Sixteen-year-old Rohan, with his parents Rosa and Dhawan, were traveling in their car. Dhawan was driving, and Rohan was sitting in the back. Dhawan was driving his car very carefully because it was a brand new Hyundai i10. It was his dream to buy a car. This was the family’s first ever car. Dhawan was in a very good mood.
After a few minutes of traveling, an Innova overtook their car.
Rohan – “Dad that car went ahead of us. Please drive faster and overtake that car!”
Dhawan (smiling) – “Son, it is not possible. Our car is not capable of going that fast.”
Within a few seconds, another car went ahead of them. The other cars zooming ahead of them angered Rohan, and he told his dad to press the accelerator and speed up somehow.
Dhawan (replied to his son in anger) – “You are only seeing cars which are going ahead of us. There are many cars behind us. If we try to catch up with those cars in front of us, we may end up meeting with an accident. I might lose control. The tire may burst. The engine might heat up. The AC may stop working. You are so stupid, wanting to overtake every car that overtakes us.”
There was pin-drop silence in the car. No one spoke for a few minutes. To break the impasse and to lighten the mood, in a voice filled with love, Rosa asks Rohan, “What are you thinking my dear son? Are you hungry? Would you like to eat something?”
Rohan replied nicely, “Dad and mom, you compare me with other smart kids and keep telling me to be like them. You keep telling me to do better than them. If I fall behind anyone, you are so disappointed. Your face shows hurt, and I see myself as a failure. If I try to be like them, I might end up hurting myself, right? You are only seeing smarter kids than me, but you are not seeing kids who are not doing even as well as I am. I don’t mind doing my best. But, I also want to enjoy, have fun. I too do not want to break down.”
Once again, there was silence in the car. Something for every parent to mull over: “In our anxiety, as parents do we burden our children, with undue expectations?”