Sunday, November 27, 2011

Did it matter?

Two girls. Same class. Same marks for the 10th board exam- 65%.

Girl 1- Her mom gives her a congratulatory card that says- "You did it!"

Girl 2- Her mom gives her the cold shoulder for an entire week.

I was pretty confused when both of them, many years ago, described their experiences to me on separate occasions. I remember Girl 1, very happy, eyes twinkling. That 65% was not such a great set of marks did not seem to bother her. She had done her parents proud. She was content.

And Girl 2, I remember her narrating her experience with some amount of sadness and shame. She had let her mom down and she had to work hard for the next exam. She was sad. I felt sad for her.

How the same 65 % could get reactions that were poles apart, was beyond me and my teenage mind.

Maybe Girl 1's parents had figured out what her aptitude was in and they did not think that 10th grade marks decided what she would become in life? Maybe they were cool like that?

Maybe Girl 2's parents just wanted her to do really well so that she could have more options when she finally had to make a career choice?

Of course, then , at 16, I wanted to be either Girl 1 or like her mom when I grew up. Not unlucky Girl 2 or like her cruel mother.

But you know what? Today the ending is a happy one. Both of them have done well in their careers. They chose Literature. Went to some of the best colleges. Girl 1 now writes for a leading newspaper and Girl 2 has a job that had her rubbing shoulders (almost) with some Bollywood celebrities.

So in the end, did the parent's reactions really matter?


  1. Nice take. Parents reaction might not have future effect, but it is something that can encourage a low-scoring one and can also demotivate a high-scoring person. And I think it depends on the parent-child chemistry. :)

  2. Very true Harsha! Then I was so confused. But now I feel, even if Girl 2 felt bad, at that moment, based on her chemistry with her folks, she would eventually realise that they had good intentions... and she probably took it in a constructive way.

  3. I go with the neutral path of congratulating on the achievement yet to push her to strive for the best always...As my mom always says..Aim for the stars so that atleast you reach the sky..!

  4. Good post. I guess girl 2 was lucky, otherwise such restrictions might be harmful to the future. Parents' reaction matters when children are growing up, and at an age of 16-17, what we call adolescence, a child's situations need to be tackled carefully.

  5. hmmm tough question considering the experience had no consequence on the life course of each of those girls whatsoever & both are doing really well.

    just thinking out loud here....maybe the Girl 2's caliber was much higher, her previous scores better & so the reaction. Maybe the Girl 1's previous records weren't that great so a 65% is a time to celebrate.

    Interestingly both chose careers in writing & as we all know, writing has nothing to do with our past scores & everything to do with passion & drive.