As an educationist, I have met parents from all quarters who single mindedly ask me this question many a time. ‘I want my child to be a genius.’ Living in a make belief world maybe they thought that I have a magic Nimbus-2000 with which I can transform a cute- little, thumb- sucking ,happy- go- lucky child into an Einstein- like genius.
As parents it is our responsibility to raise healthy children. I am sure Einstein’s mother would have had some problems recognizing a genius, as Einstein was reported to have failed in many of his exams in school. My humble suggestion to all these parents is to be more relaxed in their approach and consider what comprises a GENIUS child.
G is for growing normally. We, as parents, must first make sure our children are healthy and are growing well. We need to teach our children basic etiquettes, basic health care and basic personal hygiene. Not to pick their nose in class, wash their hands before touching food, keep the body clean, wearing clean and washed clothes-–perhaps are more important than the number of books the child carries to school or the grades he gets.
E is for emotional quotient (EQ). For a long time psychologists have been studying why some people, when all things being equal, are more successful than others are. Some people seem to thrive on challenges while others are destroyed or burn out by the same challenges. Emotionally mature people have high EQ. EQ is the ability to know how to distinguish healthy from unhealthy emotions and how to turn negative emotions into positive ones. Emotionally healthy children are generally better learners with fewer behavioral problems, better able to resist peer pressure, better at resolving conflicts and better at building relationships with others. The good news is that we can improve our children’s EQ. We can improve our children’s EQ by bonding and building good relationships with our children. The basis of our relationship must be based on respect for the child, acceptance for who he or she is and affirming them. We must also encourage our children to mix with other children but need to supervise their interactions and help them to develop good social skills. Another important factor in increasing EQ is role modeling. Children learn from what they see, not what they are told. If, as parents, we cannot control our emotions, our children will definitely have difficulty with their emotions.
N is for nutrition. It is important that our children have a balanced diet. But somehow, most parents seem to be unaware of this. Children are picky eaters. The same food given everyday doesn’t go down their gullet. Variety in what they eat and food made more presentable seems to appeal the young. As we learnt, a few anecdotes while eating, the entire family sharing the meal together, the mother taking her time to feed– may work wonders with these delicate minds. It is important that as parents that we stick to a balanced and sensible diet for our children.
I is for intelligent quotient (IQ). Most of us are born with an average level of IQ. This is enough to carry us forward in the intellectual arena. Some of the most successful people in the world are all born with an above average level of intelligence and were not born geniuses. Parents should realize that high IQs do not necessarily mean high levels of success. As parents, we may not be able to increase our child’s IQ but we can enhance their existing IQ by exposing and stimulating our children in challenging games, hobbies or art. Leaving our children parked in front of the television does not help their IQ.
U is for utmost potential. We are to give our children the opportunities to develop to their utmost potential. Please note that it is to develop to their utmost potential and not to our utmost expectations. Just because you as a parent could not achieve something doesn’t give us a right to push our children to aims beyond their means. You cannot have a child who can sing, dance, play the veena, talk well, win debates, and study well—all in one go. Many children’s days are filled with tuitions, guitar lessons, swimming lessons, art appreciation classes, dancing and then one day, these children would wonder what happened to their childhood. Children should be allowed to live their childhood. Children should be allowed to learn what they are interested in and given the opportunity to learn and develop in their areas of interest so as to develop into their full potential. As, parents, we must be careful not to impose our expectations on our children.
S is for spiritual quotient (SQ). Perhaps the most sought after and given the least importance by today’s parents is SQ. Spiritual quotient teaches one to be humble and accept life in all its totality. Qualities like benevolence, forgiveness, and kindness are embedded in this beautiful shell of SQ. It gives one the ability to smile in the face of trouble, avoid criticism, complaining and resentment towards life. Perhaps a good SQ lets the child to be peaceful from within thus enjoying happiness and fulfillment in whatever he does.
In summary, the GENIUS approach to parenting produces an emotionally balanced, a spiritually matured and a healthy child. Children are a gift from God. It’s our duty to be good parents and raise them well. So let us do the job and do it right the first time. Our GENIUS child is in our hands.
By Jyothi Turaga