Hey parents, have you turned ‘Marksist’? | paathshala | Hindustan Times
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Hey parents, have you turned ‘Marksist’?

Board exam results are out and your kid’s marks are what they are. Let’s start looking forward, please.

paathshala Updated: Jun 18, 2017 08:07 IST
Sonal Kalra
Today it’s becoming more and more clear that what inhibits growth in an individual’s life is not a subject or a profession – it is mediocrity.
Today it’s becoming more and more clear that what inhibits growth in an individual’s life is not a subject or a profession – it is mediocrity.

If the term ‘Marksist’ in the headline intrigues you, the credit goes to my JNU alumni colleague Rajesh Mahapatra, who must have observed the similar-sounding ideology at his Alma Mater rather closely to include it even in his humour vocab. So, the twelfth standard board results are out…eh? And CBSE inadvertently partook in a sadist coincidence of declaring the results on a Sunday, hence providing an easy opportunity to the rishtedaars to not just torment your kid on the phone but dropping in physically to do the honours.

Okay, tell me honestly how much grief you gave to your child, and more importantly to yourself over the marks he/she scored? Too much? Why, my friend? In the day and age when the topper has scored 99.6% (do you realize that this means just TWO marks less than scoring 100/100 in all the subjects?), and those who score 95% are seen crying for not making the cut-off, you’ve got to see the futility of numbers our young generation’s academic life has been reduced to. Albert Einstein, Steve Jobs, Bill Gates, Mark Zuckerberg sure saw it coming….they all didn’t score in exams, but figured that there’s life beyond those numbers. Why is it so tough for us to see it?

The incidence of depression, anxiety, nervous breakdown, and suicides, related to examination results is amongst the highest in India, with peer pressure becoming a devastating factor in the lives of our youngsters. Let’s see if we can try and calm them – and you – by understanding the following simple truths:

1) Short-term setback: That’s exactly what exam results are. They are not tattooed on your child like a stigma, a la Amitabh Bachchan’s arm in Deewar. Today’s disappointment over a few marks here and there remains nothing but a bleak memory in a few days. Life goes on, specially in an era where newer opportunities for further studies have opened up in more unconventional areas like never before. If you are a parent reading this, take a quick jog down memory lane right now and tell me your subject-wise marks in twelfth grade? Can you? More than 90% of the people I have asked this from find it difficult to remember even their exact aggregate percentage in the Board exams. When exam result didn’t matter enough for your life to remember it, why should it even remotely be a matter of life or death for your child?

2) Looking forward: There was a time when becoming a doctor or an engineer spelt pretty much the entire spectrum of successful career options in upper middle class urban India. Well, recent studies that reveal the struggle engineers, even those who graduate from the prestigious IITs, are facing in their career growth, are enough to tell us that the bubble has burst, and how. Today it’s becoming more and more clear that what inhibits growth in an individual’s life is not a subject or a profession – it is mediocrity. Much like how we would earlier not score more than 75% in languages but students now get a 100% in English or other language exams, life has become more objective when it comes to success. A painter, a photographer, a scientist, an actor, a sportsperson, an author, a model – they’re all earning equally big bucks if they are at the top of their game. What you simply need to do is look at the options that’ll take you or your child on that track.

Those who put too much pressure of performance in examination on their child are just about as guilty as those who do not prepare their child at all for a competitive world (thebroodle.com)

3) Chill, but don’t freeze: Now this may sound like a contradiction to what I’ve stated above, but it’s not. In the quest of becoming parents who do not put pressure on their child when it comes to academic performance, some of us blindly cross the line into a state of complacence. It’s critical to know where that line exists. The energy that goes in mentoring a child faces the risk of being a colossal waste if the parent decides to adopt an extremist attitude towards the academic performance of the child. Those who put too much pressure of performance in examination on their child are just about as guilty as those who do not prepare their child at all for a competitive world. Both the ends of the spectrum are doomed. We’ve got to strike a balance, and that can come only by understanding the aptitude of your child, and then making a concerted effort in nurturing his/her efforts in that direction.

Every individual becomes something in life. And the factors that make that life fulfilling or miserable have precious little to do with the scores on a marksheet. The sooner we realize it, the lesser the stress. And, Exam results will stay damned, either way.

Sonal Kalra scored 96% in her board exams. It was several years ago, but her visits to the therapist continue. Mail her at sonal.kalra@hindustantimes.com