I have observed that most people like to take a shortcut in life. Rarely have I found find someone backing all their tasks with complete effort; mostly, an easy route that requires minimum effort is adopted.
I noted this with sharp relief while my daughter was growing up. Though she was a good student who got decent grades, she was an extremely shy girl. Despite that, she was exceedingly eager to participate in various extra-curricular competitions. As a mother I encouraged her to sign up for participation. Each time this shy little girl went up to the teacher and offered herself, to be unfailingly rejected. It was heartbreaking. “Mom, I am never selected. Each time it is the same. Ma’am always selects Charvi or Sayan only.” Hmmm.
I looked up the list of winners of various competitions published on their website. Indeed, it was a repetition of the same names in varying order. I was flummoxed. Why would the teacher choose only the same set of children? Why not give others a chance too? Nepotism? So early on?
The phenomenon was explained easily by a retired schoolteacher with decades of experience. “It’s simple really. It becomes extremely easy for the teacher to select the same set of kids. They have proven themselves and are sure to excel without much labour or heartburn for the teacher. It is the line of least resistance.” Meanwhile this attitude of the teacher was playing havoc with my little girl’s self-esteem. “What is the point of giving my name? I will not be selected.” – when she listlessly rejected my query about an impending recitation competition, I saw red.
My child’s teacher did not have the drive or was not inspired enough to search for gems amongst the rocks. After all, once one child has proved her mettle, the teacher need not waste her time and energy on finding another candidate and then polishing this new entrant. I felt this was a sorry state of affairs; after all it is the teacher’s designated duty to mould children.
If my child’s teachers aren’t bothered enough to provide the encouragement they should, its time I stepped in. after all I couldn’t watch my child languish in morbid self-pity. I decided to tackle the issue on a war footing. The first thing my daughter needed to learn was to speak up, loud and clear, for herself. The era of a soft spoken wallflower is long past. If she didn’t like some thing, she should speak up, and not suffer in silence – at home as well as at school.
An opportunity arose. She had designed a complete magazine, all by herself. It included the editorial as well as creative part and I was immensely proud of it.
“Why don’t you show it to your teacher?” I suggested.
“Oh No!! What will I say?”
Eventually, she gathered enough courage to do just that and the teacher was suitably impressed.
To cut a long story short, my daughter has been participating in Model United Nations (MUNs) and other competitions. Now, she is also a member of the school editorial board.
I am glad I motivated my daughter to speak up for herself!