Herd mentality…

‘What do you plan to do after 10th?’

This is a common question most children face.

Most children decide what they plan to do after 10th when they are in their 8th grade. I spoke to a few kids and they all answered,

“Do I have a choice? Of course I am planning to join classes for CET and then opt for the Science stream obviously and take up Engineering.”

“Do I have a choice?” I almost coughed… This was true maybe a couple of decades ago…But today? No choice? I feel there are too many options today for children only if they care to look beyond engineering.

Further to my previous question I asked, “Engineering? Which field? Mechanical, civil, computer?”

“I would prefer software but let’s see. It all depends on my marks. And then I have to get admission in a good college also. I will opt for any field in engg.”

The herd mentality…

‘Everyone is going to a particular coaching class so even I want to go’

‘Everyone is opting for science so even I want to opt for science stream’

‘ Everyone wants to be an engg so even I want to be an engineer’

Just a few examples…

What is the country or rather the world going to do with so many engineers? If everyone wants to become an engineer who will become a doctor, a nurse, a writer, a teacher etc.

How do one’s marks decide one’s future? Isn’t the child’s interest in any subject or career of any importance?

Why then when there is a list of career options available that children are being pushed into the herd mentality syndrome?

Okay suppose a parent decides that his child has to become an engineer. The child thinking he or she has not much choice opts for engineering. What if the child is unable to comprehend the technicalities of the subject?

The child obviously has to work hard, burn the candle at both ends, slog slog, attend classes and somehow bring a decent score.After a few months the child forgets most of what he has studied.

He/she is an engineer and gets work as a trainee in some company. How is he going to manage? Parents are proud that their child is an engineer. But won’t the engineer face problems at work? How is he going to deal with it?

Only when a student is absolutely interested in some subject or course that he can make a difference at his workplace. Otherwise everyone is just mediocre and have a degree to show. Is that enough? Probably if a child is guided in the right manner to choose a course/degree that he would love to pursue he would end up happier and successful.

Career guidance/counselling, personal interests, strengths and weaknesses are all important factors while opting for a career.

Actually there are so many options to choose from that a child could get confused. That is another problem altogether. (More on this in my next post)

Why has herd mentality become so common? Is it because parents ( yes, definitely parents are responsible to a large extent for this herd mentality) want their child to be just like other children if not better?

Don’t you think the competition is killing the children from within? The comparison and competition is a continuous process amongst parents having school and college going children. In fact they thrive on it. The ‘oh wow’ and the ‘oh my god’ etc are the most commonly heard exclamations.

Parents need to grow up and see the world…the opportunities…the options and then guide their children accordingly.

I would not say this about all parents. There are many sane and sensible parents out there who actually allow their children to choose their interests and guide and support them.

But the other set of parents are far too many to beat the sensible ones.

Will the herd mentality continue? If so, for how many more decades?

Is it not time to stop following others and focus on individual interests?

When a child is guided properly and is focused on his aim or goal he can reach great heights in the field he chooses.

Believe me, whatever the world says, it is better to be different than one among the herd!

Let us stop following the herd and focus on what our children want to do and help them find their way…


2 thoughts on “Herd mentality…

  1. The urge to be different from others should be cultivated both among parents and kids.

    Strengths of the kids should be identified and developed. All can not become Engineers.

    The society in general think that becoming an engineer is a easy way to earn money.

    That has become the only goal .

  2. It is very true that the urge to be different from others should be felt by parents as well as children…Most parents might want to be different but might find it difficult due to the many obligations and responsibilities. Children need guidance…Elders can start by changing their thought pattern…It is difficult but not impossible. It is always the first step that seems difficult…It is very true that becoming an engineer and thinking that it is an easy way to earn money has become a common goal…Money though a necessity is not actually fulfilling when we are not happy doing what we are doing…

    there is more to write on this topic…will do it in my next post…

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