These are my young mascots from school doing a street play
on stigmas attached to mental health.
‘We live in a world that is oblivious to this matter of dire concern. Sometimes, one ignores the simplest of signs and symptoms and sometimes the society forces you to maintain a mask of a perfectionist human being. The world needs a revolution so that mental health gets an equitable status as mental health. Talking to a confidante is good enough to let your vulnerabilities be addressed in a non judgmental way. You would only get more strong and confident’.
This was the message reiterated by my 16 year olds.
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