“I don’t know why he keeps calling me at his place. I really don’t have any spare time.”
“Dude, so do I. Ever since I have reached the next grade, I have so much of work that I have no time either. I don’t know when will he understand that!”
What do you make of the above conversation? At first glance, it may appear as an everyday talk between two friends or even co-workers, who are chitchatting their way home but the reality is shockingly grim.
Instead of adults, this discussion was actually taking place between two barely 11-12 years olds, who were cycling while talking about their ‘hectic schedule’. The worst part, however, was how it probably made them feel closer to being actual adults. This is because, instead of a complaint, their tone had a hint of pride in it.
As a 30-year old woman who was already tired thinking about the next day at work, this conversation startled me. I actually stood right in my tracks and turned around to eavesdrop more, sadly, the two kids went whizzing past me on their colourful bicycles.
What are we doing with our kids?
This incident inadvertently points towards our growing obsession as a society with the unhealthy and unrealistic competition levels, especially when it comes to raising our children. Even though going to tuition centres after school became a regular norm for kids a long time ago, it is still upsetting to see exhausted kids and teenagers carrying a load of books long after the school hours.
From music sessions to language classes, there is no dearth of extra-curricular activities that parents regularly push their kids to. While we cannot really blame the parents for preparing their kids for the cut-throat competition in society, there is something, somewhere going utterly wrong, if the price of the said success is the innocence of childhood.
The loss of play time
Gone are the days of mary go rounds, gully cricket and carefree running in the corridors, replaced by the daunting silence of tapping keyboards and a choking schedule. From school to tuition centres to classes that enhance social skills, children today are constantly racing against time, in quest to become the ‘perfect’ kid for their parents.
The playgrounds are empty, the gardens no longer have a signboard asking the kids to not play inside it–children no longer have the time to enter only and the society uncles are no longer collecting the plastic balls that were used to smash their glass windows–there is nobody playing gully cricket.
Ultimately, I am nobody to tell you how to raise your child, but if your kid is left with little to no energy at the end of the day, you may need to evaluate his/her schedule. Children should not take pride in ‘busy’, it is a trait best left to the adults who are yearning for the childhood flown by.