Have You Finished Your Homework?

exams

 

Over  the last few days, there have been a lot of messages on social media regarding kids who are missing. Most of them have thankfully been found again, but the trend is scary, because a lot of these kids have run away from home or school.

The comments on the social media groups regarding this have been varied, from relief that the children have been found, to blaming the children for not being able to deal with failure and running away in the face of obstacles.

For God’s sake! They are just kids! How many of us as adults are able to deal with failure or pressure? We have this convenient fall back of “Oh I’m so depressed” or “I have so much of stress!”  But what does a child say? What would you say to a child who told you that he or she was under a lot of stress or in a state of depression? Most adults would just scoff at the idea. “Really? At your age? What do you know about stress or depression?”

But look at the lives they live today. Even top executives have shorter work days.  I asked a few students what their schedule was. They are in school from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. That is seven hours in school. Add to that the hours spent on homework and tuition classes and projects.  That is like 10 to 12 hours a day!

And what do they get at the end of it? Just questions and nagging from parents?

Let’s consider two sentences. “I love you!”  and “Have you finished your homework/portion?”

Which of these have you used more in the last few months /years while talking to your child?

Every single parent I spoke to ruefully admitted that they rarely told their kids how much they loved them or how important they were, while almost everyday there was an arguement about homework and studies.

I agree that we all want our kids to be successful in life. But where is it written that only getting high grades ensures success? What will make your child successful is something that is never taught in school. And that is the belief in himself or herself. That is something only you as a parent can build.

It involves time and effort. It involves communicating with your child. It involves going against social trends. This can happen only when we as parents change our mindset and stop looking at our kids as trophy kids whose achievements reflect back on us.

We need to accept our kids as they are, average grades and all. Then and only then are we laying the true foundations of their success.

Wheelchair Wonderings

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Our trip to Bali had been planned over a year ago. My daughters were insistent that a holiday was much needed. And it was true. I couldn’t remember the last time I really had a restful holiday that was just a holiday and didn’t have a wedding or an engagement attached to it; or for that matter a puppy who had to be transported in a train and the subsequent arguements with the railway authorities about keeping her with me in my coach.

Even so, I argued loud and long that I did not have the kind of money for  an international holiday and that India had so many beautiful places that we could visit…blah,blah,blah. And then it happened. My daughters gave each other “that look”. Anyone who has twins will know what I mean. When twins give each other “that look” woe betide anyone or anything that they have decided to pitch their unified will against. And if they are taureans, that will is herculean.

My finances were taken over and a part of my income disappeared every month into some mysterious black hole and I was taught that I could not only survive but could live very well with a little less in my purse.

And so plane tickets and private villas with beautiful swimming pools all to ourselves seemed to have got miraculously booked. (Only later did I learn of the hours that my daughters had spent every night on the internet meticulously planning, what they wanted to be, a perfect holiday).

And then two days before we could leave, I injured my leg. A severe hamstring injury is what the doctor said. I looked at him aghast. Somewhere through my haze of pain, as I lay on that hospital bed, I managed to ask, “But can I go to Bali? I am leaving the day after tomorrow.”

“Two days of bed rest. Take your meds. And use a wheel chair for the trip. Don’t exert and I don’t see why you shouldn’t go.”

Until that moment, I hadn’t realised how much I was really looking forward to the trip. It was just going to be the six of us. My sister in law, her son and his partner, my daughters and me. All the people that I love. So why had I been grumbling so much about it? Why had I been acting like such a whiny kid about the whole holiday? Why could I not accept and appreciate the wonderful job my kids were doing in organising the entire trip?

Why could I not see what my kids could see? That I was burnt out and needed a break. That I needed to stop being the person who had to be responsible for everything and everyone and that it was okay to let others take charge once in a while. It was okay to let others take care of me.

I had had to take the responsibility for everything for so long, ever since my husband and I had separated and then more so after he died. I had got so used to being the one in charge that I didn’t know how not to be. I realised that I actually felt scared if someone one else took care of me. I was scared to depend on someone else to make decisions for me.  But holding the reins of my life so tightly was causing me to fray and tear and maybe that wheelchair was needed to let me know that sometimes it is okay to sit and let someone push you around. Especially when it is done with so much love.