Ganesh Utsav has always been celebrated in our Community with great fervour and enthusiasm. During the days of Ganpati various competitions are organised for the kids. One such event was Shloka recitation. My elder son was three-and-a-half-year-old that time and I had enrolled him for the same. I spent a week making him prepare for the competition. In fact, in my excitement I had made him learn seven or eight shlokas. The day of event arrived, and I was looking forward to seeing my kid perform on the stage for the very first time. It was his first performance on stage and it was going to be my first experience to witness my child perform too.
The event started and when it was my kids turn to recite on stage, I made him go up to the stage alone while I went back towards the audience looking for a front seat. He introduced himself on mike and had started reciting the first shloka at that moment. While walking, as my back was towards the stage, I suddenly heard my son calling me from stage “Mamma aap aa jaao, mujhse nahin hoga..!!”(Mamma please come back, I can’t do this)
I suddenly felt my heart sink and rushed towards my child who was crying. I also felt embarrassed as there were around more than hundred people from our community sitting as audience. I took it as a personal failure. I consoled him and told the organisers that we need some more time and would like to come towards the end, when he is feeling settled. They did oblige and he finally recited three shlokas in the end.
The entire incident was a very big lesson for me that day. In my excitement to make him perform well or rather outperform others, in front of everyone, I never realised that my child was going through a bout of performance anxiety. Like other mothers I could have been near the stage to encourage him and prompt if needed 😊. He would have felt more confident and comfortable. Also asking him to remember so many shlokas at that age, especially for his first performance was unfair on my part. As parents knowingly or unknowingly we try to put pressure on our kids.
From that day onward, I take competitions in a healthy spirit. This eases off a lot of pressure from the kids. I also realised kids can deal with stress much better than the adults and become self-motivated over time. We just need to let them be themselves…!!!