Month: May 2006

Oh God, it’s results again!

Oh God, it’s results again!

CBSE results are out. And the Maharashtra Board results are just a few days away. The tension is slowly mounting. Last year, around this time, I met a girl from my neighbourhood who had just come to know of her HSC results.

She seemed absolutely down in the dumps. Assuming that she’s failed, or at the very least, performed real bad, I inquired as mildly as I could, about the cause of her gloominess. She was bit uncomfortable initially, but after gentle prodding, she gave in.

Her response jolted me. She said she was embarrassed to face her Mathematics teacher because she had obtained “only” 98 out of the maximum of 100 in her Mathematics paper.

Till I had met this girl, I was under the impression that with grades like these, students would be rejoicing, celebrating and even distributing sweets to one and all. But it was not so.

On the other extreme, Dr Anil Tambe, a prominent doctor from Thane revealed to me another shocking case related to the board results.

Last year he discharged a 15-year-old girl (name withheld) from his hospital. This girl was admitted to his hospital on the previous day because she had apparently consumed rat poison in an attempt to commit suicide. Why? She had failed in her tenth standard (CBSE) exams!

Both the above cases signal a disturbing trend that has come to besiege the board exams. With increasing competition and peer pressure, board results have become perhaps the biggest source of stress, trauma and paranoia among students.

Each year more than a hundred thousand students appear for board exams across the country.

Most of them attach more importance to the results than is warranted. And as we’ve seen from the cases above, this applies to all kinds of students, not just the so-called dull students but also the brilliant ones who score extremely well.

The Common Entrance Test (CET) has lessened the importance of board results to some extent, but the pressure to clear the CET remains.

The responsibility and blame for the unrealistic pressure does not lie with the students alone. Parents, teachers and the society share the responsibility equally.

For instance, regardless of their expectations from their children, it’s important for parents to declare unequivocally that they love their children.

Parents must let children know that they love them in spite of, not because of, their performances. An old saying goes, “A child needs love the most when he least deserves it.”

Another important aspect is that both parents and students would do well to remember is that these exams and entrance tests do not evaluate an individual’s ability to do well in life. They test memory, mathematical abilities and, to some extent, scientific aptitude.

Gifts and talents such as music, art, sports, and business acumen are largely ignored.

But it is a well-known fact that doing well in academics is not a pre-requisite for doing well in life just as doing poorly in school and college is not a recipe for failure. Dhirubhai Ambani, Thomas Edison, Albert Einstein and many other luminaries like them are evidence of this.

This is not to discount education entirely but to emphasise that exams are only one of the many aspects that determine how your careers are shaped.

So when the results of board exams and CET are declared this year, parents must discuss “what next” with the children rather than dwelling on their performance, especially if you are disappointed with the scores.

Of super moms and more

Of super moms and more

Last Sunday the world celebrated Mother’s Day. But few know where the concept of celebrating Mother’s Day originated.

According to some, the earliest Mother’s Day celebrations began in ancient Greece in honour of Rhea, the Mother of the Gods. In the 17th century, England celebrated a day called Mothering Sunday when all the mothers of England were honoured. Because many poor men worked as servants for the wealthy, they would often live at the houses of their employers, which were located far from their homes. On Mothering Sunday these servants would have the day off and were encouraged to return home and spend the day with their mothers. That’s how the earliest Mother’s Day was celebrated.

Unfortunately today, Mother’s Day, like many other special days, has been reduced to a commercially driven occasion, with the pure intention of making profits. In the recent years, India too has joined the bandwagon of celebrating mother’s day. The greeting card and gift companies may use mother’s day to exploit our sentiments, urging us to measure our love for our mothers in terms of expensive gifts, but most Indians still know in their hearts that the value of mother’s love is immeasurable. In fact the joy of motherhood is in itself the greatest gift.

As children, the best gift we can give to our mothers it to love them unconditionally, because that’s how they love us.

To honour young mothers, Thane Women’s Guild (TWG), a city-based, all-woman, not-for-profit organisation celebrated Mother’s Day last Sunday in a unique way. TWG conducted an hour-long programme with 50 city-based mothers of kindergarten children. Held at Hari Om Nagar, the idea behind the event was to provide an interactive platform to young mothers. Two guest speakers, Dr Bhabesh Mithya and Dr Suhas Kulkarni, both paediatricians, addressed the moms on the mental and emotional well being of their little ones. While Dr Mithya mainly spoke on nutrition and its relation to growth and development of children under five years, Dr Kulkarni talked about common health
problems, emotional needs of pre-school children and good parenting skills.

There was a rapid-fire quiz session on ‘Parenting Skills’, with questions ranging from child health and development of social skills to securing the future of children financially. The response to this session was such that when time ran out, the excited mothers requested that more such events be organised. A few working mothers felt that such programmes were a very effective means for de-stressing and unwinding from the working week’s demanding schedules.

The programme was rounded off by awarding prizes to ‘Super Mom,’ the ‘Most Promising Mom,’ and the ‘Future Super Mom’, all of who were spontaneously selected by the doctor guests and other panellists based on the questions and interactions of the participating mothers.

In spite of the tremendous responsibilities that accompany motherhood, the young mothers were evidently enthusiastic about discovering the joys of being young mothers.