Indian parents are notorious for taking more than the advised amount of interest in their children’s life. Most Indian kids complain about the extent of invasion their parents have on their academic and personal lives. Their argument is that if their western counterparts do so well with so much freedom( which I believe is a false premise in itself ), why can’t they?
The reason , I hypothesize, is the innate difference in the cultures of Indians and the Westerners.
The Western culture places heavy emphasis on individualism, identity , self respect and personal achievement. Achievement is central to their value system , it is in their genes, and hence even under trying circumstances, their passion for achievement can help them eke out a decent life.
Most Indian kids, inherently, however think the other way round.They look at obtaining a decent and comfortable living as their greatest aims in life and do not care about achievements and personal feats. Thus, although they are able to survive , they stop at that point and without proper intervention, would never try to live the achievement oriented life that is coveted by the whole world.
So, the question arises : which type of life is desirable ? I would definitely prefer the latter. The reason ties back to my reflection in a bid to answer this question : “If India was indeed so prosperous centuries back and so ahead in science and technology, how the hell did we manage to fall behind in the race? ” It occurred to me that , centuries ago, Indian rulers committed the same mistake of being content with what they have. They lived a good life, grew food, ate, slept, mined gold and were content with that. Apart from a few random individual achievements, as a nation, we really did not make any progress. The foreign imperialist rulers were able to satisfy us by providing us with our basic needs for survival and we were satisfied with that. Post independence , some of us did drift to the western school of thought , but deep down inside , most of us still remain the same. As part of a nation aspiring to be a superpower, I certainly feel that we need to change.
However, such a change would be very difficult to develop on our own. It would be highly wrong on our part to let teenagers figure out their own path – the genes would definitely win. The lack of role models in the society adds to our woes. The achieving Indian kids are the ones whose parents have conditioned them to the Western value system right from childhood. Parental help and conditioning is definitely required if we are to overcome our genetic instincts.
I am certainly not suggesting that parents need to take control and ownership of life forever. I am certainly not suggesting this. But in the larger interest of the nation, it wouldn’t hurt to let go of a bit of that control. Chances are you’ll end up being a high achiever. A somewhat miserable childhood( which if you are not getting beaten/abused is really not that miserable at all) is a small price to pay for that.
They say, the future of India lies with its youth. I differ. It lies with their parents – for they alone can help them shape the country’s future. Instead of blaming them for your misery , use them to your advantage and give them due credit.