ByÂ Devika Mittal:
As kids, we had a desire to speed up the growing part and become adults. Adulthood meant an escape from the boring homework, having a lot more freedom and the power to decide. Of course, now as adults, we like to laugh on that silly desire. It was silly but it was a very innocent one. We were too innocent to understand what adulthood would really mean. How that “freedom” would mean very little in front of that ever-increasing tension. We realize it now but it seems that parents these days don’t.
Recently, I came across an article in a TOI supplement, Education Plus, dated 12th January 2012, about preschoolers and little kids learning to cook, wash cars and doing computers. I anyway never understood the concept of pre-schooling as 14 years of schooling is torturous enough for kids but this came as a major shock to me. I wondered what has gone wrong with parenting these days.
I remember how our parents would talk about their ‘golden’ childhood and would totally discard our idea of ‘fun’ in childhood. My mother had a serious disapproval for Cartoon Network and my computer buddies, Dave and Aladdin. They would talk about their vacations back in the villages and the “real” fun, as they used to put it. Every vacation, I was forced to engage in some ‘fun’ activity like dance, music or playing casio. We all grew up being compared with a neighborhood kid or a cousin. This was our childhood. We were more ‘privileged’ than our previous generation but the next and the current generation have a lot more, like cellphones before college, facebook accounts much before their teen years, the obsession with branded and fashionable clothes, in short, an over-exposure!
Now, I think that we were so much better-off. And I don’t feel any kind of happiness as I write this. I feel really sad that what they are losing out on what happens to be what kids are famous for i.e. innocence. Now, when I think of my childhood, I review all the mistakes that I ever made. Some of them were stupid and others, quite serious, yet I don’t feel any remorse because I was innocent. I was not trained enough to see all aspects of things. I realized and learned from my mistakes only with time. I learned all that, at the right age. I was ignorant, immature and imperfect. It was only with time that I started shedding some of them. I now feel that growing up is so beautiful. And as I realize this, I feel sad for these kids.
It’s not their age to learn how to cook or how to wash a car. Why do they need to do that? Are they being expected to be independent? I see kids in reality shows trying to express emotions which they are not even supposed to understand and I have nothing but pity for them. Why are they being expected to behave like adults? Most of the times, the judges don’t seem to know how to talk to kids. They end up discouraging the kids. But Why? Why are kids supposed to be perfect today! They are expected to sing their throats out, dance till their legs give away and express emotions which are way-ahead than their ages. So we have a preteen TV actress playing the role of a wife(not child bride) on a popular TV show. Is there a dearth of better actresses, I wondered. What was the need for playing with the psychological mind-set of the young actress?
I see preschoolers having their ears pierced and I wonder the need. I remember having the ear-piercing done when I was in third standard. I fail to understand why things are growing so fast.
I don’t think one can blame the kids! The questions should be directed to their parents, their guardians and these schools. What are they playing at? The World is moving on very fast… there is an upsurge
in technology and one needs to be updated but not at the cost of destroying the beautiful child-like innocence. Why are we exposing them to a world for which they are not yet ready? Why are they taking away from their own kids what they cherish the most… the “golden” childhood? Why are the parents in such a hurry?
The schools consider this as a step to better ‘prepare’ the students. They are ‘preparing’ the students for what? This competitive world? The world is definitely become ‘meaner’ day by day and the competition is a reality. But this does not mean that we end up producing miniature adults, rather than kids. And all this is only worsening the competition. The schools may claim “innovative” methods to make learning “fun” but actually, it is indulging into a lot of “learning” for the kids, with these “extra-curricular” activities. The “Extra-curricular” activities which sometimes also include personality development, a concept which again I fail to accept for kids. If immaturity is bad, so is over-maturity.
Why cant we just let them be themselves… and enjoy their innocent childhood which they will cherish later in their lives, when they will ultimately struggle in this notorious, demonic world? Why cant we let kids be kids again?