It was June, it had not begun to rain yet but the time to line up for college forms had started in Mumbai. Neha, was overjoyed at her standard 10th results. So were her parents. The 16 year old had scored a distinction – 85%. Everyone was sure that Neha would get admission in her favourite college. She had wanted to go to that college forever, everyone from the previous generation had gone there, and she would too. To Neha that was the definition of carrying on the family tradition.
Neha’s parents were sure she would carry on the family legacy, in those days getting admission into the science stream with her marks was difficult but not impossible. They had given her a lot of standard career choice books, and they were sure she had studied them. Neha’s parents were sure Neha had all her answers at the age of 16. They had also made it amply clear that she could chose to be what she wanted – except their knowledge and her choice were limited to being either an engineer or a doctor.
“Children, who work hard every day and get such high marks, must not waste their talent elsewhere” was the normal thought process those days. Everything else was meant for non intelligent children who only want to do time pass and not work hard.
Neha had devoured all career development books she had been given. They were either too unclear to her or they had hardly any information about the realities of what she would be dealing with. None of them spoke about designing and penmanship. Neha loved to design; she could create the most complicated graphics, calligraphy and design within minutes, by hand, there were no computers then. Neha did try meekly to ask to take an Arts form instead of science, but she was questioned. She did not have answers and that was the end of her voicing her opinion.
Years later after studying to become an Immunologist Neha realised she did not fit that profession, still unclear she took a break. Tried and tested several professions and finally started her own website and graphic designing company and is finally doing very well in her chosen career.
We all have seen this story play out in some form or the other. It has happened to me and a lot of you reading and many of the people we know. Our parents were not aware, and we were not ready to answer questions and make decisions we had to take. Our generation and the previous one always took the term #DoYourHomework very literally. We always followed the norms and did just as much as was asked, for the most part. Very few dared to dream, and the few who did had to face disappointment, disapproval and plain ignorance.
Today though kids are much more aware and have better means to gain knowledge and feedback from different people. Children’s Aspirations have changed from the normal to the offbeat. They have more interesting choices and if they don’t like what they have, they have the freedom to carve out a new path for themselves. Kids are more aware and particular now than they ever were. Gone are the days when parent’s plan for their child’s future included a good education and a safe job. That makes it more important for the parents to be more open and aware. Now you sure are wonder what got me thinking about all this? This is the video that started it all.
This campaign comes from the same people who have consistently worked towards educating investors about merits of sharing less with the taxman, through their previous ELSS Initiative. Axis Mutual Fund has done a lot of such investor education campaigns and have previously highlighted the importance of planning for various life goals, and achieving them. They also believe that children’s education and planning for their future is an important aspect for the parents. So was born this unique campaign.
Today their micro site allows parents and children to connect and be on the same page when it comes to ambitions and goals. They even did on ground activities at KidZania and Crossword to raise awareness towards the Do Your Homework campaign, and their app helps parents plan for the future after they are aware of their child’s plans.
We have so many more options as parent’s these days. We just have to be better informed and more aware. And most importantly we have to be on the same page as our children. That will help us plan better and be better prepared, for our kids futures. As I am watching S make up another lift story, I wonder what his obsession with elevators is going to lead to! I will need to sit down and do this experiment with him soon, rather than jumping to my own conclusions.
Images were provided
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