Follow thy heart…

Uma, is your daughter learning Carnatic music ???


Dance – the traditional one ???

Nope. All she is interested is the Shiamak Dawar one.

Instruments -violin or veena ??? (Only those instruments which is traditional to Carnatic music)

Yeah, my daughter wants to learn the guitar.

Ok, did you send them for the Abacus classes, when they were young ???  Everyone sends their kids to Abacus classes.

Nope. They managed Mathematics, without learning it the Abacus way.

Any crafts classes ????

Nothing in specific. Once she has gone to some Drawing class, becos she wanted to learn shading. If she is interested, I might put her in some class.

What about summer classes ???

Summer vacations are meant to enjoy and take a break from studies. If my girls wishes to go for some class, then let her get the details, then I’ll put them in it.  She should show the initiative that she is interested in something.

What is this ??? What kind of mother am I ????   – This is people’s perception, when I answer like this.

What to do ????    I don’t like the idea of forcing my child to learn something. If it has to be learnt, the interest should come from within, for a child. Then the learning process is easier. Isn’t it ????

Already we are seeing so many instances, in our life.  A child who doesn’t want to learn Mathematics is forced to learn the subject to appear in the Board Exams.  And there are no options to choose either Algebra or Trigonometry or Geometry separately. It is forced on every child to learn them all.  While a child might have tremendous capacity to do Trigonometry, that same child might struggle with some other part of Maths.  That’s why I feel, the selection of subjects should be more broadly categorised, to help such children.

Even for reading a story book, the interest should come from within. I might try to spark her interest by taking her to a book shop or  a book exhibition. She might even buy the books. But, to sit down and read and enjoy the fairy tale world, is certainly up to her.  While my elder one is an avid reader from very young years, the younger one has to taken to the books only recently. Each person is different and their passions too.  I needed to be very patient in not comparing the reading habits of both the girls. When me and my elder one discussed books, the younger felt the need to be part of the conversation.  Then started her journey with books.

The past decade gave so much importance to the Engineering and Medicine fields, while the Humanities group has taken a back seat. It’s so much back, that I am struggling to find a school which offers that group, for my daughter wishes to join that group. CBSE schools are all concentrating on MPC / Science / Commerce groups. I am having a tough time researching schools, here.

My daughter is not interested in doing Engineering or Medicine and I appreciate her decision very much.  Anything is fine, as long as she learns it with a passion and is happy doing it.  To find a job or to make a living, one should have the right aptitude and the required knowledge and of course, lots of positive attitude and a smiling approach.  It’s not necessary to have an Engineering degree to make a living.

I’ve seen how all the parents used to pounce on the teacher during the parent teacher meets, to discuss their child in detail. They dissected the child’s personality, marks, behaviour and everything possible under the sun, in front of the child itself. Just imagine how embarrassing it’ll be for the child.  I certainly disapprove parents doing this year after year and then complaining that the child has no self-confidence.

I was the only parent, who will just slide in and out of the class in a minute or so. I’ll collect the report card, sign the register and ask simple questions like – “Is she considerate to others in class ??? Does she enjoy being with other kids??”   The other parents were shocked to know that I don’t bother about marks at all.  All I want is my daughter should be a good human being and enjoy her life.

And I have also insisted this to my daughters, from the time they were young.  Marks don’t add up your life. But your moral values, your smiles, your josh for living life are the important factors which decide your future.

I am very thankful to my parents for making me understand this and giving me lots of freedom to choose my own subjects.  Even the decision to work was entirely mine and I’ve never regretted any decision.   To give such freedom to girls 3 decades back, was difficult and my parents did it, even under pressure from other family members.

If you don’t find happiness in designing electronic circuits / building bridges or apartments / handling the financial accounts, then you are doing the wrong job.

The happiness factor may lie in painting or pottery or photography or travel journalism or fashion design or hair styling.  Just do what the heart desires and you can see yourself soaring high.

So, it’s not following the traditions and learning Carnatic music or Bharatanatyam, that will satisfy my daughter.

It’s following the heart. Whatever the heart is passionate about, we will give 100% focus and hard work and will surely make it a success.

And I think I’ve done a decent  job of making my daughter understand this difference between – scoring marks and having a passion – following traditions blindly and following the heart with passion.


65 Replies to “Follow thy heart…”

  1. ‘So, it’s not following the traditions and learning Carnatic music or Bharatanatyam, that will satisfy my daughter.

    It’s following the heart.’ That is the crux of it! Uma, Here’s to more mums like you! I keep coming across mums who worry that their 3 year olds don’t know how to write because apparently people back home in India will ‘judge’!!! And they want to somehow teach their child the basics in the one month before their vacation!

    As for the abacus/kumon thing – it is a huge competition – my child goes to more classes that yours 😦 I do hope that I am able to follow your example when in comes to Poohi – I really want her to enjoy her life and do things that she enjoys rather than what we think is ‘important’ for her.


    1. Exactly Smithu … Competition is the keyword! I see most parents sending their kids to the Abacus classes only bcoz the others r dng it! My sis scored cent in 10th and 12th board exams in Maths .. she did nt attend any Abacus or Vedic Maths or anything else for that matter 😛


    2. Smitha, the more stories I am hearing abt parents’ obsession towards marks, the more sadder I become.

      I am sure Poohi will have a wonderful life ahead, with a Mom who thinks like you do.

      @Swaram – Vedic Maths or Abacus is a whole waste of time and money and energy if the child is not interested in learning it. After all, life doesnt end with learning subjects.


  2. Beautiful post Uma 😀

    Loved the examples you’ve used to explain how important it is to let kids follow their interests and their hearts as far deciding what should be doing. I have come across very few people who give their children the chance to fly in the directions they’d love.

    Anything that is forced on their little minds won’t let them enjoy it or do with sincere efforts, it’s quite similar to choosing your final field of work.

    Great message for all parents in this fantastic post 😀 😀

    You are indeed a wonderful mum 🙂 🙂



    1. Thank you, CB.

      Its very sad to know that the child plays no part in deciding what he / she wants to do in future. Why cant the parents just ask the child, before forcing them to do what they liked in their childhood ???


  3. Oh, your daughters have such a great mom !!!
    Thank you, Vimmuuu. 🙂

    This post reminded me of my parents, seriously. My parents used to ask the same question in school during my report card collection. For my brother, it was different. He used to be studious and I used to be hyper mischievous jumping from school windows and landing right in front of the principal 😀 😀 😀 But there wasnt a time when my parents forced me to study or even compelled me to go for a particular stream. They say, “everything is your decision, we are here to support you, even if you dont fare well, its ok, we are here for you !” 😀 😀 😀 😀
    That is indeed so wonderful. It helps a child to be stress free at home, if parents are quite supportive of their ideas and goals.
    But somehow, I never had the guts to chase my own dream. and now, even if I want to, its going to be difficult 😀 😀
    Its OK. The freedom that your parents gave made sure that you had a happy childhood. And thats all that matters. 🙂


    1. Your parents knew best… they married you off to your dream girl! 😀 😀 😛
      So chill ! heheh

      I was laughing envisioning u jumping out of school windows and landing in front of the principal !!! 😆


    2. I so much agree with your last line Vimmuuu!! I too regret not doing what I really wanted to despite having the liberty to do so!! May be it was because back then I never really knew what I wanted to do and now when I do I feel it’s too late!


      1. But since the decision was entirely yours, theres no one to blame and you’ll take full responsibility and will know how to cope up with the new life you’ve chosen.

        If the whole thing is forced by parents, then coping up with uncomfortable situations, will make a person more stressed.


  4. 🙂 You know I used to be so much embarrassed in school when parents would compare me with their kids just because I got better grades than them… I used to be like please she is a wonderful dancer and singer… I can’t even do 1% of it …. but then parents are parents…. they will go on advicing their kid in front of me….. I hated that 😦
    Its a total turn-off for the kid facing such comparison. I wish that parents and teachers will stop doing such character assasination. 😦

    Yes my dad wanted me to do medicine because he was in the same line and so put me in the biology group but then I never liked the subject….. So, when it came to entrance examination I said no way am writing the medicine entrance… n I didn’t also…. I am happy wherever I am now…. I don’t have any regrets….. Those 4 years of college life have been the best days of my life… something I cherish till date 🙂
    Good that you followed thy heart. And glad your parents agreed. 🙂

    Loved your post Uma and Hope all Parents are like you and my mom too (my biggest support system) 🙂
    Thank you, Shilpa. Yes, thats my hope too !!!!


    1. Oh ya! my two professor aunts haunted me and my parents for the bad orientation in my academic life..heee 🙂 I did write my Medical entrance after a lot of pestering, got thru to a few colleges, showed the aunts the admission cards and went and joined Lit classes… hee.. I wonder what kind of doctor I would have been, who faints at the sight of blood and runs away from injections!!
      Thats a good decision you took. When we know our strengths and weaknesses, it helps us to decide better. 🙂
      My parents my support system for always being there and letting go 🙂 God bless them 🙂
      God bless such parents. And let God make more such parents. 🙂


  5. The only questions my Mum asked in school was, is she well behaved and she would be out of the class signing the registers in a min and we’d be off for our ice-cream haunts for that Open House Saturday:) It’s in the pure joy of doing something… and to have parents who understand this like you and mine and others is gr8:) Kudos to all of u:) I’ve known many of my batchmates who did a course in engineering and medicine got a degree certificate and now are happy pursuing their individual loves :))

    And what are these Abacus classes, even my neighbours kids keep going to them thrice every week! u mean u learn maths using the abacus… I had a lovely colourful abacus gifted to me by my grandfather in LKG… it sits in the showcase of my home these days, occasionally taken out for the little kiddies who visit home:)

    good day Ums


    1. We also take our girls to the bookshop to buy whatever they want – its the gift day – even though I keep buying stuff for them for no reason. That day, we celebrate !!!

      Yes, maths is being taught using abacus – and if you actually look into it, its a technique to train the mind to do calculations. The kids start thinking in terms of the abacus beads in units, tens, hundreds and so on… while calculating. The fact which I dont like abt this is, it has to be taught before the school starts Maths in regular method. So, a child of four starts abacus classes, instead of playing and having fun. Its sad. 😦

      Glad to know that you too had a wonderful childhood. 🙂


  6. Enrolling kids in 20 different classes just to keep up with fashion trends… and then regretting missing out on their childhood because they dont have time to be kids, just run from one class to the other… whats the point?

    Your approach is awesome Uma 🙂

    Marks don’t add up your life. But your moral values, your smiles, your josh for living life are the important factors which decide your future.
    Any kid who grows up with this broad perspective in mind will become a wholesome individual instead of a machine … I believe that 🙂 God bless your daughters!


    1. Just one look at the newspaper, lists the hundreds of summer classes that are available in the city. Its crazy how the parents enroll the kids in so many classes for one day. More horrendous are those, who send their kids to summer classes which are just like a school in their timings and teachings, so that the working parents need not worry where to leave the kid !!!

      Thank you, Ash. I sincerely pass on the wishes to my daughters. 🙂


  7. You’re a super mom 🙂
    Thank you so much. Feels good to hear that. 🙂 Shows that I am doing a decent job in being a Mom. 🙂

    And like Vimmuuu mentioned, i also have parents who’ve never imposed anything on me. They’ve always asked me to be a good person, not the ‘classtopper’ 🙂
    Thats what every parent should do. Isnt the child’s happiness worth more than anything in the world ???

    Kids who have such great parents will never fail in ‘life’; I’ve never scored more than 40% in maths all my life 😀 I’ve never even passed in any of my Hindi examinations. And there was nothing outstanding I did in Chemistry or Comp Sci either. Loved physics, but never did well because of the maths part of it 😀
    Ha Ha Ha…you sound like my daughter….she works hard at maths to get a decent %, but given an option, she’ll use the books as a pillow. LOL 🙂

    Language was my passion…reading, writing…books, stories..,poetry. And while every single cousin of mine went for engg or medicine, i (like the black sheep of the family) went for literature — just because my parents wanted me to what i “wanted” to do. And i must say, i’m as good as the rest of them 😉 And yea, the confidence level has always been good too: mainly because I’ve always known i’ll never be “judged” by my parents (even if the whole world does so!)
    Thats wonderful, Scorpria !!! Literature – thats what my girl wants to do. And I am totally supporting her decision. And the more important fact is that you are happy !!! 🙂

    Kudos to you! Your daughters are real lucky…and so are you! 🙂
    Thank you so much. 🙂


  8. Your kids are lucky to have you as their mother otherwise when I see parents pushing their kids to Excel in anything & everything my heart bleeds!!!

    You can always guide your kids but pushing is something which should never be done!!!


  9. I loved your post!
    And my respect for you has increased…
    You are a great mom.
    and what you say is 100% right.

    Their interests and happiness matters… not buckling down to mass and perr pressure makes you a very strong mom!



    1. Thank you, Pix. I just love my girls too much to force unhappiness onto them, by choosing something they dont like. 🙂

      Thank you again and hugs to you !!! 🙂


    1. Welcome to my pages, Vivek !!! 🙂

      Our tribe – yes indeed, those parents who think like me are so less in numbers, that we can call ourselves the sparsely populated tribal community who seek only happiness for their children !!!


  10. You’re doing the right thing & I have seen more ladies who think like you only these days so I always thought things changed for the better. I do feel sometimes kids may not know exactly what they want to do at a young age (ex. – me). My parents sent me to summer camps so that they get an idea of what interests me. Its a fair indication. I hated singing but I used to enjoy Yoga and Bharatnatyam classes there.


    1. Am glad to know that there are more mothers thinking like me. It sure is a welcome change. 🙂

      Of course, to find that spark in the child, it is important to try out a few things. But if a child is not keen on continuing, theres no need to force.

      And so many summer classes in that 2 months is just going to confuse the child more, I think.


  11. Loved the Uma and agree with everything u’ve written. Infact i too dont drive the kids to do anything they dont like to do. But sometimes I’m plagued by doubts coz kids will be kids and they dont have a big idea abt how the world works. And wht if they grow big and turn & say something like “I was just a kid, how did u expect me to understand know how imp these things are. U SHD have done it 😦


    1. Nancy, you are doing wonderfully well as a Mother. Just be like that. First, I too had all those doubts inside me.

      Just wait till your children start growing…once they cross the 9 /10 yrs of age, they become confident of their likes and dislikes and from that you can guide them to whatever is good.

      Its not that I am against introducing new ideas or subjects to my girls, but I make sure that they are not doing it under force.

      Talking and listening to the children without judging them openly helps a lot.

      Believe me, you’ll do well as a Mother !!! And we are all there to give you more inputs !!!! 🙂


  12. You are a wonderful parent Uma 🙂 🙂 really really good… I don’t know whats the need for some summer vacation classes if the children doesn’t intersted in it?? all they can do is show all the things available and then its their choice on which one they like and pick…

    even though my parents they never forced me to take engineering the amount of exposure I had at that time is very limited and I took it… now I don’t know whether I liked it or not.. 🙂 quite confusing…


    1. Thank you Kanagu !!! 🙂

      Theres nothing wrong in doing a job related to engineering…if you like it continue it or try and do something you are really passionate abt, in your free time on weekends. Whether its painting / writing / singing / or even doing social work – just do something you like during weekends, to find out your real self. That’ll make you happy – no confusions !!!! Take care 🙂


  13. Good Lord I cud have written this post…my ids also were never sent for separate classes unless it was of the school itself! And I too ask qns more abt how they are as kids, and if they doing OK…not if they will top the year etc! Hehe…I guess most parents wud think us weird! :))))


    1. Good Lord I cud have written this post – I just knew that you will say that. LOL, Indy, we just think so much similar. 🙂

      Weird – yeah, true. We are weird for other parents, but still we are happy, right ????


  14. My parents were exactly like the cool type and even when it came to marriage, they clearly told me that they wud get me married if I wanted to and if I hd nt chosen a guy, they wud be happy to look arnd, but still it wud all depend on me. Ppl even commented that they were being mad and were giving too much freedom to their daughters u know 😛
    I am happy they smiled thru all of it. And again, history is repeating itself as nw ppl r questioning y they r nt ‘making my sister understand’ that she shud get married! WTH!


    1. Yeah, Swaram its indeed quite irritating to keep hearing to all those comments all the time. Its high time that we smile at them and do what we like, just like ur parents did and are doing.

      Its not possible to satisfy all the ppl around and make them happy. And thats not the purpose of our life. So, lets do things which we like and live happily, what do you say ???


  15. U are the bestest ever! 😀

    I have learnt so much from u in terms of parenting and I am struggling to try some of them b successful at it. U know how Neha is!!! 😀

    But I agree with u whole heartedly. BTW Neha gave up Taekwondo. I tried to make her stay. It was just too much! 😀


    1. Hey, thank you !!!

      And I know you are doing a wonderful job with Neha !!! Knowing the child and what will make the child happy is the key to parenting and you are fantastic.

      BTW, I too have learned quite a lot from you !!! 😉 Hugs to you !!! 🙂


  16. Lovely post Uma…
    These days many parents are treating the child’s education as their status symbol and think it is wonderful to have them trained in every single thing they like.. what the child really wants to do is never given a thought..Here’s to more moms like you..

    P.S: I’ve delurked and commented on one of your posts when you asked everyone to comment..I am still here and have been reading every post of urs. Just plain lazy to comment..


    1. Thank you, Mystery. Its wonderful to know that ppl like you read my pages !!! 🙂

      Yes, you are right – education is looked upon as a status symbol and its quite sad state for the child, if they wish to be different. Lets hope for more changes among parents. 🙂


  17. Nice Post Uma…You are indeed a great parent. I believe We are reflection of our parents..naturally we will inherit the good/bad qualities from our parents and some others parts of our persona are our concious efforts..Neverthless to mention parents now are more understanding and supportive towards their kids,which gives ample opportunity for them to nurture their interest and grow in life..I am blessed to have extremely supportive and understanding parents..And i am sure one day i too will be a good parent 😛 with frez like you around 😉


    1. Thats fantastic. I have indeed passed on the freedom which my parents gave me !!! Their actions reflect in mine. And thats helping my girls to be happy. 🙂

      You’ll be fantastic Mom / Friend / Parent and Guide to your kids. No doubt !!! 🙂


  18. Uma when i read this post,i felt i am reading my mom’s thoughts.Ur kids are lucky like us to have mom like u,touchwood.

    We sisters all are commerce background and people used to ask my mom why she didnt opted for engineering/doctor.My mom asked my younger sister whether she is interested in BPC and later on write emcat and my sister told her no,my didnt say a single word to her and let her choose her own career and she opted for public relations.She is well placed now.

    I just hate parents who start thinking to send the child to engineering/doctor when they are in 1st class,there the child interest goes into the drain,it the father’s name/family name comes in.


    1. Thank you, Sari !! I felt so honoured to read – “i felt i am reading my mom’s thoughts”. And I am glad too, that you have such wonderful parents. 🙂

      Fantastic decision by your mom and may God make more such Moms !!!! 🙂


  19. Hi Uma,
    What a refreshing attitude from a parent! After all those years of listening to anxious and ambitious parents communicating their worries tome as a teacher, this is a relief. To go by the comments to your post, there seems to be more people thinking like you. Even in a school which focussed on academic performance, I managed to tell my boys the same thing – Marks are not the ‘be all and end all’. That is one reason why I could not continue teaching.
    May mothers like you increase in numbers and I am very happy to read this. Thank you.


    1. Thank you so much. I wish that you are a teacher for my girls, so that I’ll feel happy. And you’ll be happy too, to receive a mother like me during parent-teacher meets. Isnt it ?? 🙂

      Thank you again, your thoughts and comments mean so much to me.


    1. Totally busy with so much running around that I didnt have the energy and time to login. So sorry abt the delay in replying to comments…Have got a load to read…Dont know when I’ll do that !!!!


  20. Excellent , Uma! I think I must re-read this post every time I am confused if I am being a good parent or an irresponsible one 🙂 Today, I took R for his tap-dancing class and all he wanted to do was play in the garden! After a lot of coaxing/threatening, he did agree to come inside, but when I saw what they were teaching (gentle dance) I knew this wasn’t his thing! So there, I took him to the garden instead, and we had a great time! Hmm.. isn’t that the objective after all? To be happy, rather than ‘successful’? Or am I just being ignorant of the ways of the world????


    1. Pal, actually when I wrote this, I seriously didnt knew that you wanted something abt parenting and all. (In one of your comment-reply, I read later).

      But I am glad you read and liked this post. So many parents are trapped into believing that they are not doing a good job and they could have done better for their children. Theres no end.

      Just feel in your heart – to do or not to do. And follow it. See the little one of yours has a mind of his own. Allow that little mind to grow and nourish it well. He’ll be a fantastic human being. Happiness is the key – dont let it slip away.


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