An Open Letter to Indian Parents

An Open Letter to Indian Parents

Dear Parents,

Board exams are going on. And you must have been worried about your kids more than them and their teachers. I can understand. Your worry for your child’s exams is justified. But as a former school student, I would like to share something with you.

I was an above average student (study wise) during my school time. When I was in 10th grade, environment around me made me nervous. My parents, neighbours, relatives and teachers made me fearful. Constant reminder from all of them used to frighten me. Studies and exams started scaring me. I couldn’t concentrate on studies, I couldn’t prepare for exams. And I was under constant pressure to get more marks. I was told that the hard work of just few years will help me settle my career. So I continued study more. I scored good marks in both 10th and 12th grades, but they were not good enough. There were always people scoring more marks than me. I was always reminded by my teachers and the society that I was not good enough.

Then I got admission in Engineering in a different city. Trust me, that was the best thing that happened to me. It has been six years since I passed 12th grade, and not once, I have been asked my school grades. The hard work I was forced to do in board exams now seems useless. As I was studying away from my parents and the society, that load of studies came off in engineering. There was no one to pressurize me there. I was a free bird. And thanks to that, you are reading this blog. If I would have continued studying like a robot in engineering too, I could not have founded BuddyBits. I founded my first company in 12th grade and the second one in the first year of engineering. I continued to grow both of my companies throughout engineering. I chose not to focus on books. Rather, I chose to focus on learning. And that helped me. In the forth year of engineering, when my classmates were looking for jobs, I was planning to hire my team. I didn’t had to look for job, instead I was offering internships and jobs. All of this became possible, because I was not under pressure of studying. I didn’t score good SPIs in college, but I was pretty good in extra curriculum activities. In the last year of engineering, principal of my college invited me as a speaker to share my entrepreneurial journey with juniors. All of these could not have been possible, if I were made to study like I was in my school time.

Even you know, that piece of paper (degree) is never going to matter. Renowned personalities of the world are college drop-outs, undergraduates and failures. In stead of focusing on grades, ask your kids to find their passion in life.

I still regret that I was not given a choice. I was forced into engineering. I was not told about the thousands of opportunities and career options I had. I used to be very good at designing/ drawing. I could have made a better architect than an engineer. When I discuss this with my parents now, they too empathize with me. And whenever they see board students, they advice them to follow their passion.

Just like my parents, you too, need to change your perception about studies. It’s high time that we leave behind this competitive studies and focus on personal growth of students. It’s high time that we start focussing on skills more than grades.

I have two suggestions for you.

1. Let your child decide which career he wants to opt-in for.

The path they will choose after board exams is going to change their life forever. Don’t force them to choose something just because parents in neighbourhood have selected that for their kids. Ask your kids what they want to do. Aware them about the tons of options they have. And let them choose a career for themselves. You can always guide them. But never force something on them just because it’s trending.

I would like to give you a quick example. When I passed exams of 12th grade, I was asked to choose either EC (electronics and communication) or mechanical as both of them were trending at that time. IT (information technology) was the last option at that time. Those who didn’t get admission in any field used to get stuck with IT. Fortunately, I selected IT when it was not mainstream, and now as you can see, this is the time of information technology. A lot of my school friends, who opted for EC and mechanical don’t have jobs and IT is booming right now.

So, never go with the trend. See what your kid is good at, ask about their choice, meet career counsellor and help them choose the right path.

2. Never compare your kids with anyone!

Comparison has never helped anyone. Imagine, how would you feel if your child comes to you and tells you that you are not as good as their friend’s parents? Has your child ever told you that? They will never tell you so. Then why do you compare them with someone else’s kids?

Everyone in this world is born with a unique talent and ability. Let your kids explore their talent instead of just forcing them to do what they don’t like doing.

“Everybody is a genius. But if you judge a fish by its ability to climb a tree, it will live its whole life believing that it is stupid.” – Albert Einstein 

Your kids are the future of our country. Imagine if all parents start focussing on skills rather than grades, how skilful our country will become?

Yours lovingly,

A lifelong student