Let children learn to navigate their own futures
There is one marked and very special tendency among many parents -- to impose their views on children, even when they are more than eighteen years old. This is almost a very routine feature in India, where many careers have been lost, mainly because parents had imposed their will on children, and had decided what their children should study, why and when, apart from where.
More often than not, such disastrous career choices are far removed from the talents of the children, who have totally different interests, talents and even a burning desire to make it big. When they are forced into some career, they end up as misfits and then go on to do some higher education course, or simply end up becoming mad in terms of wasting all their talents.
This is a disastrous track record for the children, and for the parents too.
All this could have been avoided and should have been avoided. For this to happen, the parents should firmly take it on themselves to offer guidance, but leave it to their own children to choose the path they decide for themselves.
If one reads any Tamil magazine, one can at least find one story of a famous film director: he would say that his parents had applied pressure on him to become an engineer, which he became. But his heart was never in it, and he joined as an assistant with a celebrated director, who had mentored him.
After fifteen years of struggle, and at least ten films, two of which became hits of a tall order, the director had arrived.
This is more or less the story of all creative people. The film industry is the best example of how and why only creative brains can make a success in it --- there are now rules, but only some ground rules. If one has a powerful story, which has ample scope for all human emotions to be played out in their entirety, one can be sure of the movie's success.
For example, India's ace director, whose name is Shankar, has just a Diploma in electrical engineering.
But he directed a film called "Indian' which openly hit out against corruption. Though the hero is shown as someone who would murder a whole lot of people indulging in corruption, the superb acting of Kamal Hasan carried it all the way: it not only made people sit up and take notice, it was the most powerful story against corruption. The film was a huge box office hit too.
Children normally have a huge amount of creativity. Some, by nature, are a lot more creative than others --- if one understands that creativity is all about creating something that had never been done before, or never ever even thought of before. Innovation is the art of implementing and coming out with breath-taking ideas, that will take the world by storm -- for example, the Ipod from Apple computers.
One teacher had recently remarked that there is a Steve Jobs in each of us. Only a few of us, bother to fuel that kind of a creativity that Jobs was very well known for, and even now, celebrated throughout the world.
For example, the creativity that goes into making a huge variety of jute bags. Any young MBA can start a good business and just expand this skill that is readily available with hundreds of people, to make a commercial capital out of it. This is also environment-friendly, and has a huge export potential as well. Those who know the art of creativity will readily agree that this skill has creativity in-built into it.
Not only creative arts or anything related to creativity. There are huge talents like for example, singing, or dancing or effectively playing on some musical instrument. If parents notice that some talent is there, they should take special pains to nurture the same in all seriousness and then enable the boy or the girl to totally develop that as a profession.
The mindset that only Medical or Engineering or Law are courses or careers worth pursuing, is something that has to change. This mindset among parents is very dangerous. It is a mindset that is there throughout India. In fact, there are several entrepreneurs who make huge money, by exploiting this mindset. Several Engineering colleges in Tamil Nadu, for example, are famous for having attracted a huge number of Hindi wallah students from the Hindi belt. Such students study in the tier 2 or tier 3 engineering colleges and somehow get an engineering degree. They also land up in some odd job in Chennai. This is exactly what happens when people do not understand that there are numerous options now available.
Entrepreneurship is a very big option. If a boy or a girl shows a natural inclination for it, the parents should encourage them, and even allow them to get a degree through correspondence. It is a sheer waster of time, if such children are put through the formal courses.
I know of at least three shrewd parents in the city of Coimbatore and one in Chennai, who allowed their children to enter into trading of commodities. The four people in question, knew that there is a huge market out there, and went on to set up a good export business. They just knew one person in Singapore and another in Malaysia and developed the business through hard work. One of them was a school dropout. He later went on to complete his plus two course through private study, and the BBA and MBA degrees through correspondence. His knowledge of the business is so good, and he uses his MBA knowledge very well. He can talk about the use of some concepts so well, that it is a treat to watch him.
Except one, who is a regular graduate, the others also completed their degrees through correspondence education only. All the success was possible, only because the parents were broad minded and allowed the students to chart out their own futures, without any difficulty.
Let us all wake up to the new realities. Today's children are far better informed. They are the new generation of children who think a lot, and can easily develop into very successful people, on their own. Let us encourage them to do just that, and not impose our views or ideas or decisions on them.
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