Magical Wisdom from the Monk in my backyard!

Photo by 和 平 on Unsplash

Last year around this time was an anxious time for us as a family. After Parth, my elder son made it to one of the Ivy league schools at Canada the previous year — the younger one’s destination post passing out of his 12th grade — was keenly awaited.

Drona got grades to finally make it to an Engineering course at another Ivy league school — this time at New York in the US. “Does it get bigger than this,” is how the world saw it and we had no reason to believe otherwise !

A year later, Drona has come back and declared that despite NY being “a great city”, “loaded with opportunities”, etc -

After a struggling one year where we saw the dream of the great American undergraduate education wearing off bit by bit through the year — here are my learnings owing to my interactions with him :

  1. Education is a long term commitment. The millennial generation is too wired to get bored too soon. It is important to inculcate the value of ‘giving everything a fair try before writing something off’.
  2. Education is a holistic contributor to character and career development. The tendency to over-slice it and be stuck in a ‘paralysis of analysis’ of individual pies does not help.
  3. Studying in the most elite school of a metro city of India and being brought up in a family environment which promotes independence still does not necessarily prepare our children the same way as the western system does. (I am aware of a few of his other friends also undergoing similar pangs and bouts.)
  4. Careers are not built overnight. The millennial generation is too naive (to its own peril) to get bored with anything that doesn’t seem to have an ‘instant gratification’ purpose built into it. Patience and ‘not rushing life’ needs to be impressed upon as a value to be imbibed. The correlation between a-couple-of-years and the phenomenon-of-overnight-success needs to be understood right.
  5. We need to raise our children strong with trust being the biggest value so that they learn to speak their mind and have the courage to stand up for what they believe in. A generation ago, most of us would have put in the hard work to live through another four years of (mostly ‘miserable’) passing through one grade to another as we had been trained till this stage of pre under-graduation. Drona is convinced that there’s no point working at something half-heartedly. He needs to find his purpose, identify what he’s good at, and give it all he’s got. Most importantly he has the courage to own up his skin in the game.
  6. All of us including the young ignited millennials of today with all the make-up that the modern times equip us with — need to wake up to the reality that :
  • even a whiff of entitlement is too much. One will have to grow one’s own height no matter how tall one’s grandfather was !
  • there is no substitute for hard work. A periodic hunger check is a must. If you haven’t changed one of your strongly held beliefs in the last few years, check your pulse — you may be a dead man !

The whole purpose of education — to convert an empty mind into an open mind — does seem to have been not so strongly impressed despite twelve years of rigour of a top Indian education system and a reasonably advanced modern family.

We and our education and social system as mentors need to prepare our children before we pack them off to go and conquer the world to make the most of a millennial opportunity !

Drona’s text two hours after we landed in Mumbai after ‘settling him down well’ in the Big Apple in Sept 2016.

Drona’s text two weeks before he came back “to not gonna go back Doug !” in Apr 2017.

Disclaimer : These are learnings based on dealings with the case of our younger son even as the elder one is enjoying his stint thoroughly in British Columbia, Canada making the most of North American education.

Piyush Sharma | 2017

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Originally published at https://www.linkedin.com on May 19, 2017.