OPINION: What if my child succeeds?

Educationalist Shalini Nambiar enquires into how we are making ‘bricks in the wall’ with our next generation:

I still get tears in my eyes when I recall what I went through when I was in school for almost 6 years. I, as a child was extremely shy and a feeling of insecurity was there since I was always a plump child. I was nicknamed ‘fatty’ by all and how it use to hurt!

But my mom gave me the courage and supported me throughout, taught me how important it is to face the world and listen to one’s heart.As an educationist I want to write about my dream about that little child who walks in with hopes and dreams in his eyes, my dream to make him a happy human being and successful in whatever he ventures in life.

Movies like "Three Idiots" have attempted to expose the limitations of the current education system.

There are hundreds of examples of people in this world who have believed what others have said about them and failed and there are just as many people who have refused to be influenced by the opinion of others and have been successful.

One of the first rules in life is to trust yourself. Kids get too much advice from everyone else of what they should do in life. No one allows them to discover themselves. Speaking from personal example I discovered very late in life what I really wanted to do in my life. Everyone else decided till then what I should do.

If I were to ask each one of you to think of one person in your life who you consider successful and why? I am sure most of you will talk about hard work, dedication, commitment which led him or her to excel. How come then we do not have school advertisements saying that so and so scored 99% in hard work, 98% in commitment. Aren’t theses the qualities our education should prepare us for?

Education’s final measurable impact is not in the exam result or the sports result not in the earning process but in the quality of the lives it inspires its students to lead.

Let’s teach the children the beauty of being imperfect. That it’s all right to make mistakes. We have to be prepared for tomorrow when it would be more important to learn how to rapidly adapt to a different job tasks and to constantly think out of the box, what we need is to develop a system that encourages students to gain multiple abilities to help them combat the rapid changes in today’s world. This is the kind of education schools should give.

Life is not reserved only for those who score 96% in exams, life is not all about money, it’s about loving what you are doing.

Change our programming as parents and teachers from, ‘what if my child fails?’ to ‘what if my child succeeds?’

To dare something new we must move out of our comfort zone. Yesterday when a prospective parent walked in my room and asked me about my philosophy, I said, “We teach them to dream, have faith in their dreams and follow them wholeheartedly so that they achieve it.”

In our effort to do a good job raising our children we tend to nit pick our kids to death over their flaws and failures.

Let the child be, let him follow his heart. Let’s remember that each child is unique. Khalil Gibran has aptly said:

Your children are not your children.

They are the sons and daughters of Life’s longing for itself.

They come through you but not from you,

And though they are with you, yet they belong not to you.

You may give them your love but not your thoughts.

For they have their own thoughts.

You may strive to be like them, but seek not to make them like you.

For life goes not backward nor tarries with yesterday.

You are the bows from which your children as living arrows are sent forth.


What should schools teach?

Firstly teach them that failure is not a negative term as there has never been a single successful person who hasn’t failed numerous times on their journey to success. In fact, the most successful people in life are those who have failed the most.

Secondly teach them goal setting.

Only three percent of people commit their goals to paper.

These are the same people who find the greatest success in life.

Lastly teach them how to figure out what you really want in life. Unfortunately, far too many people never take the time to do this. At the workplace we meet these types of people. They are the ones who spend the whole week just looking forward to the weekend. Let’s not get stuck waiting for the weekend. Let’s teach the children to find what we truly love to do in life and make it our vocation.

I firmly believe that it is very hard to succeed at something you hate. On the other hand, it’s hard not to succeed when working at something you love.

Shalini Nambiar is director of Excelsior American School. Views expressed are her own. (Reproduced with permission.)


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