It Is Time To Change The Focus From Marks To Talents!

This is a sponsored post for Kellogg's Chocos #Khuljaye Bachpan Campaign and was first published on 

It’s a beautiful Saturday morning and the much awaited weekend is finally here! As I open my eyes to this blissful realization, I turn to look at the time on my phone and end up looking at the date. In an instant I am awake and my anxiety levels are soaring! There goes my weekend; and the week after that; and the weekend after that too! I almost cry.

It’s the weekend before my little one’s exams are to begin! And while he continues to sleep, oblivious to what I am going through, I panic, thinking how I am going to cram the entire portion – four chapters each of six subjects – in just two days!

Yes, only six subjects; and only with four chapters each. My little one is only in Grade II. But if you are a parent who has a child in the same age-group or older; I am sure you can probably understand this better. You see, it is much easier to manage the studies for older children, as they at least are a little bit more serious about studies (or can be made to feel serious by telling them about the dire consequences of not studying); but it is the slippery little ones that make exam preparation a dreaded work for their mums! (Then again, I have only the one little boy, and I am presuming here that all other children are better at studies compared to him. (Grass…greener…you know...))

And so; what was a wonderful Saturday morning has now been converted into the day of strategizing and prioritising. I quickly bring up the exam timetable that the school has very thoughtfully emailed to me; and check what subjects’ exams my little one will be appearing for this week. (Thankfully, the Tenth graders are facing the gallows this week, so my little one has been given a lot of holidays between his exams. Yes! (I mean, not so great about the Tenth graders, but Yes! for me; as I get a little bonus time for the dreaded and hated “exam preparation!”)

It is still early and the household is still asleep. But I am in full combat mode! Before my first cup of coffee, I have put together a study time-table for my little one, covering all his subjects and also ample time for snacks, TV time and any other unforeseen breaks that are definitely going to make their appearance as the day progresses.

By the time I finish my coffee, I am fairly confident that I have done well on the time-table and I then I shift my attention to mock worksheets! (Yes, I prepare mock worksheets for my little one at such tender age; because that is the only way my little one, who hates writing of any kind, ever writes anything. More like, “Let’s pretend I am Tanya Ma’am and you are, well, you; and how about we have a pretend worksheet? Yayy!”) And that’s why, I get all his books to the breakfast table; so that I can start preparing the mock-worksheets for him.

As I sit there, with my second cup of coffee, searching for trick questions hidden in the depths of his lessons; my little one wakes up and comes over for a hug. He takes one look at the books scattered in front of me and demands to know what I am doing with his books.

“You have exams from Monday, remember?” I ask him.

To which he replies with a shrug and “yeah, I know; but why are you studying?”

I curb the urge to scream, and face him squarely.
“What do you mean you know? Are you prepared? There are four chapters in each subject, you know that right? How about Maths? You can do long division? What do they even mean by “division by re-grouping” in your text book here? And Hindi? Oh my God, did you know you have the names of months and days of the week and…”

“Of course I know Mum," he cuts me off. "I am the one going to school every day, remember?”
He tries to sass me; but then sees my anxious face and comes closer.
“Don’t worry Mum, ma’am has taken our revision in class; and I have been reading off and on. I think I'll manage, you chill!”
And with that, he is off to his room. The next moment I hear him tinkering with his toys and calling out for his morning milk!

As I get into the kitchen to warm the milk, I think back to my childhood when exams were a big deal. Marks were the only criteria to gauge the intelligence of children and we used to compete with our friends for mere one or two marks! When scoring good grades was a guarantee to a better future and an enviable lifestyle. “We are not moneyed people,” our parents would say; “the only thing you have going for you is your intelligence and good grades. Study well. Toil for the next ten years, so that you can have a good life...” and on and on it went - untill we all started to believe that marks were the only standard to measure our worth.

But today I look at my little one - chilled out, learning music, taking Karate classes and teaching me about Transformers and Lamborghinis and Bugattis; and I think, isn’t this what childhood should be like? I look at him enjoying his childhood and I feel why burden a seven year-old with the requirement of getting an A+ or a first rank? Why make a seven year-old feel inadequate just because a friend of his got full marks and he didn’t? Does this said friend draw as well as my child? Does this said friend play a musical instrument or a sport or do anything at all as well as my child? This said friend may be excellent at what he does but he is not my child! He may be good at scoring marks but my child is good at being my child! So why am I wishing him to be like someone else?

I am so glad this happened today morning, because I think as parents, the time has come, for us to change the focus from marks to talents. When we hear some child committing suicide because he scored less marks, we are all in an uproar saying “oh but his parents loved him so much; why did he do this?” But none of us stops to think are we really showing our children the love we feel for them the right way?

I say, let’s make this change. Let’s show our little ones we love them; not their marks. Let’s gift their childhood back to them ta ke Khuljaye Bachpan unka!

What do you think? Is it time to make this change?


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