Blissfully, Ameya Santosh was in the safe company before dusk on Day 3 thanks to, as his family friend puts it, an angel.
aIt was the perfect climax that his parents – and an entire nation – was hoping for. The teenager who went missing from Sharjah’s Abu Shagara area on Friday morning was finally found on Sunday evening by one of his schoolmates in neighbouring Dubai. One can only imagine the anxiety, the anguish, and the agonising wait that his parents would have had to endure over the 54 hours while their son went missing. A mom spent three painfully long days and two gruelling nights without knowing where the apple of her eye was. A dad who would have not left any stone unturned or alley unexplored to catch a glimpse of his son. Words of consolation would have sounded hollow, sympathetic messages might have been bothersome, the wait must have been unbearable.
Blissfully, Ameya Santosh was in the safe company before dusk on Day 3 thanks to, as his family friend puts it, an angel. The Grade 12 student who found him, fed him, and contacted his parents to collect him, cannot be praised enough for his noble deed. Despite all the hatred and enmity going around, there is a lot of good left in this world – and kids like Raunith show up now and then as ‘angels’ to reinforce one’s faith in humanity. That said, it is high time we revisit the pressures that today’s teens have to sustain and rewrite the role that parents, teachers, and families must play in making it a little easier for them to emerge stronger in this growing-up journey. Ameya’s parents have set a great example by acknowledging that they put their son’s well-being above his grades. That ought to put his ‘exam phobic’ mind at rest.
There is immense peer and performance pressure on kids. The fear of failure can be motivating yet debilitating. “Don’t put exam pressure on kids and give them some freedom,” says Perwez, the teen who’d gone missing earlier this year. To be fair, parenting is an inexact science. In wanting the best for their kids, parents often set the bar a little too high, their expectations a little too ambitious, the target a little too steep. Without being judgemental, is it possible for us – you, me, teachers, tutors, schools, counsellors, and everyone else who is part of this ecosystem – to be slightly less demanding? Can we not intimidate the young ones into sacrificing their childhood at the altar of our ambitions?
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