Sunday, August 24, 2014

Who are you to judge?


I was once asked, ‘Why can’t you be like her’?
And I could never get myself to like that person I was compared with.

Enmity and unhealthy rivalry among children mostly roots from the attitude of their parents. Some parents are judgmental or hypocrites of the highest degree…and these people are as harmful as drugs are to our society.

Contrary to popular ideas that all kids want only one thing – the TV remote, there are some kids that beg to differ. They prefer sports or toys instead. That everyone should behave in a way that is set by someone's 'perfect' child is an expectation that can be true for dogs and cats, not people. Some kids can talk very well at two. Some do not talk until they are six. This does not say anything about a child’s IQ or any other factor but it says a lot about the person who is making these comparisons. These are pointers to the fact that each and every kid is different, and whichever pace they grasp and perform, they will be fine. They will all turn out to be just fine. Just leave them alone.

My sister and I were often compared to a certain someone at church. This girl, let’s call her Alpha, was very famous in the church and the neighborhood for scoring consecutive A plus grades for mathematics in school.  And mathematics was supposed to be the subject in which the mark you score decides your destiny. Your emotional fate, which means if you don’t want to be discussed among nosy aunties in high pitched voices with frowning eyebrows then you should score well in Math. Mathematics is basically an aptitude subject. There are kids that find it easy, others who find it okay, some others that struggle. And I fell in the last category. I couldn't possibly get myself do math.

I was in hell. This was not because Alpha or her marks existed. But because Alpha’s parents decided to show off. Because they decided to scream from their rooftops that their daughter was superior in some way. And this marked our eternal grudge to Alpha and opened the way to complexes that ruined our self-worth.

However I grew older and there was role reversal. Now I have to listen to others compare their kids with mine. That my son does not speak as fluently (fluency is defined as the rate at which pathetic characters in cheap TV soaps deliver their dialogues which was obviously scripted by some moron over copious amounts of liquor), or that he is not tall enough for a three year old are things that bother other people! How tall should a three year old be? God!

This concern roots from desperation of people to establish that they have the perfect kid. The secret pleasure they get from this is directly proportional to the level of hypocrisy . It is likely that their perfect kid has inherited it too, who knows ! Kids know people, their intentions and how genuine they are. And I know that my son will grow up to never be best friends with the ‘perfect’ kids and their supremely divine parents. I will not stop him, as I know from my experience that it is not possible to be friends with the person you are compared with. The moment you compare, you are humiliating the child that will crush his self-respect in ways we cannot think of.

My basic question is this. Who else, besides parents, should be concerned about the child? Who? What does it take to leave the children alone?

On mornings when I drop my son at his nursery I watch all the parents. Some of them hug their kids and say ‘Take care..! See you soon’! And blow kisses. Others just say ‘Bye’ and go back to their vehicles in a hurry. Some others just leave them near the teacher and leave. Do you think the one that blew kisses loves her kid more than the one who left without waving bye?

Do you think so?  Who are you to judge?



14 comments:

  1. Aaaah....I sooo....know Anita. Totally agree with you. I too have gone through the "Bhoogolathinte spandanam Mathematics aanu.” times....Grrrr...And incidentally...'Sphadikam' remains an all time favourite movie of mine....probably because of the 'anti-judgmental' message it conveys....Long Live Aadu Thoma!

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    1. Sphadikam is a favorite of lots of people due to reasons that are specific to their lives. My husband here is a die hard Aadu Thoma fan ! :D (Not a Mohanlal fan , but just Aadu Thoma ... :D you know what I mean )

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  2. Sometimes.... sometimes, when we compare kids we might be able to stop a big problem from developing further. You know, if a child is not able to walk at a certain age whereas his counterparts are running it could be a blessing if someone pointed it out to the parents.
    In all other cases, comparison is awful. Like you said, it can harm a child's self respect. Also, in the above case the child should never know that he is being compared. That can also lead to several insecurities.

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    1. Parents mostly know anything that is delayed - like walking, talking and a lot of other things. There are some things which only a teacher can point out - like if there is something seriously wrong. But otherwise most slow kids do just fine..My son walked when he was one. My neighbor's daughter walked when she was just 8 months old. That does not mean that kid is going to win the Olympics. Thats what I meant :D I agree when comparison is not made to mean well, it sucks.

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  3. Comparing kids is an awful thing to do. It damages the children in every possible way. I know of a mother who always compared her two sons. Not in terms of education mind you. In terms of color. Her elder son was fair and the younger one was not. So her younger son grew up thinking his father was big black bear and hence is living a life of insecurity even now. Its been 25 years yet he believe he is inferior to his elder brother, because he is fair. And the mother doesn't spare a chance to remind him of it. Its really sad.

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    1. OMG thats so awful... !!! There are so many women who are good at heart but unable to have children. And there are such mothers blessed with healthy kids and such rotten mindset! This is NOT FAIR !

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  4. Well....I was compared but not in a bad way. I was told that I had the ability to do better and that I should do just that.
    I do not believe in making a tortoise climb a tree and every child should be appreciated according to his/her personal talents.
    and my daddy never blew me kisses....but I know he loved me the most. :D

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    1. Correct ! My Mom was quite OTT about the hugs and kisses and she loves me too ...People show it in different ways...some dont show at all !

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  5. Mostly it is a non-achieving mom who goes about a loudspeaker for her kid's achievements.

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  6. Comparison among kids will only help in developing an inferiority complex in their minds, nothing else. Very well detailed post.

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    1. Thanks Amrit !
      I just hope people stop in nonsense and starts minding their own business !

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