A few weeks ago, there was an interesting talk show on one of the television channels. The celebrity interviewed was the world chess champion Viswanathan Anand. As the VIP was recalling the twists and turns on his road to success, he narrated an event that always lingered in his memory:
Early in his sporting career, when he had just started making good impressions in the international area of chess, he happened to travel by train on a day-and-night journey. An old man had befriended him and indulged in casual conversation.He came upon the question, “Where are you employed, my boy?” to which Anand had replied, “I play chess.” The gentleman repeated the question in order to make the query clear. And Anand promptly repeated the answer, as by then he was a professional player. “Hmm…” sighed the old man, “It’s all right if at all you are one Viswanath Anand”, he exclaimed in a voice of concern and disapproval.
At this, the interviewer and Anand himself engaged in loud laughter and went on to the next stage of his career. But my mind still stays put at the same venue and time: The old man’s remarks simply reflect the society’s way of looking at an individual with great potential – He has to be productive in monetary terms.
This thought-circuit of mine that the TV program had triggered was happily completed a few days ago: A little boy of about 10 years, living in our neighborhood was getting coached in chess. Though he has been an average student in academics, the little fellow started to show great interest in the game. He began outdoing several good players and went on to win the FIDE rating. When I saw that the society sat up to acknowledge his rising to international level, I went across to felicitate the boy and his family for the feat. The words that the boy’s mom spoke were wonderful and worth sharing with you.
“In the beginning, we encouraged our son to play chess because we believed that the time spent would be useful – better than sitting before the dumb television. But later, we heard from parents of other children who play chess that the game improves the levels of concentration, analysis and judgment. We decided to let him continue. I observed that chess also improved the skill of decision-making within the given time.
“But the real surprise came to me when he started losing initially in the local chess tournaments. Instead of brooding over the loss or shying away from the following matches, he started introspecting the wrong moves that HE had made, himself. Secretly. I started applying it myself, in my personal life!
“On the other hand, I observed that success too left him happy, but unsatisfied – because he always set his eyes on the next challenge. So, for him, losing a game meant
learning new skills from the opponent,
and of course, time to self-examine.
“Once, while he was leaving for a chess tournament, I wished him best and asked him to concentrate on every square of the (8 X 8 =) 64 squares of the chess board. My son said that actually he did not know the real number of squares on it. That left me pondering…. until I realized that the combination of squares within the board could make dozens and dozens of squares! An eye-opener to my ignorant and pre-conceived mind! I wish the game would certainly reveal the packed but hidden brilliance of my little son’s sweet little brain.
“As the mother of a blessed chess debutant, I pray regularly for his stardom of G.M. For others G.M. stands for ‘Grand Master’, but for me it is ‘Genuine Mankind’.”
‘Parents need not themselves be genius to beget genius children’, I could visualize in this successful mother’s words. We only have to LET THEM BE – THEMSELVES.
Would you too agree that our role is to unlock as many doors for the child as we can? And when he fails, we aren’t going to criticize him and show him the door. The key to our child’s success is in our pocket.
Check it, please.