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My daughter was performing at a dance event in her school. I always felt excited and anxious when my little one performed. That day was no different. I hoped she performs well. During the performance, one of her friend, who was beside her, started crying. My daughter tried to calm her down so as her teacher. My daughter was performing her steps correctly but still in between she would stop and ask her friend to dance. Somehow the performance got over. While going back home, I was telling my husband that our daughter could not concentrate completely on her dance as she was consoling her crying friend. The little one snapped back “Mamma, don’t say that about my friend. She was crying as she was scared. I wanted her to dance with me. I was trying to calm her. What’s wrong in that?” I was taken aback; I felt ashamed of myself; I immediately apologized to her and told her that whatever she did was right. I thought to myself how pure is my child’s heart and how corrupt is my heart?
As parents, we always think about our own child. We want them to perform better than other kids. Their accomplishments are always measured against others from their birth weight, age-wise milestones like crawling; walking; teething; food habits to ranks in schools. And in that process knowingly, unknowingly we make them competitive of others. As they start their education, this competition only intensifies. Now a days, right from pre-schools various competitions are organised which test your kid’s potential. When my daughter was in play group, she won various competitions and we were delighted and proud parents. Even though it was only play group, we were anxious about her performance through every competition.
When we changed her school in Nursery, we learnt that her new pre-school do not promote any competition. They organise all the functions as events, not as competitions and no rankings given to children. They want all their students to learn and grow without competing with each other. I was amazed and apprehensive at the same time. In what way would I know exactly how my daughter is performing compared to other kids if there is no ranking or competition?
However after the above described incidence, I am grateful to her school and teachers for not making my daughter competitive of her classmates. She understands the importance of sharing and caring for others since they are never pitted against each other. They learn together, play together, succeed together and sometimes fail together. There is no requisite of outperforming others. I am glad that my child’s innocence is intact so is my sanity.
Kids at this age anyways do not care about winning unlike their parents. Yet if they see few children getting gifts and prizes, they obviously feel bad and start crying. At my daughter’s school, you see only smiling faces at the end of every event as they all are winners. We parents are also not stressed about our kid’s win or loss. You don’t see any panicking parents mulling over their child’s defeat. We can just enjoy their childhood and don’t compel our child for winning all the time.
There is no comparison among students. I am informed only about my child’s growth. For me all other children are her friends and not her opponents. This no competition policy indeed develops healthy relationship among not only students but also among parents. I am no longer concerned about her ranking in the class, I am content by knowing her performance and growth. Every child is unique and develops in her/his way. The school is allowing her to follow her path with her individual evaluation only. She is paralleled with her own performance. Along with her, I am also learning not to judge her by contending with others.
The school is creating awareness about her responsibilities towards environment. The teachers make their each class nurture a plant and protect it. As a result when I ask my daughter what should we plan for her or any family member’s birthday, she suggests to plant a tree. I feel secured and confident of her future.
Religious festivals are not celebrated in traditional ways, only spirit of those festivals is celebrated in the school. On the occasion of Janmashatmi, students are encouraged to have milk and milk products by communicating the importance of its healthiness. Parsi New Year is celebrated as let’s make friends and be friends with one another. Certainly a great way of building secular India!
We parents are the first teacher of our children. We constantly attempt to construct a robust foundation for them by instilling good morals. When we get an equally good companion in the form of school and teachers, the foundation becomes although more strong. The future looks although more bright.
I am aware that as my daughter will progress to primary school and higher school, she will have to face the ranking system. However as a parent, now I have realized and experienced that kids are developed best when they are not compared. Henceforth, it will be my responsibility to make her realize not to feel competitive of others yet evolve with others. It will be my responsibility to always make her follow the path of secularism.