Day 195

A couple of years ago I was asked, “Didn’t you encourage him to become a doctor?” by an Indian mother and wife of a doctor. It was my dream to be a doctor ever since I was little. I had the freedom to follow my dream. I wanted my son to pursue his. His abilities as a musician and a linguist were exceptional. It was delightful to watch the tremendous joy he derived from these endeavours. I couldn’t possibly push him in another direction if his heart wasn’t in it.

In medical school I had seen some students struggle through those long hard years of studying only because their parents wanted them to. Some took 10 years to graduate from a 5 year course. Some would lock themselves up in their room at exam time and not leave till the exam was over. It was clear to me how terribly unfair it was to be put in that position.

There is a mindset amongst some Indian families and no doubt families from other cultures that is severely detrimental to the well being of our kids. I was reminded of that in conversation with one of my Asian colleagues, who commented on his kids saying, “We don’t do ‘average’.”

Why not? What it ‘average’ anyway? Nothing more than a judgement. 

Social and emotional well-being involves a sense of optimism, confidence, happiness, clarity, vitality, self-worth, achievement and engagement; having a meaning and purpose, supportive & satisfying relationships with others, understanding oneself and responding effectively to one’s own emotions.

What is the relevance of “average” in this context?

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