|Home | Issues | The Daily Star Home | Volume 1, Issue 23, Tuesday November 4, 2003|
Choosing a life, when the meaning of life is so obscure
has a way of turning out the way you did not plan it to be. This is
most true when it comes to choosing a career. Most of us go through
the childhood fantasy period when it seems that becoming Superman is
a distinct possibility and play acting sort of gives that choice a feeling
of certainty. The onset of puberty and early adolescence gives a temporary
respite but gives birth to new more complicated issues .We are more
concerned with the extreme urgency of choosing the right cloths or the
display of machismo in the sports field translated in world beating
performances!! Adolescence existence is at best tenuous with events
that meander into a burden of mistakes and hard choices for the spoilt
brats or the ignored and the unfortunate. The ones fortunate enough
to know the true security that middle class life offers are those who
do well. You are your parents blue eyed boy or girl. Good in studies,
getting good grades. The minor skirmishes with freinds or silly pranks
are forgiven. As children, we have dreamt the impossible and the bravest
dreams are those that childhood frolicking takes to, the extreme heights
of fantastic achievements of inter galactic travel and conquests. This
unstinted and imaginary world is the most crucial period for a human
child. The gifted show signs of their talent and start to give indication
that there is a certain fire that needs to be stoked by offering proper
guidance and encouragement. The real achievers are unearthed in this
period and the lucky that get the proper incentive flower into world
beating sportsmen, engineers and inventors or set world records in many
Middle class life, or even the life of a rich child is guided and supervised by the parents. Their role in this stage is one of extreme importance. The parents may recognize these traits and choices of the child and act on it. For example, the parents of Martina Hingis, the former tennis world no.1 saw that their child loved the feel of a tennis racket and the interaction of the racket with the tennis ball. The rest is history as the parents sacrificed time and money to help the talented lover of tennis blossom into a great player. It goes for my favorite character Billy Gates! He showed a certain knack for invention and things technical. Imagine a 12-year-old child, seriously sitting in the garage space to dissemble his radio and reassemble with concentration that belied his age. He was given the freedom and he dropped out of school to peruse his dreams. The rest again is epoch making history.
The Asian society is based on values and customs and traditions. Parents want their children to become career oriented with excellence in something academic or a secured job in government service or a multinational company. There is of course nothing wrong with that. We need doctors, engineers' scientists and the brilliant professionals people who run the important institutions of the country. These are people who, as children led disciplined lives and studied hard.
In Bangladesh and most Asian societies, for every professional born or for every child gone astray, we have the unfortunate death of dreams at the alter of future job security and functional life as a normal human being. The singer or pantomime, the pianist or percussionist, the clown or the circus performer, the impressionist or the actor is lost because some of us could not understand the cry of the soul coming from a child or adolescent.
Lives are shaped based on culture and national character. The intrepid or the headstrong will succeed and become what they choose to become, and excel in this field. However, for the one courageous person, there are others who are forced to adhere to the code of conduct laid down by family and society. Dreams die young. However, this would change when economic salvation gives the child-man or the child-woman, room to experiment and become somebody who has been given the blessing of becoming what his or her heart desired.
By Ershad Khandker
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