Author: Ann Thomas
I have two ladies who keep my home and life sane. Their work as caretakers to my child and home, helps them manage the economics of their homes.
But let’s make no mistake.
They run my life. The cogs of my life stay functional, because these women, wake up at the wee hours of the day, sort their homes and then mine.
T wanted her boys to get the opportunity she never did. She wanted an english medium school for them, but her husband could not understand why they needed a more expensive private education. She battled her way and funds the boys education on her own.
S is a single parent to her two children. She quit her job at a factory at the insistence of her insecure drunk husband. She got out of that abusive marriage and now works as a nanny to my children.
Interestingly, these are very crucial days for them. Both their children are writing board exams. And according to them these are make or break times for their kids lives. The pressure is immense, on the kids and on them. The grades their kids get will determine the direction of their lives and will also validate these women and their life decisions. How they fare, will determine how these women will be treated in their community for years to come.
That’s what board exams have become in our society today.
1. Realistically, the 10th result will enable them only to decide which stream they’d like to choose in grade 11.
If they score really well, the choice will be theirs. And of course ‘Science’ is what we must all aim for – whether or not the kids want to pursue anything in medicine, agriculture, engineering etc is irrelevant!
2. The child’s performance will determine if these two extremely strong willed women, who have mostly raised their kids single handedly, did a good job or not. Or made the right decision standing up for what they thought was best for their children and themselves.
3. Imagine the pressure on these kids having to validate their mother’s life and decisions.
Is it surprising, that one student commits suicide every hour.
Is it surprising that every third woman in India faces domestic violence and yet fears leaving these relationships.
I really wish we could change our outlook towards board exams. I wish we could go back in time and fix this mistake we made. But if we can’t travel back, can we start a change for the future. Can we change the way we look at ‘boards’ and probably any exam? Can we change our attitude towards struggle and success.
We must after all allow a T and a S to walk out of messy marriages without judgement. We must allow their children to grow up without having to validate their mother’s decisions? We must realise how much bigger their win is, as they process the loss of a parent, and still continue to move on.
In the past few days I have researched over 250 courses which requires nothing more than a 50% in the 12th grade. Yet we continue to stretch and strangle our kids, haggle away about every minute of their lives, and destroy their childhood with the pressure to perform in the X and XII grades.
Boards will come and go. Our kids will do well or not.
What matters is we don’t give up on them. And we raise them with the belief that even when life knocks them down, they can get back up.
Just like the two women in my home teach me each day.