The trend of awarding kids with trophies or medals for their outstanding achievement in academics and co-scholastic areas started in 1970s. This came to be known as ‘self-esteem movement’. Idea was to boost the child’s self-image.
Parents would soon join the race to appreciate their talented child. Relatives in blood relation or otherwise would also be a part of appreciating the child for a unique talent seen during the formative years of life. This would be more so in collectivistic cultures like India. It would be an ulterior motive of these important stakeholders in the child’s life to fulfil the prophecy of making him/her an engineer or a doctor or a footballer or an artist…
Well, life always has something else to offer. How often were we surrounded by a bed of roses?
The child is going to have a stress-free life and the accolades earned during the school would really secure him/her. Who can guarantee? Apparently, no one! Even a genius like Albert Einstein had to experience his share of hardship. He died being a Nobel laureate but not for his contribution of theory of relativity.
The harder truth is that no amount of accolades, achievement certificates or trophies or verbal praise would develop a child as a ‘resilient’ being.
I wonder if the self-esteem movement churned out people with really high self-esteem? How about those performers who never managed to bag trophies and they were to be identified in the ‘average cadre’?
The self-esteem movement has creeped in institutes of higher education and not only kindergarten. I am confident to say this for my subcontinent India.
In our lifetime, sometimes we have all been appreciated for our efforts and sometimes rejected or criticised. Sometimes, we didn’t really deserve an appreciation but still received it and sometimes we deserved to be appreciated but someone else bagged it.
We had all such experiences as a child. Wouldn’t you agree? It all seems to be a muddled approach to boost our self-esteem as a child.
Don’t you think it is time to re-evaluate our approach? Pour-in your ideas readers..
Look at how a single candle can both defy and define the darkness.
― Anne Frank
Children have a different level of excitement and physical energy that we adults can’t match. Trips are a good way to channelise the same energy the right way.
Children also get used to routine life and enjoy their comfort zone of family, friends and teachers. Short trips with peers gives them an opportunity to leave their comfort zone. The usual and the routine conversation change during the trips.
More or less students engage bathing, eating, sleeping without an adult supervision. Just that they have to be on time to get started for the day.
Children may just talk and just talk during trips. But, it does indicate a continuous practice of one or the other social skill. A shy student may ask you to pass salt and pepper on the table. A shy one may also find another lost soul on the trip and thus make a friend.
The attention of the students goes to the trees, huts, farms, a fox and so many other objects and thus beginning a conversation with the peers and teachers. The discourse of these conversations can be very short lived but they are worth initiating and listening.
I witnessed one student of grade 9 to be taking pictures of plums growing in the vicinity and taking few solitude minutes to do the same. The same kid spotted a scorpion hiding under a table. Now, doesn’t this tell me something about the student’s inclination inclination towards nature?
Readers, do share your insights related to the topic. I will soon be sharing sequence to the blog post. Happy reading!
Registers and records on the table, appointments with students to be scheduled and plenty of other things on the mind. Well, amidst this was new responsibility of being an incharge to outstation travel to Nainital with a group of around 20 students for 4 days. I was about to meet some students from grade 6 to grade 9 and hand them an iteniary and some ‘ground rules’ to keep the trip safe and secure for everyone.
Well, this was an excited teenage boy name, Amit who came in to my room. Here are some snippets of my conversation with him.
‘Ma’am, Would there be an alarm? I have difficulty getting up in the morning’. I consoled that I would personally knock his door and ensure that he is up with everyone.
‘Should I get woollens?’ I promptly fetched the weather app on my phone to find out about the weather in Nainital and suggested to pack a light jacket to be safe. He seemed happy to have got his answer.
Oh, he yet had a series of questions.
‘Can I get Suthol?’ (Suthol is an antiseptic liquid often used by North Indians to avoid prickly heat and skin rashes). On the spot, I thought that Suthol can be a part of the toiletries. So, I said ‘yes’ again.
I had asked each student to carry one garbage bag to ensure that no place is littered during the trip. The kid asked to clarify, ‘My mother keeps a lot of plastic bags of different sizes. Could I get one such bag from my mother?’ My ‘yes’ made him super geared for the upcoming trip.
Finally, I got an idea that I have resolved all his queries. And therefore asked for his signatures on receiving the iteniary.
Amit clasped my pen and told me that he will take long. I wondered in my mind, ‘why will he take it long to do his signatures? He replied without having really asked this question, ‘I have long signatures’. Amit, signed like a celebrity and his signatures ended with a smiley. 😊
This was a short journey to view the Triund in Himachal Pradesh, India. During the journey, I came across many dogs who trekked along to reach the top along with a small group of people.
These dogs seemed to be well adjusted to the varying temperaments of fellow trekkers. They become friendly with people who caressed and fed them. Never bothered to get close to those people who may be afraid of them.
They rested along with their group and if required stayed overnight near the camping site of the fellow trekkers.
These mountain dogs trekked back to the starting point of their group. This would also give them a chance to pick a new group for the arduous uphill journey.
Evolutionary scientists will attribute this behaviour to survival. The strenuous journey gives them food out of affection of fellow trekkers.
Well, these mountain dogs are social animals too. They are very friendly and reciprocating with the trekkers. The dogs pick your pace of climbing the hill. You are slow or fast they will follow you and they really deal with your physical stamina-good or bad…
If you find them trekking along with another group, they won’t give you much attention. They remain loyal to their group till the journey ends. You may caress or feed them but they would complete their journey with their own group.
It’s like these four legged creatures telling you, ‘Honey, I’ll guide you. Just follow the trail’.
It’s been after 15 years that I picked a sketch book, pencils and few colours to quiten my racing mind. I loved to draw and paint as a kid. As 30+ woman with a career and family responsibilities my apprehension to sketch and paint grew out of proportion.
I thought that the world would label me as silly for regressing back to childhood and I have always been an average sort of an artist.
Well, as we become adults we also look for jobs that would give us ‘return on investment’. And therefore choose to opt out of hobbies.
With a smart phone, I have been saving pictures of motifs and illustrations that appealed me. This Sunday afternoon, I just invested in one and a half hour to draw and colour some illustrations that caught my eye. And I can say is that I am glad that I picked it up.
Share what art does to you or has done to you…