Tuesday, September 29, 2015

To compare or not…

How many of us like to be compared?

Through experience, as a mother and as a counselor, I’ve learnt this extremely significant truth – More often than not, comparison erodes our self-esteem. It does not spare children either. When the going gets tough the trick is to take it bit by bit and just keep moving. When things go swimmingly, compare one’s present with one’s past in the relevant area.

Here goes a real story of how years back comparison was about to spoil it all when good sense prevailed over a mother.

My eight-year-old rushed down the steps in his swimming costume, a mass of energy and enthusiasm, my husband in tow. After an hour, the father returned, looking happy and satisfied. In three days the smile vanished! Within a week my son began coming home with a glum face. What was going wrong?!
“You’re not following Sir’s instructions properly,” the father grumbled to which Dev said meekly, “But I am.”
“He is not concentrating during the class,” my husband complained the very moment I opened the door to the duo next day. My little daughter Vini had been keeping me busy and so I didn’t really know what was going on in the pool. Forever patient with his children, I had no reason to doubt my husband was wrong in judging Dev’s efforts to learn the art of swimming. I didn’t take it very seriously though, and said some words of encouragement. But I thought he didn’t really need that because he was most likely not focusing enough but would be compelled to do so by the trainer soon. There wasn’t any significant change in the next few classes though. Time was running out, because there were to be around twenty classes in this session. Now I felt I had to be a little firm.

“Why aren’t you observing Sir’s movements? Why don’t you be a little sincere sometimes at least?” I asked, peeved. This was because he indeed was a playful boy and his school report card often mentioned that along with his good qualities. “If you aren’t interested, you can pull out,” I said almost angrily, for what was so tough about learning how to swim at this tender age (when the learning curve is at a high in almost anything), that too when a professional was there to teach? He is just not being sincere enough, both of us concurred. Dev’s scowl disappeared as he said “OK, I’ll pull out”. Now that was not something I had seen coming because it was he who had got fascinated
watching his friends swim. I became quiet, hoping he didn’t actually mean to stop midway through his training. 

Nevertheless the comparisons began.

“Riju has learnt quite a number of tricks, why don’t you?” Understandably, the father was frustrated because he was the outdoor games kind of man who had a good sports record during his college days. Dev winced at the comparison.
At this time or in this case, this comparison won’t help, it’s only making
matters worse, I felt. He was no longer looking forward to the swimming
classes and worse, his confidence in himself was dipping. (Was it a mother’s
sixth sense?) And I could not watch this silently.

1 comment:

  1. a good observation but most difficult to avoid such comparisons!