitive world? To put it simply the child should treat the need to create a giving and sharing society as primary. However the means may remain capitalist given their would be scarce resources and opportunities. What it could mean is if someone is successful in getting to an opportunity first then he/ she should open more doors for others to taste the same success. Or to create more opportunities for others to succeed too. This blended approach would also help distribute opportunities and wealth across a larger base. Overall leading to a more prosperous society.
The western world sees this approach as "I win if you win". Seen also in some Asian cultures like in Japan. Starkly different from our approach where we end up being race rats - "I win if only I get there and secure my future first".
I feel the school system is sowing the right seeds. Entitlement is not bad if that can be translated to a culture of sharing and growing and increasing the size-number of opportunities and ensuring entitlement for all!