Did you see the ad above? How truly wonderful and on point it is! Which parent and child will not relate with it? In today’s world, the rat race for children begins when they are really small. When innocence and mischief should dictate their lives, they attend classes and events so that they do better than the neighbour’s child. I’ve heard parents compare marks of children as young as first graders. It is sheer madness. The constant competition and comparison is making their childhoods overtly competitive and miserable. We hear that the syllabus is easing to make lower classes stress free but the incessant pressure from parents to see super achievers in their children is causing stress and depression even in children as young as 8 or 9. Yes, I’ve seen many such parents around me.

As soon as kids get into Class 9, I see the entire environment around them evolve.

#BeBetterThanYourself

From teachers to other parents to their own peers, everyone tells them that this is the time to only study and forget life. The high performers of their own grade and neighbourhood are mentioned so that they can perform even better than them. Yes, I know. I have been there. My son just appeared for his 10th Boards. And despite all the pressure that the world around him put on him, at home his father and I tried to make him feel at ease. I know my child. He will work to the best of his ability, and that is good enough for me.

In its new marketing campaign, brand Classmate takes on this exact theme #BeBetterThanYourself. The communication is conceived to challenge long-standing, and widely held assumptions on the nature of “competition”.

Children, through school and college, are almost always compared with others – their classmates and peers. And in an achievement-oriented society like ours, they are conditioned to perceive “others” as competition.

In this backdrop, “Be Better Than Yourself” kicks off a crusade against such a prevailing view, and how it shapes the kids as they grow up. It reminds us that the rise to the top is a battle against oneself, and a journey with others.

As a matter of fact, this is what I’ve maintained for both my children. They are their own competition. They chart their own courses in life. They make their own decision and choose their own destiny. It’s okay if they are not toppers. How does it matter? They are not trophies to be tom-tommed on Facebook status updates but flesh-and-blood children who must learn to take failure in the same stride as success. And for that reason, my older son did all the normal things like play games, walk, watch television and read books while his Board exams were on. Why should the child be expected to study at all times? It is counter productive – this pressure cooker environment. I want him to enjoy all facets of his growing up years, even studies.

This when I saw the world around me go nuts. Parents who thought that their kids must study even over the weekends because this is their age to work hard. These dimwit arguments cut no ice with me. Yes, I know given our education system, there is a time when they have to slog especially when they have to prepare for professional exams but why burden them from now? Why make them suffer every moment and compare them to every topper or high-performing child?

Competition should only be to spur us to do better, not to invoke jealousy, not to constantly compare and judge. Just to be a better version of ourselves is what all of us must emphasize. And you know what, when they do that they emerge more confident and successful.

This is the exact philosophy I aim for them to follow. They are their own competition, and they should judge themselves only against their own previous performance. Just like the Classmate brand’s ad showed.

This is what I wish for all children.

#BeYourself

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Be the best version of Yourself. Strive to achieve your full potential.

 This Mother’s Day, let’s all endeavor to let our children enjoy their life so that they grow into happy and fulfilled adults. Marks will never define their worth, happiness or success. I am so glad that the above campaign is spreading this message.

Hopefully, we will all rethink our parenting methods and let the child in our children’s childhood thrive and grow.

Featured pic courtesy Shutterstock

Also linking with #TweensTeensBeyond Linky

 

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23 Thoughts on “Let Our Children Be the Best Version of Themselves

  1. Instead of competing with others we should compete ourself. Moms should stop comparing kids too.

  2. Lovely ad .. so true that we all should only strive to be the best version of ourselves..

  3. Your thoughts on the kind of academic environment Indian kids are subjected to, are so appropriate.

    It’s pretty sad & ironic that even the millenial parents still assert that the lives of students should be close to that of abstinence. While childhood is such a priceless & irreversible phase, parents believe that the only way to the kid’s success is cutting himself/herself off all the joys of it. Tuition classes, crash courses & summer camps (for kids as little as 3!) are just ego-boosters for parents than remedial or additional inputs for the children now.

    Why don’t we just let them breathe?

    And like you rightly said, Rachna, the moment the child is on the verge of the 9th grade, the smothering pressure starts building around him/her. I remember I was once told as I dined at the dining table at grandma’s that I should have had my dinner in my room as I studied, so as not to ‘waste time’ over food. LOL 😀

    • Why don’t we indeed, Ashvini? Everything you say resonates with me. I’ve asked these questions many times. Sometimes, I’ve even wondered if I was actually doing harm to my child by not pushing them in this rat race but somehow my conscience would not let me.

      Imagine wasting time eating food! 🙂 This is what has been ingrained in some generations. But I am glad that parents like you and me are at least questioning established norms. Thanks for your detailed comment.

  4. Loved reading such an insightful post…

  5. Brilliant. How awesome it would be for the kids to grow in this well nurturing environment. They seem to be carrying the weight of their parent’s expectations all through childhood. The Sharma ji beta syndrome may sound funny but how true it is. We all grew up like that. Excellent post Rachna.
    Rajlakshmi recently posted…What exactly does fight like a girl mean to you?My Profile

    • Thanks, Raj! Yes indeed, comparisons were constant and ruthless when we were growing up and they can weigh down some kids immensely. It is sad that by the time some parents realize the mistake the damage may have been done.

  6. Mothers need to think like this more and more!

    xoxoxo
    Ritcha
    http://www.RitchStyles.com

  7. True…Not something easy but isn’t it the best gift we can give them. I guess it needs to start with mothers being the best version of themselves too which is a tricky area for me these days 🙂 Insightful post again, Rachna.

  8. Competition has been in-built our education system right from the start and it continues till the very end. I think moms need to tone down their competitive spirit and truly let their kids to be better version of themselves.
    Just the other day, a friend was sharing how her kid’s ‘best friend’ and her mom didnt share about a drawing competition. And the kids are in class 2!!

    • I know, sadly it is. But I liked their system of only having grades and no ranks in classes. That takes the bite away from incessant competition. Of course from 9th grade onwards it is back to the old system. I think parents really need a perspective and a breather.

  9. So true, competition should come from within and not be something pushed on us or our children.

  10. I agree completely. I used to tell the boys to only compete with themselves and always give their best. Their father used to occasionally ask how they were faring with regards to the others in class, but that didn’t bother them. In fact, neither of them took to coaching classes and studied on their own with a little help in some subjects. They wisely opted out of the rat race that tires children out before their exams.

    • For my kids, I have always placed importance on their own choices. S wanted coaching classes and so we got him enrolled in them. But they choose their own aspirations and not based on someone else’s child. I think that makes a world of difference. So nice to have you here, as always.

  11. I completely agree Rachna. Some of the things I see with competitive and pushy parenting terrifies me. It’s wonderful to want our children to be the best they can be and sometimes we need to remind them to keep on top of things and support their learning but I fear we are in a completely different league sometimes. I’m very much for trying your hardest but being a happy whole kid too. We are hardworking family and I certainly expect that ethic to continue but that is very different to over pushing a child to learn. Thanks for sharing with #tweensteensbeyond

    • Such sensible words, Nicky. Yes, I wish the hardworking ethic to continue as well. But I want them to enjoy their childhood and have an all-round growth. I have the belief that they should choose who and what they wish to compete for. And competing with oneself has a lot of advantages. Finding a role model or motivator in others is perfectly fine as well.

  12. Rachna I was raised to work hard, aim high and take absolutely nothing for granted. I have used the same ethic with my own teens. Every family is different but it works for us. Thanks for linking again, I always love your posts. #TweensTeensBeyond

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