Being a parent in this day and age is a blessing but definitely not easy.
When the exam season is on a feverish high, the otherwise lenient parents who were lost in a dreamy stupor, have switched into warrior mode ready to fight a fierce battle on the battle field of competition. Dazed children who were joyfully flitting about little mounds are suddenly expected to jump mountains.
While we are at the topic of mountains, I must confess that I cannot recollect wondering why the Andes in South America were steep during my school days, but today I can give a fairly detailed explanation and throw in some examples for emphasis. I can even rattle away a list of minerals and trees found on these mountains in under a minute followed by the reciting the first 20 elements in the periodic table backwards.
Revisiting academic side of school days
I am hoping that the child under my tutelage can do the same too!
The only relief is that going by the WhatsApp messages in the school group, that are flying nineteen to a dozen, I am not the only parent revisiting the academic side of school days with the seriousness and feverish competition that none of our parents or we had then. A mother of three who has been juggling a year’s worth of portions for three different grades has been giving us stiff competition.
WhatsApp can double as a medium of extended learning too, one that helps us think out of the box so much so that we lose sight of the box itself! Consider throwing in a question, the answer to which you are sure of but only seek confirmation. WhatsApp is the only medium other than Google that can elicit at least fifty different answers in seconds, leaving you enlightened on the many perspectives that you never saw. Suddenly you see the entire topic in a new light, never mind the fact that you would have lost sight of the intended perspective (and the answer) in the process leaving you in the shoes of the helpless child you are attempting to teach. Just when the child begins to see the slightest glint of understanding, the relentless warrior is back in action pushing and forcing the child back onto the road to success.
When competition-hungry parents are not cramming their dazed children’s minds with theories that hold little significance in the real world or stories of war heroes who have hanged up their swords and sceptres and are resting peacefully in the heavens above, they are ensuring that the children are fed with a diet that includes at least three food varieties from every section in the food pyramid — one that assures a mind sharp enough to sing away the contents of any part of their school texts at any time of the day and a healthy body that can manage eight hours of sleep in four.
Along with nutrition for the body goes in a healthy dose of nutrition for the mind. A good deal of encouragement laced with words that resonate those of great kings firing up forces before a battle and a bait of a reward for the winner thrown in for good measure. And thus, is the story of today’s parents fighting the examination battle — winning some and losing some, but never ever giving up.
As for being a child these days, it is no child’s play, but that will be a story for another column.
— Pranitha Menon is a freelance writer based in Dubai. Twitter: @MenonPranitha