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Each time a young adult sacrifices life over exam related stress, he shatters lives of parents and others around him. It’s that time of the year when parents pop BP pills and goad their children into throwing up all academics they have been fed over the year, sometimes over years(in case of competitive exams) to end up in perfect grades; grades that would then transport them to another year in school, college or lead them to one. There is no alternative to competition. The staggering youth population is ruthless on both parents and kids. It’s almost like the process of procreation. Millions of sperms get washed off before some lucky one can actually help the process of conception.
But there is a big difference between wasted sperms and suicidal kids. Does it mean, they feel so intimidated by stress and that the fear of failure is like climbing a mountain compared to living the life of a loser? I am not sure what leads to this kind of stress. But it’s a pity many young adults today choose an easy way out. And who stands responsible?
As modern day parents, we read blogs, we meet counsellors, we provide funds and yes we compare. And we pressurise too. Not just teenagers but right from the time a child begins to appear for tests and exams, we see a bandwagon of mothers and fathers ferrying kids to tuition classes, after school centres, preparing for Olympiads, driving them nuts to perform. Little do we think about the brutal murder of childhood that is spent behind closed doors, in structured environments where discipline and focus form the key. It appears like the problem of plenty. Plenty of money to make the child more capable.
What if there were no exams? Would we still behave the same? Would there be any change in our attitude? Would we ever try to help our kids inculcate the love for learning as opposed to learning just for scoring? Would an Olympiad be more beneficial as compared to reading and discussing more books and learning to pen down a Book Review instead? Students taking the SAT or GRE are averse to reading any material other than academics. They have neither time nor interest. Most toddlers can be spotted with iPads rather than jigsaw puzzles or developmental toys or a run in the sun. Upbringing has been outsourced to stay at home maids or day care centres. Any average child with both working parents does 3-4 classes outside of school per week.
As a parent that comes from a middle class family, raised in the 80s and 90s, an era where we spent most of our time dreaming and learning from experiences around, I think children need some amount of freedom. The freedom to choose, the freedom to cultivate friendships, the freedom to experiment, make mistakes and learn from them, the freedom to understand it’s not just the grades that matter, the freedom to love what they love doing the most and the freedom to stop playing the androids of their parents’ dreams and expectations. Failure can strike at any stage in life. Unless, a child is equipped with enough love and strength to face it and try again, suicides are not stopping anytime soon.