NEW DELHI: Advising parents not to treat their child’s report card as their own visiting card, Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Monday said it is crucial to instil resilience in children to help them cope with pressures and asserted that both parents and teachers should collectively address challenges faced by students.
Addressing the seventh edition of the annual "Pariksha Pe Charcha" programme, Modi gave key takeaways to children on how to deal with exam stress and peer pressure, and shared career tips and maintaining a healthy lifestyle.
"It is crucial to instil resilience in our children and help them cope with pressures... We cannot switch off, pressure is gone. One must become capable of bearing any kind of pressure. They should believe that pressure keeps on building, and one has to prepare oneself," he said at the programme held at Bharat Mandapam, which was earlier the venue of the G20 summit last year.
“Challenges will keep coming, and you must challenge those challenges. If there are millions of challenges, there are billions of solutions as well. Failures must not cause disappointments. Every mistake is a new learning,” the prime minister said during his two-hour long interaction with students, teachers and parents.
On dealing with exam pressure, Modi asked the students to develop the habit of writing. “Practice the writing of answers as much as possible. If you have that practice, the majority of exam hall stress will go away.”
“You need to set small goals, and even if you are not able to complete the goal, you can restart tomorrow. You prepare your mind just like you do while going to a cold place, then you adapt quickly.”
For parents, his advice was not to over-hype the exam day with new clothes, rituals or stationery, and not to compare their children with others.
Addressing the issue of peer pressure and competition among friends, Modi said that “competition should be healthy” and pointed out that “often the seeds of unhealthy competition are planted in the family situations leading to perverse competition among the siblings.”
He said that doing well in exams is not a zero-sum game and competition is with oneself as good performance by a friend does not restrict the field to do well. Asking parents not to compare their children with other children, he pointed out that parents should not make the achievement of their children their visiting card.
Urging the teachers to become more accessible to students rather than associating with them on the basis of subjects taught, Modi said they are not in a job role but they shoulder the responsibility of grooming the lives of students.
Raising the issue of striking a balance between exam preparations and maintaining a healthy lifestyle, he said a healthy body is critical for a healthy mind.
For this to follow, he said one has to eat a balanced diet, spend time in sunlight, get regular and complete sleep and exercise regularly.
Touching on the trust deficit in families, Modi said asked both parents and teachers to tackle this serious issue.
He said that this deficit is not sudden but is a result of a long-drawn process and requires a deep self-analysis of everyone's conduct, be it teachers, parents or students.
“Honest communication can reduce the chances of trust deficit,” he said, adding that students should be sincere and honest in their dealings.
Similarly, parents should also convey their confidence in their children instead of suspicion. "The distance created by the trust deficit can push children into depression," he added.
He also asked the teachers to keep channels of communication open with the students and avoid favouritism.
“Excess of anything is bad,” the prime minister said drawing an analogy to excess mobile phone usage with home-cooked meals which when taken in excess can lead to stomach problems and other issues, even though it is rich in nutrients.
He stressed making effective use of technology and mobile phones with the help of judgement-based decision-making. “Every parent faces this issue," he said and raised the subject of privacy and secrecy.
He stressed formulating a set of rules and regulations in the family and mentioned no electronic gadgets during dinner and creating no gadget zones in the house. “In today’s world,” the prime minister said, “one cannot run away from technology.”
He, however, advised students to limit the usage of both mobile phones and social media and encouraged them to use screen-timer mobile apps, which are readily available for download, to effectively manage and limit their usage.