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Puneet Rathi

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Chapter 1 :

They deserve to Live

THEY DESERvE TO LIvE! When will this stop? Everyday media carry shocking stories of so many young kids taking the extreme step of ending their lives. Then the blame game starts. Parents blame school; school blame parents or education system and we, the society will say “something should be done!!” Then Government sets up a panel to find out ways to reduce burden or pressure on kids and life goes on.... As per a report almost 2,500 kids end their life in a year in India due to pressures during exam and at the time of results. Instead of making our children good and responsible citizens, we might be turning them into directionless human beings with no confidence in their self or in society. By our actions and behaviour we hurt our kids so badly – not physically but mentally, that they start having low self-esteem or self worth. They take out their anger by either hurting others like in case of recent spate of incidents among young schoolchildren across India, or by hurting themselves. The biggest surprise is the cold attribute of parents towards such behaviours of their children by feigning ignorance like, “we don’t know why he/she acted like this!” Now, my question to them is, “why you are not involved in your kid's life?” DO such parents feel that catering to all their demands and taking them for a yearly foreign tour, are their only proof of a good parent? In return, do they want their kid to do well and succeed? Is getting good marks the only indicator of success? Recently, we did a survey in a leading Gurgaon school of around 200 kids of Class vIII. The children, I believe, gave us honest feedback. They shared with us that the pressure of studies and managing parents/teachers are their biggest challenge. Around 70% of them are scared of their parents or teachers. These kids start spending more time away from parents – with peers, with television, and on the Internet. They are spending lesser and lesser time with parents. Some of their feelings about themselves and their other family members were both revealing and shocking. We, many times unknowingly, pass on the pressure of our own ambitions and aspirations onto these young kids. “It’s a competitive world; so every child should run – whether he or she can or cannot”. Teachers are under performance pressure of giving a “good result” from ever demanding parents and school management. They end up pressurising the kids with loads of exams. Often the exam system tests children not on what he or she knows, but on what they don’t know!