A Competition Called Life



“Seize every minute of this day”

“Don’t watch the clock; do what it does. Keep going”

There is no dearth for motivation on social media. Reminder in 50s and 100s every morning is a good thing so that we put on our running shoes and throw ourselves into the breathless crowd that is racing against time to achieve set goals and targets.

On a weekend morning, we decided to seize the day treating ourselves to an early lunch followed by a visit to the shopping mall.

After clicking pictures with a robot that walked, talked, sang songs and did all that was expected of it, we took a cue from Sid and made our way to a bookstore to get our dose of food for the brain (while we seize the rest of the day).

Little Princess settles in the seating area with an improvised Peppa Pig storybook that appeared to be bigger than her and did a snort with every page turn.

Sid already had his nose in a fact finder.

It was then that we bumped into a friend who was leaving the store balancing a bag full of books. After the pleasantries, I enquired about his wife and son.

“They are at home preparing for his Olympiads” he said, “I am here to pick up some additional reference material for the KenDoku competition that is soon to follow.”

“Some books on logical thinking and the public speaking course that he takes,” he explained, “we let him play chess during his free time so a book to perfect the game too,” he finished.

I was reminded of the robot that we clicked pictures with as it had gone about perfecting all that was expected of it as the proud father gave us an account of the rigorous effort that went into preparing their son to keep pace with the pell-mell rush to stand out in the rising competition.

I looked at the husband hopelessly.

Sid spent his evening reading books, playing with friends, attempting hard to get a tennis ball across a net with a racquet – none of which qualified as academically enlightening.

Even his weekly swimming classes were not geared on getting him to swim the English Channel but to be able to save his life or another if a situation may arise.

Disappointed at being unable to exercise our bragging rights in this area of parenting, we bid him adieu after managing to lend our ear with a smiles and nods.

On our way back, I find myself questioning my ‘unambitious’ parenting ways.

Little Princess has learnt to snort.

Sid rants on about his new find – ‘Monday with the Mad Genius’ – a fact finder about Leonardo da Vinci. The ‘Salvator Mundi’ that was sold for $450.3 million has piqued his interest.

Questions and doubts that build up into a full-fledged quiz about his newly acquired knowledge ensues, leaving me fumbling and scrabbling at Google’s doorstep.

My son may be far from the mad rush of competition where children are dragged from pillar to post perfecting every task among the endless ones on offer, but I am glad that I find myself in this blissful scrabbling mess as Sid embraces childhood at his own pace – one fact finder at a time.




57 responses »

  1. You sure are an inspiration to me now because this made me realise you are original, composed and you know doing things the way you feel is right, not falling in line to follow the flock of sheep trend. Parents these days are obsessed with stuffing excessive academic to extracurricular routine in their kid’s life and indeed it feels like talking to a robot when you try to start a conversation with the kid. And all they do after that is brag about their overtly achiever kids.
    Hahahahaaha I was laughing with adoration when you talked about your little princess snorting her way through a kid book and Sid is doing good enough, and like you said, balancing is essential even here❤❤

    Liked by 2 people

    • So glad you agree, TW. I must confess that there are times I feel guilty and wonder if it is the right thing that I am doing, letting my children enjoy what they do and not pressure them into going hop, skip, jump from one activity to another until they drag their exhausted little brains and bodies to bed. In this world where life itself has become a competition – a never ending race that pushes us to run with the crowd and the FOMO is a rampant disease with no cure in sight.
      Yes, Little Princess snorts all through the day and Sid is happy in his little world.
      It is such a pleasure to see you here every Sunday (or Monday) and it gives me more motivation to keep writing. Thank you my dear friend for stopping by, reading and leaving your much-looked-forward-to feedback.


  2. We are living in tiny cocoons Pranitha. Our children are like aliens who’ve ventured into the adult space. They are as nice as ever, but they do not have the sense of the landscape they live in. The warm hugs, the tiny kisses, a ride on the Ferris wheel, a family camping trip, vanishing into a book with mum, playing chess against dad, are all now just cloying instances tucked away in fables. Teaching children to wait is so important. But a smartphone is given as soon as it demanded, then there is an instant ice cream, an laptop handed out immediately after it is asked for.

    Is parenting to be blamed for that? I would say “Partly”. The stay-home mums have denounced the soft cuddling style of parenting they were brought up on. Instead they are Amy Chua worshipers who put their kids through tough parenting. “They squeeze all kinds of classes into a day. Kids start going for swimming, but soon their parents push them to clock better timings. It’s about competing, winning, rarely ever about the joy of learning. 😦

    How do we tackle this mess? You see children absorb from the culture, from the space around them. The ambience matters, feelings should be spoken about generously, they matter more than thoughts. In our times, we had moral lectures. They no longer work in today’s world. So, we should make our children work in orphanages, in public health centres, and without realizing they imbibe the virtues of love, empathy and respect.

    And a strict disclaimer to all the parents/future parents from a self styled non parent. ^^

    Please acknowledge that children are ‘humans’ with their own desires, dreams and aspirations. When their autonomy is suppressed under your imposed career choices, an intense psychological pressure starts to set in their minds. A point comes when they are not able to handle the pressure and succumb to your expectations and unfulfilled dreams. This unfortunate journey starts when you push them to opt for career streams and subjects that they do not enjoy or have the aptitude to pursue. It leads to lack of motivation, focus and interest which ultimately leads to poor academic performance.

    Lastly, the last two lines sum up how good you nurture your kids Pranitha. So proud of you 🙂

    Liked by 3 people

    • Thank you so very much, Neal. As you must have noticed that with(out) your permission I have included your disclaimer in the post as I think that this reminder is as important as the quinoa and the other super foods that parents have taken up to feeding their children so that their growing bodies and little shoulders can withstand their parent’s pressures, dreams and aspirations that have been heaped upon them.
      I am in absolute agreement with the fact that children need to witness the life outside of their little comfortable homes and take a look at the lesser privileged in our society. At least it will make them good human beings and keep them grounded and humble in whatever they aspire to be in life.
      Your feedback (that too coming from a non parent) once again reminds me that you, your thoughts and your approach to life is just way beyond your years, Neal.
      So so glad to read that.
      And thank you for the compliment. Just hoping that my efforts will fulfill its purpose. 🙂

      Liked by 2 people

  3. This is a beautiful article Pranitha! What a carefree life we lead where marks occupied far less importance than other things in life. And I remember and apply the little lessons my parents taught(still teach:) us rather than that theorem in a math class.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Thank you so very much, Divya. So glad you agree.
      I must confess that I have forgotten every theorem and only hope to go back to learning them when one of my children would put me in a dilemma with a question or a doubt. Until then, I am glad to reminisce the fun and simple joys of childhood while I give them what is rightfully theirs.
      So nice to catch you here, Divya. 🙂 Good day to you.

      Liked by 2 people

  4. I wish your article will be a gentle eye opener to all the parents who burden the tiny shoulders all through their childhood, which I feel is grossly criminal. I strongly believe children learn a lot more from travel, experiences and situations. A school report card need not be an accurate measure of a child’s intelligence. Give him an environment in which he can blossom to his full potential.

    Liked by 2 people

  5. Happy to get to know another “unambitious parent”:). The ambitious ones sadly would look upon us as losers but I’m happy to be that as long as the children are happy and grow up to be resilient. Again, as very meaningful post Pranitha.

    Liked by 2 people

  6. I wholeheartedly agree. Let kids enjoy being kids. I never understood people who make their children do 100 different activities all at once, while memorizing the dictionary in their free time, Childhood is so short, and they have their whole lives to learn and grow into respectable,knowledgeable human beings. No need to cram all the learning and experiences down their throats so early on.

    Liked by 2 people

  7. Nowdays it’s more a competition among parents where the kids pay a heavy price for misplaced ego boost. Unfortunately, this ego prevent children from flowering fully and crush their independent minds. I don’t that you doing a good job and way to go.

    Liked by 2 people

  8. Excellent article!…so agree with you. “Let kids be kids”.. now days parents are more competitive and pile up all their expectations, dreams & desires on poor kids. They even don’t think of kids strength & weakness. This really makes me sad too.😑

    Liked by 2 people

    • Thank you for your feedback, Hemangini. Yes, my son is marching at his own pace and all I want is for him to enjoy the path to reaching his destination. If he enjoys it, I know that he will taste success at the very end of it. Very sweet of you to stop by and leave your feeback.

      Liked by 1 person

      • I believe kids should be given wings to fly away and roots to come back to. It’s an old quote I read somewhere, don’t remember the author, but I believe in it. Have a wonderful day dear. See you again.

        Liked by 1 person

      • Such a lovely thought, Hemangini. Rather than defining the path for them and forcing them into it, it is better we respect what they want and help them in that direction. Sure, will look forward to seeing you again.


  9. It’s indeed a rat race. But it’s much, much better to leave them to figure things out at their own pace. Let them follow their interests, because otherwise, at one point in time, they might find themselves questioning their career choices. They deserve a proper childhood, free of lofty expectations and goals set for them by others. Good one, Nitha!

    Liked by 1 person

    • I am glad you agree, Shweta. I just read this morning that a country has decided to give up on the ranking system so as to ease the pressure off little minds. I think they learn better and understand better with practical solutions and interesting finds. Thank you, Shweta.

      Liked by 1 person

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