In Focus 1st July, 2016

Careers: a Child’s Choice or an Imposition?.

Last week, I had mentioned about our on-ground program Taaron Ki Toli and how we are using the IVRS Radio medium for the program, to strengthen our messaging. This week, I would like to share my experiences about my field visit to one of the schools in Haryana, to get sound bites from children for the IVRS program.

We were working on an episode which would be played before the episode on career counseling. So in this episode, we were trying to understand what different kids want to be when they grow up. My colleague and I went to a school in Panipat and spoke first to a group of girls, and then a group of boys.

I was surprised to see that the girls were much more outspoken than the boys and seemed more focused. The boys were shy and very reserved about sharing their plans. Though on probing, they did reveal their aspirations. Most of the kids wanted to be either a teacher, a police officer, an engineer or a doctor. One girl, to my surprise, wanted to be like me and work for an NGO (which was very cute and flattering!) and another girl wanted to be a scientist.

While all these seem like decent, conventional career choices, what made me a bit sad was the fact that both the girls and boys seemed to be parroting their parent’s vision for them. They all wanted to be what they wanted to be, to fulfill their parents’ dream, not their own. There was not a single girl or boy who said that they wanted to be something because they loved it or because they were good at it.

These kids were from rural Haryana, but this experience left me thinking if we actually give any child a choice to just be what they want to be. It made me wonder if any kids are allowed to think freely and develop their own thoughts, and if we all are just a series of echoed thoughts, without any original ideas or beliefs.

I don’t have kids as yet, but when I think of having kids of my own, I feel I subconsciously already have plans for them. I would want my kids to definitely do music or some form of art. I’d prefer music, actually. I’d want them to play lots of instruments and sing and compose and write. But coming back to my experience in this school in Panipat, I am sitting and wondering: what if my kids don’t want to do music or any form of arts? What if they hate the sight of musical instruments? Will I be evolved enough to support them in doing what they want to do, even if I don’t get it at all? Are YOU evolved enough to let your child be without questioning him/her? That’s the question we asked in the second episode of ‘Taaron Ki Toli’ on IVRS radio. What is YOUR answer?

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