Just the other day, my sister told me to go and pick her daughter from a hobby class my niece was attending. The little girl loved her classes and adored her teacher. She danced away to glory thanks to these classes and really enjoyed attending them. And so there I was, a good ten minutes early. The other girls looked older to her. She was trying hard to match up the steps. I could see the earnestness and the eagerness in her to reach up to the others. I was almost ready to cheer her!
Just then two mothers walked in, sat ahead of me and were very happy with how their girls were dancing. And suddenly I heard them take my niece’s name. My ears were now tuned in!
One mother cheekily commented, “The little one at the back doesn’t fit in this group. She is so slow. I wonder why she was brought into this group. She is ruining the dance!” The other one said, “I agree! The girl is not up to the mark at all.”
And this got me thinking about the level of competition that we have surrounded ourselves with. As parents we are all interested in the output and that is a good thing. But wouldn’t it be better if we encouraged the process as well. Could we, more importantly avoid the competitive streak that we are developing unnecessarily in the children we are rearing?
The young mothers of today are the products of the extreme competition that the education system has generated in the past two to three decades and it’s not surprising that they follow that.
It’s high time, parents and educators took a reality check. Is this the amount of competition warranted? Do we need to fill the lives of our children with competition? Can we let our children grow and blossom to learn? Can they enjoy the learning process? Can we teach them that we need to try our best at what we do, rather than try to fit in fixed models of success?
A major theory that is doing the rounds in the Education sector is Growth mindset. Growth Mindset has to do with learning and understanding that with training and practice every person can learn to do a skill. Dancing, singing, cooking, Stitching or carpentry, all were initially thought as innate talent that you were born with. Talent is definitely latent, but nothing stops any one from learning any of these. It is the growth mindset that takes you on a journey to enjoy the process of learning rather than be fixated with the outcome. Every human being is unique in the way they learn, understand and react to the world around them. Then why do we evaluate them on similar parameters? As parents, let’s take our children on a journey of learning. A journey that wants them to learn, excel and shine on their own and not in comparison to the other.