It is exam time and starting from small classes to bigger classes with board exams to exams for professional courses and even assessments in the office, it is an exam season. You are either writing, or teaching to write or praying that the teacher and the student are on the same page while writing. The most important prayer for any Christian in the form of the Lord’s prayer which mentions “Lead us not into temptation” can also be seen as lead us not into examinations! All said and done many families can’t handle the pressure of a lent and an exam together.
The Lenten season is a great time to write exams, finish a paper and be assessed by someone. It is because one should seize the opportunity of making it a time when one is relaxed, focused and praying more that God takes control of our lives. But unfortunately that is not the case in many homes. Some diet control apart, parents and children are tensed about writing exams and about doing better than the boy or girl next door. This should never be the case during lent as lent is a time to relax and just be what God wants us to be, and that is, very relaxed people.
Suicide rates in the age group of 15-29 are one of the highest in India. Each year, between 30 and 40 people per 100,000 Indians aged between 15 and 29 kill themselves. This accounts for about a third of all suicides in the country. “A common cause for concern is the pressure from parents to do well in the national board examinations, especially for Class XII, before finishing school. As scores in these exams often determine college admissions and subsequent employment opportunities, students aged 16-18 are often subjected to undue pressure at home to succeed. When they don't, suicide becomes a way out. In 2013 alone, 2,471 suicides were attributed to "failure in examination".”
One understands the pressure parents go through. The pressure to copulate and create off springs, the pressure to give them everything under the sun to make up for the lost time at home, the pressure to not just make them like us but to make them do everything we could not do which includes scoring more marks than us, the pressure to use them as one more trophy for social status, the pressure to say that they have a particular degree and that they studied in a particular school or college. The pressure is endless. Lent is a time to rethink about all these pressures. Don’t have children for someone else but if that is what you want. Don’t give children everything under the sun, rather give them all the love you have. Don’t make them do everything you could not do rather let them do what they want to do. You can always have a say in this process by asking the right questions and giving a fair chance for your child/children to make the correct decision. Your child is not a trophy to show off but your flesh and blood which God has given you. Don’ show them off rather keep them close to your heart till they are ready to fly off. Don’t look for the best schools and colleges, rather look for the best education of which you are an integral part. Your child cannot be someone you do not know or can no more relate with. The best education is received at home. Don’t give up the teacher in you and trade that for the teacher in school or college. They are there to bring out the best in your child, not to replace you.
An examination should be seen as an experience and not a rat race. The life of our child/children is not worth any exam. Their life and living should be more valuable to us instead of exam results. During lent let us take time to be with them and give them all that they need to prepare for and write their exams. At no point of time should there be a talk of marks and comparisons with others because God has given you more things sometimes than others. If you or I accepted that without seeing or questioning why our neighbor did not get it, why are we now looking at comparisons? James 1:12-13 says that we are beyond trials and temptations. “Blessed is anyone who endures temptation. Such a one has stood the test and will receive the crown of life that the Lord has promised to those who love him. No one, when tempted, should say, “I am being tempted by God”; for God cannot be tempted by evil and he himself tempts no one.” Let this lent be a time to let our children flourish and become who God wants them to be and not who we want them to be. Let us love them this lent and love them so much that we allow them to relax and do as well as they can. Let the comparison be with themselves and no one else. Amen.