Wednesday, September 2, 2015

Success of course, but what else along with that?

Today, most of us are obsessed with success. We are motivating the kids (as teachers/tutors/parents) to put in their best and succeed. We are delighted when they bring in the shining scores, and secretly, but briefly, feel guilty when we see them regularly sacrificing their play-hours for tuition classes. We hope that delivering to the best of their abilities becomes a habit for them. 

How do we teach them now to put in their best, but without being exploited, when they would be working as executives some years later?

The story of two brothers!
“I told Ron to erase his ‘e’s for they resembled ‘i’s. He refused after two unsuccessful attempts,” Minnie, my neighbor said resignedly, adding after a short silence, “Paul would rub his letters even ten times whenever I told him to.” Ron and Paul are her two sons, five years separating them.
Ron is a happy-go-lucky, bold six-year-old who comes across as a precocious boy, speaking his mind and not hesitating to shout at his closest pals whenever they don’t see eye to eye or whenever his tank’s tap of patience (quite tiny) runs dry or whenever his opponent in a game, the two are playing, is slow. Bright that he is, his age is too less to help him understand that he is gifted and most are not.
His brother, Paul, eleven years old, has always been the industrious, quieter kind of boy who is happy with his school books and outdoor sports. Overly sensitive about praise and criticism, he goes all out of his way to please his parents, keeping his calendar blocked for five different hobby classes for the five week-days, if his mother thinks it necessary. He doesn’t seem to mind the grind he goes through and the free time he is denied, things his peers and friends are unfamiliar with, all because he knows very well how all this makes his mother happy. He is not the one to break her heart in the smallest way.
What do you call this? Is it obedience? Respect for parents? Or is it that he doesn’t have a mind of his own? Or is it a desire to be better than he can be? Or is it a great desire to stay in his mother’s good books? Ron’s only drawback is – his over-confidence. Paul’s is – his hypersensitivity. Ron believes he is always the best. Paul believes he is not doing enough if he is not excelling in whatever he does and mopes about when his performance doesn’t keep him in the top bracket. Ron doesn’t care about stress. He is never stressed-out. Paul is often stressed-out – he takes too many things in his plate and tries to juggle them all with panache.

It’s a little too early to predict what future holds for each of them if the two brothers continue to be what they are. Certainly, childhood is moving a bit fast for Paul. But how does that translate to real life? How do you think he’ll handle expectations of people around him?

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