Facing a Failure


No one in the state would have missed the announcement of 10th class results due to the number of ads on TV and newspapers. I got to know through our Whatsapp group that one of my cousins’ daughter has scored 9.8 out of 10 in the exams, which by any standard is a very good result. All our cousins have congratulated her for the achievement. One cousin has posted a generic message congratulating all the students who have achieved 10 out of 10 in the exams. Immediately after that, he posted another message saying that it is just a general message and not intended to minuscule the achievement of the girl who scored 9.8, thinking that my other cousin might understand that his daughter’s achievement is being compared to others who scored a 10. But my cousin is matured enough to understand the right intention of the message and felt nothing bad.

This incident made me think about many students who have scored 9 out of 10 or 8 out of 10, should they and their parents feel sad by making comparisons with 10 or 9.8 scorers? That should never be the case, as the basic fact that everyone has to understand is, every child is different. A kid might not have scored 9 or 10 in the exams but he/she might excel in other fields such as sports or business or some creative field.                    

I don’t think AR Rahman has scored a 10 in this SSC, Sachin Tendulkar has failed in 10th class exams and Albert Einstein was a very poor student at school. Every person in this world is different, one cannot be compared to others in terms of the achievement. If you compare every cricket player to Sachin Tendulkar or Rahul Dravid or Sunil Gavaskar, no player can be called a great player. But we have many players such as Gundappa Vishwanath, Virendar Sehwag, Sourav Ganguly and VVS Laxman who are great in their own dimension. The only competition that the student should have is with themselves. How much they have excelled compared to their previous attempt is the only factor that counts in.

Image Source: https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/

Just a couple of weeks ago, suicides of the intermediate students have created tremors in the state. I am not going to get into the political reasoning which might or might not have led to the suicides, but from a generic perspective I am wondering

  • What happens if someone fails in an exam?
  • Is facing a failure worth opting for suicides?
  • Why couldn’t those students give just once chance to life, which has showered so many successes on them?
  • Is there something that their parents can do about it?

My childhood is much different from that of current day students. Failure was definitely not encouraged by any of the parents, but they would always be with the child when they fail. The strictness of the parents was more dependent on how well the child does in their studies and very less on the egos, influenced by comparisons. We never had parents who label the child as useless by comparing him to others. We never had colleges which bilk parents in the name of high standard studies and put pressure on the students and parents for marks and ranks. We never had parents who cannot take it when their children didn’t do as well as they have anticipated. We never had parents who decide what his/her children are going to be in life as soon as they come out of mother’s womb.

We are fortunate enough to understand what adjustments are, we are fortunate enough to understand what our strengths and weaknesses are and most importantly we are lucky and fortunate enough to face failure. I never had any issue with money, but I am very much aware of how much I could spend. My mother, friends and my relatives have helped me understand how to stay within certain boundaries. During my childhood, going to a restaurant was a once in 6 or 12 months’ affair. Eating ice cream is limited mostly to summers. We don’t have the luxury of throwing tantrums and get whatever we want.

Children these days have AC schools and have the luxury to go to restaurants very often. Parents have no issue in buying costly mobile phones and laptops for their children and in fact buying seats in so called prestigious colleges. Children literally don’t need to work hard for anything, every luxury is made available at their fingertips. Parents urge and sometimes necessity to earn money is pushing both mother and father to work, which is ultimately leaving inadequate time to focus on their kids. Lack of moral support and lack of courage to face failure is taking the toll on the lives of the children. A day comes when the child had to face failure, at the time the only option visible to the child is suicide.

Let me tell you a story of my friend, who can be called a good student in terms of marks as he used to score around 80-85% consistently during his school days. Yes, 80% at the time was a good score as the highest used to be some where between 85-90%, that too only very few students used to achieve that. He has passed out of engineering with a score of 65%, but his analytical skills have helped him secure a job in one of the best companies in the country.  All his friends and relatives know about his job in this prestigious company. But one fine day, he had to lose the job during the training as the employees need to have at least 68% in their engineering. It was tough for him to face his friends and relatives, who were proud of him just a month before that. Again his analytical skills have helped him get selected for the final round in another prestigious organization, but this organization needs employees to have 60% in all the semesters. My friend has 59.5% in one of the semesters, so the company has abstained him from facing the interview panel just on the basis of 0.5%. He finally got into a small organization where his pay was Rs.6,500 per month (his pay at the prestigious company was Rs.18,000 per month). But that never made him feel insulted or depressed. Instead, those have turned out to be wonderful lessons for him. He now has a package which more than most of his college friends.

Such situations has to give confidence to the children to face the reality called unexpected tomorrow. Let us prepare the kids for scenarios which can make them a better person.


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