In Child CEOs and Child Doctors, I talked about how Indian parents nowadays try to see their accomplishments and successes through their kid’s performances.
Here, I talk of another phenomenon – that of English inducing parents.
When I was in US, I saw many new immigrant parents from
Here I illustrate another story. One Indian parent, call him X, was completely lost in
However, there are many other families who look at this issue very differently. A cousin of mine living in US then has two kids. We would conscientiously make sure they learnt their mother tongue. To do this, we had to enfo
So, when I came back to
Living in Bangalore, I started to notice lot of parents like that, in shops, malls, restaurants, etc, speaking to their kids in English only. I am not sure if they want to ‘show off’ or if it is indeed a regular practice. But it is clear that many of these parents have made it a consistent habit to speak to the kids in English ensuring the kids do not speak in any other Indian language – at least when they are being watched.
You will see this trend reflected in posh places of
So, who are these parents? As I described earlier-
Most of these parents are above average, have done well in life, but NOT that well.
They always felt that they should have had a head start, should have had much better education (than what they had), should have much better opportunities (than what they had).
They feel they would have become much more, a Bill Gates, a Sunil Mittal, a Sharapova, if ONLY, if only they had much better access to opportunities, if ONLY they spent more time studying instead of whiling away time in the playground playing silly games, if ONLY they had come home from school and went to evening classes instead of spending time with friends.
For these parents, who feel they have lost out on missed opportunities, their kids shouldn’t be wasting their time. They shouldn’t wait to become adults to prove and perform, they should start right away, right now.
These parents PUSH the kids to perform better and better each time, raising the bar each time, and when these kids win accolades, these parents bask in that glory. These are the parents who want to be behind the stage, on the stands, in the audience, congratulating, encouraging, supporting, video-recording, photo-shooting, while their kids keep winning laurels. They have given up struggle for themselves, and instead focus that struggle on their kids now. They think they have reached the peak of their performance, but believe their kids have the world open for them to conquer.
These parents don’t want to lose time. They want their kids to have a head start. They want to ensure their kids speak English from day one without losing time. Since English has been the key differentiator, according to them, that has ensured success to people around them, English is the way to go. And if that means renouncing every Indian language, let it be so.
And if given chance, they want to push it in your face their kids’ inability to understand or speak any Indian language, proudly saying that they do not understand any of those languages.
I have seen parents parading their kids proudly displaying their kids’ ability to speak English, holding them up like trophies they have recently won. Kids are not individuals with identities anymore, but they come as a compensation for the parent’s failures and lost opportunities.