I just now read this article where a girl of 9 years becomes the youngest person to become Microsoft Certified Professional. And immediately my thoughts were "WOW!" When I thought of myself at that age I realized we were too busy playing stapu, reading famous fives and watching Telematch to be doing anything so intellectually driven.
Then my next thought went to the "parental pressure" to perform high in academics. Lot has been said about it, more in the negative way, and how its not a good thing, the long term psychological impact etc etc. At the same time I feel without a bit of parental pressure, we kids would not have even picked up a book to study. We would have been playing and whiling away our time. Its the parents who need to push us to study. Without this push I wonder if most of us would have reached where we are today. And its also the parents who figure out if their child has the capability of doing something outstanding and to provide means and support and sometimes even put a bit of pressure for the kids to take on the roads like this little girl did.
But this doesn't mean that I'm pro parental/peer pressure. There has to be a balance. In this era we as parents need to constantly guide our kids into focusing on studies more than what was required earlier because of the amount of distractions such as internet, movies, over use of cellphones etc is there. Arriving at this fine balance of studies and extra curricular activities is the toughest part. I really don't know if I will be able to strike any bit closer to this balance even though I would definitely be trying consciously.
We parents also get pressurized by the peer to further pressurize our kids to perform. "Ohh my child can do this and that etc" and that gets us to think lowly of our kid if he/she cannot do the same. And then we tend to push our kids to be at par with the child of our peer group.
I faced this a lot when we got Anirudh admitted to formal school. Everyone was asking us why are we losing 1 year and why are we getting him admitted in Nursery instead of KG. First of all I didn't have a choice, thanks to the chaos caused by rules changing every year. I agree I was under the pressure and kept thinking of how can I avoid this loss of a year. After many sleepless nights I realized, it doesn't matter. Its just fine. Its only one year. He has a full life ahead of him and if he turns out to be extraordinary brilliant and super intelligent I will see if he needs to be promoted to a higher class. But not now. Let him be in Nursery. And after 10 months I'm happy that I took this decision.
And not so long ago, when we were called to see their half yearly progress reports, I didn't go to see how has he been graded, has he scored well or not. Nopes. I just wanted to talk to his teacher if he has been enjoying school and not being a brat. That's it. With my daily conversations with Anirudh I knew he has been picking a lot of new stuff from school and I was happy with his progress. But when I saw parents of kids in nursery and KG discussing and comparing the grades of their wards, I realized this is what the parental pressure is. And this is what I definitely don't want to be doing. I just smiled to myself and walked away.
I don't know if I'm making any sense here but I hope you see the point I'm trying to make.