If you are a parent .. by Azim Premji

    I just read this spledid piece of writing in STOI. This is written by Azim Premji, the Chairman of Wipro Ltd…

   If you are a parent, you have many aspirations for your child that may include him or her becoming a doctor, an enginner, scientist or another kind of successful professional. I believe these aspirations are driven by your thinking about your child’s future, and her centrality in your life.

   Since good education is often the passport to a good future, I presume it leads you to getting your child to study hard and do well in school exams. To bolster this, you send him or her for tuition classes. This would have primed your child for board exams and entrance exams, thereby leading to admission into a good professional course. Doing well at college increase the probability of landing a good job. And a good job means the child’s future is ensured.

   I am neither a psychologist nor and educationist, and what I will now state may seem counter- intuitive. I think that these aspirations and actions might be doing more harm than good to your child. To understand why, we need to re-examine some of our fundamental assumptions.

   In the first place, I have seen time and again that living for some distant future goal also means you do not live in the present. The distant goal will always translate into an external measure of success, such as exams. And most exam-focused children start forgetting what it means to be a child — to be curious, mischieveous, exploring, falling, getting up, relating, discovering, inventing, doing, playing ….

   Childhood is very precious, precious enough not be wasted by the artificial pressures of contrived competition, by too many hours of bookish study, and by school report cards that simplistically wrap up an entire human being in numbers ..

   The second assumption is that education is merely a ticket to socio-economic success. Given the state of our country, this reality cannot be ignored. But restricting education to only this aspect is, I think, a very limiting notion of the aim of good education. The primary purpose of a school is to guide the child in her discovery of herself and her world, and to identify and nurture the child’s talents. Just as every seed contains the future tree, each child is born with infinite potential. Imagine a school which sees children as seeds to be nurtured — here the teacher is a gardener who helps to bring out the potential already present in the child.

   This is very different from the current view which sees the child as clay to be moulded — where the teacher and parents are potters deciding what shape the clay should take. There is an old (and forgotten) Chinese saying: “Give a seed to a potter, and you will get a bonsai”.

   Even in a commercial organisation driven by the values of innovation, integrity, customer centricity and care. And as you practise these values everyday and moment, you will see that the profits take care of themselves.

   Similarly, dear parent, this is my request to you. Do not give up your child’s present to secure his or her future. Give your child the freedom to truly explore life with abandon. In doing this, you will see your child flower into a creative and sensitive human being. And when this happens, everything else — money, social success, security — will fall into place automatically ..

   Let your child be a child ..

   I must say I am seeing this happening everywhere .. I myself have experienced it .. .. But I have decided for my children … ( Giggles :shy: ) ..

5 Replies to “If you are a parent .. by Azim Premji”

  1. Truly a very good article by azem premji, I believed in the same thing that you just cant sum up a child’s potential in mere numbers seen in the report card. Infact i liked it very much that such a big man still knows about the small things in life which normal people never realize and always let their children to be in the rat race for more marks and they never get time to explore their own potential and talent

  2. Hmmm. I have been saying this to some people since quite some time, but no one bothered to take me seriously. May be because I am not Azim Premji :)) Its really nice to read about what people like Premji and Murthi think on such apparently insignificant, but deep rooted topics.

    Why do we give so much importance to academic success? In the present scenario, all that it certifies is the memory prowess of a person. Nothing more!! How many actualy understand and how many just remember?

    We forget one basic thing. Even our IQ tests are skewed. Someone with good logic and math skills will score more in IQ tests. I was one of the high scorers. But no one has a low IQ. Its only that they have a higher IQ in a different field.

    I want my children to be good human beings. I don’t care if they are good students. I would simply hate it if my daughters are top scorers in their class, but are rude to others.

    Shahab, I have lots more to say on the topic. But this is not my blog, its yours. LOL.

    Thank you for sharing this.

  3. LOL tuxfan, that was one of the funniest remarks in a comment ..dun mind 🙂 . I still cant get over this ‘I have lots more to say on the topic. But this is not my blog, its yours. LOL.’.

  4. Divyansh Sharma: so man, in this article
    Divyansh Sharma: by mister azim premji
    it_waaznt_me: Hm
    Divyansh Sharma: he is basically talking about, setting child free,
    Divyansh Sharma: and not under pressure
    Divyansh Sharma: of studies n future n all
    Divyansh Sharma: right
    it_waaznt_me: yupp
    Divyansh Sharma: i must know, my mom evry since i was in 6th standard
    Divyansh Sharma: saying
    Divyansh Sharma: beta padai kar lay boards aanay walay hai
    Divyansh Sharma:

    it_waaznt_me: yehi to
    Divyansh Sharma:
    it_waaznt_me: see I too wrote it
    Divyansh Sharma: now, i tell that to every little kid i see
    Divyansh Sharma: beta padai kar lay, boards aanay walay hai
    it_waaznt_me: hehehe
    it_waaznt_me: apne bachchon ko mat bolna
    Divyansh Sharma: but to, tell u the truth
    Divyansh Sharma: back in that time, the interest of kids in studying was very low
    Divyansh Sharma: if u do have a “educated” surrounding
    Divyansh Sharma: like, well educted family and friends,
    Divyansh Sharma: only then this technique will work
    Divyansh Sharma: in a poor man’s home , this will fail misreably

  5. That’s a really nice article, Shahab!
    Its really touching to know that even the oldies care for the goldies… 😀

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