Author: Ramakrishnan Subramaniam
[dropcap color=”#008040″ boxed=”yes” boxed_radius=”8px” class=”” id=””]A[/dropcap]s the temperatures soar, so does the anxiety of the parents as they await the impending results of the 1st major milestone in their child’s life, namely the 10th standard board exam. If we pick up any newspaper, we will be inundated with articles on the past result trends, colleges and streams available, the quotas available in each college and so on.
If this plethora of choices was not sufficient, there is increased confusion with regards to the admission process which seems to change every year. Unfortunately, it is the 15 year old child in the midst of his much awaited summer vacation, who has to bear the brunt of this information diarrhoea. My advice to the parents is to calm down and keep it simple.
This is an important milestone but not the be all and end all for your child. His career will be positively impacted by an excellent result and with the entry into a reputed college but there is no guarantee. Conversely, not getting into the right college or stream is not the end of the world.
Finally, in our quest for success and happiness, we have to keep in mind that ”Success may bring happiness but if I have happiness, success does not matter”. Accordingly, here are my 2 cents to make this a more happy life for the parent and child.
1) Networking: Rather than take unsolicited advice from every uncle and aunt who visits your house, introduce your child to people who are studying or working in different professions. It is important that you just facilitate this process and let the child ask the questions. During this process, the child will get a perspective of what to expect in different professions. He will understand the academic ladder that needs to be climbed and the efforts that need to be expended across different fields. Very importantly, he will be able to identify or at least shortlist the profession/s that interests him the most.
2) Counselling: Most parents would have done an aptitude test for their child to understand the stream which fits his personality. This is advisable if your child has not made any decision about his career but is not recommended to validate a career choice made by your child. Reason is simple. Most children do not like tests and exams and asking them to appear for a test in the middle of their summer vacations will not get the best response from them. Can we therefore depend on this response? The counsellors confirm that this is a good indicator but it is still only an indicator. Go with the choices made by your child
3) Economics: Parents tell me that their child wants to pursue a career in Literature but they have convinced him to get into Science since there is no money in Literature. I have been in the Corporate world for 25 years and seen thousands of graduates struggle through their professional life due to a wrong career choice. I have seen the adverse impact on their self-esteem when they are not able to perform to the expectations of the Organization.
There are enough reasons for stress in today’s competitive world and being in the wrong profession should not be one of them. Let them make their careers in the field that they are passionate about. There are enough opportunities for passionate individuals to make money.
Why should they strive to “Like what they do” when they can “Do what they like”?
4) Trend: I hear parents telling me that they will put their child in Science if he scores over 95%, in Commerce if he scores between 90-95% and in Arts if the score is less than 90% since this is the general trend. God save the child. The 10th Standard Board exam is just a result of what the child has written on a piece of paper during the 3 hours of the exam. It does not reflect in anyway the skills and interests of the child that he has developed over 15 years. If you have not understood his area of interest in these 15 years, then take professional help but it is not advisable to take his life decisions on the basis of marks.
5) Academic Capacity: In these 15 years, you would have understood the academic capacity of your child. While every parent wants their child to be a Sachin Tendulkar in their respective field, there can only be one like him. We do not see the lakhs of unknown cricketers who are struggling through life due to their parent’s unwarranted desire to make them a Sachin Tendulkar. While an entry into IIT is much sought after dream for most parents, putting your not very academically child through the unending grind of coaching classes is amounting to torture. Parents fail to understand that entry into an IIT is just the first step. Once he is a student, he will have to deal with a curriculum which is probably targeted for a different level of IQ and this is likely to have a detrimental affect on his morale.
Not every engineer from IIT has a 6 figure starting salary and I am not even counting the number of students who have to endure psychological problems throughout their life since they are not able to cope with the stress. Every child has an inherent capacity for doing different things and turning a blind eye to this fact would do more harm than good to your child
[dropcap color=”#008040″ boxed=”yes” boxed_radius=”8px” class=”” id=””]T[/dropcap]o summarize, 5 tips for gifting a happy life to your child
1) Facilitate the process of letting your child identify the field of his interest.
2) If the child has not decided, let him get into a generic stream so that all options are open after 12th Standard.
3) Help him draw an academic road map i.e. decide the stream, subjects etc. right upto his graduation. He will be mature enough to decide after that.
4) Help him do any course correction after 12th due to possible change of interests, if required.
5) Very importantly, encourage him to develop his overall personality
Wishing all the students the best of luck for your results.
Reproduced verbatim from ramsubrareflections site, with a URL to his site.