Education opens our minds. Education gives us wings. Education boosts our path to success in our personal and professional life. So there is no way I can denounce the merits of education.
But what I am going to talk about in this post is a sociocultural vice that is plaguing our Indian society. We pursue education like fanatics. Of course, there is nothing wrong in that either. The extremely high emphasis Indian families place on education has resulted in seeing Indian faces in all top companies, research laboratories and organisations of the world.
However what I see dying on a daily basis in education fanatic Indian families are “future mothers.” Don’t see the link? Let me take you down that path.
Recall your childhood. Your parents always emphasised on getting good grades, doing reasonably well at school and made sure you got into a good college and secured a great degree. What is wrong in that, you ask? It is this degree and college that made you the doctor, engineer, lawyer, chartered accountant or whatever it is that you are doing.
I agree. It gave you all of that.
The problem is not getting the degree. The problem is what all you were not taught or told about because you were only taught to pursue a degree.
You were told to study for the pending exam and not help out with grocery shopping because all you should focus on is getting good grades. Nothing else mattered! You were excused from all chores and tasks that were not related to studying or exams.
While parents did it all in good intention what it resulted in is you missing out on learning basic life skills.
My 35-year-old doctor friend who frantically sends me WhatsApp images of dalia and suji to help her identify which is which is a result of the missing life skills course she should have got from her parents. She was taught that being a doctor is the ultimate aim. The fact that she should be able to feed herself and a baby was not considered important.
A depressed 29-year-old lawyer with additional degrees in chartered accountancy who cannot cope up with giving up her job because of her new mom status is a result of missing life skills course. She was taught that self-esteem comes from degrees and paychecks. Becoming a mother and the respectful job that mothering is was the talk she and her mother never had.
And we shall be doing the same with our kids if we don’t stop and think. Education is important. Degrees are important. But so are mothering, cooking, cleaning the dishes and changing dirty diapers. If we forget to teach our children these daily chores and teach them only to get degrees we are not doing our parenting job well. We are being a good coaching institute like FITJEE or a CA training centre. But are we being good parents? Isn’t it our job to impart life skills to our kids?
When we over emphasize on degrees or jobs, we are indirectly denouncing cleaning dishes or changing diapers. We are indirectly telling our children that these are not important tasks or these are tasks that are below their standards. That is why it becomes difficult for girls and boys to give up their job and just “sit at home” if there is a need to.
I am not advocating that mothers should give up working. But if the need of the hour is to be at home the first thought that comes to our mind is “What about all the degrees I have? They will go waste!” And a mother who has to think on those lines is in itself such a sad situation! Actually, it is not really her fault. She was taught that degrees and jobs are the ultimate aims. Her parents never talked about the importance of mothering with her in her entire life!
That is why I always advocate that we should raise our children in a way that they know the importance of being educated and at the same time know that washing dishes and changing dirty diapers will equally be part of their lives no matter what degree they have or what high profile job they might be doing. Our sons and daughters should know the importance of doing household chores and sharing the workload. Only then will we grow as a society.
This way, hopefully, in the future generations mothering and mothers will be given more respect and applause!
(To read more articles on positive and stress free parenting, visit my blog Nirvanama)