We are living in a time of sheer competition; a race that is all about being superior to the person next to you and the next, and the next. While this competition has been the key to transforming humans and the planet they inhabit into its present, advanced form, the flipside is that it has defined certain parameters of success that, if unattained, result in a child being branded a waste rather hastily.
Over the course of years, our society has defined certain standards of success and each member of the society is expected to – even forced – mindlessly achieve those standards in order to be “tagged” successful and earn a commendable position in eyes of societal peers.
Let me discuss a plain example. I belong to a setup where a child becoming a doctor is the only way he or she can prove his or her mettle. It is, frankly, the only way one can be considered competent and avoid being stamped as a failure. While the dimensions of performance that life offers each child remain uncountable, the amount of restrictions put on an individual in our society is equally substantial.
Stifling of a child’s own ambitions is common, which leads to a child’s real talent being lost amid the pile of expectations that are associated with him or her.
In Pakistan, we are never taught and prepared to become “us”; we are always told to become “someone”. We are hardly allowed to follow our own calling or create a path of our own.
A majority of youth is handed out an already chalked out plan that the elders think is the surefire road to success. We are always given a specific map to follow and showed a path often walked upon. As a result, we continue producing replicas of existing personnel, with the quality of the end product highly compromised.
This tradition has given us nothing but a large number of professionals that are unhappy with what they have become and even more unhappy with what they have ended up doing in life.
There is a dire need to understand and acknowledge that every child, every teenager and every adult is different. Each member of this society has differing opinions about life, each has a different set of likings and each has an inherent inclination towards a certain field or profession that could be entirely unique. The definition of success also varies radically from person to person.
It is time we stop expecting XYZ to run as fast as ABC, just because they have been provided the same shoes.
It is imperative for elders to recognise the talents of children and help them hone the same effectively. Help children define success their own way and in a way that makes them content. A skilled blacksmith who loves his or her job will always fare better than an uninterested engineer who hates his or her work. Think about it.
The views and opinions expressed in the article are the writer’s own and do not necessarily reflect the views and policy of The Academia Magazine.