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Questions behind academic marks and children’s success

Questions behind academic marks and children’s success

“Intelligence is not measured by the ability to score high marks in studies, but to score high marks in life.” ~ Bryan

Final exams in school are done, we are on a short break before children begin the next academic year and I have to brace myself for the soon to be declared results. Now here’s an honest confession – one area of parenting that I have difficulty accepting myself with is that of my children’s academic performance.

A mom’s challenge

As a struggling single mother, I have asked myself hopelessly –

Am I a successful mom only if my kids shine academically?

Are my expectations of their academic excellence valid just cos I was a good student?

Am I a failure if they refuse my help in studies even though I can add value?

Is being self-driven innate or can be instilled?

Do all children have to be academically inclined?

I think to myself – it is painful to see them under perform when you know they have better potential to unleash. How can I inspire?

Parental Pressure 

Every year we read stories on student suicides, of not been able to live up to their own expectations and that of their elders. Of breaking down and giving up. Often children are put on a guilt trip to do well for parents so they can proudly announce to the society. Are we conditioning them to study for us? They are not our trophies to be displayed for our pride, are they? Shouldn’t it be more about them taking an onus for their life?

I am not in favour of putting undue pressure of marks, as a child I know how burdened it felt to study that way. Yes, I do wish to see them do their best in academics. But I want them do it for themselves and not just for me. To emphasise that they bear the consequences of their efforts.

On a different level, I know they went through a lot of pain seeing their parents divorce. It may have affected their confidence and performance. The fact that they have faced it all with maturity and unflinching love in their hearts is in itself a huge achievement. To see them deal with everything consequential only fills me with great pride. Their good or bad marks can never alter my unconditional love for them.

Questioning our academic system

Top ranking students get most attention in school and praise in society. Marks are used to judge the capability of a student. It creates some sort of divide amongst the students unfortunately. Not all children are academically brilliant and may have other talents in extra-curricular activities.

I am glad that both my children have excelled in district level sports championships, been a part of their school teams and also won laurels in dance and singing competitions. But that does not bear much significance at the end of the day when only marks are given value in our education system. Why do their non-academic talents seem trivial if children do not score good marks?

“Success in life does not necessarily originate with academic success.” -Robert Sternberg

We do realise that marks are not necessarily the only measure of their intelligence. Academic success does not equate to a child’s success in life. That her being a topper does not essentially guarantee a fulfilling career. Or a happy life ahead. Our obsession with marks is to be condemned. Even worse, our tendency to compare them with other kids.

Focusing on life skills

My older kid has scored far better in the last two academic years than she had earlier. I believe the key is to inspire them to be self-motivated and self-disciplined. To recognise their strengths and figure ways to hone them. Inculcating the habit of delayed gratification and learn time management. Building confidence needs to be emphasised over accumulating marks by rote learning.

“Preserving their self-esteem is far more important than preserving their mark-sheets!”

The true winner

As adults, we realise that what helps us sustain in life is how we apply our education. Failure is not poor marks but the inability to learn from our mistakes and move forward. True success is to know your purpose and live a life in tune with it. Nothing is as fulfilling than to find your passion and make a living out of it. At the end of the day, it is to remember that being a good human being far surpasses all material possessions and professional success one garners.

If my children grow up to be compassionate adults, respectful, peaceful at heart, leading a healthy fulfilling life, I would have succeeded as a mom.

Sharing a couple of impressive ads I saw lately for us parents to ponder on:


True love begins by loving ourselves first

True love begins by loving ourselves first

“Don’t forget to fall in love with yourself first.” ~Carrie Bradshaw 

It’s Valentines Day tomorrow – love is in the air! Candlelight dinners are being booked. Valentine cards with pop-up hearts are selling across gift shops. Heart-shaped red balloons have been visible on street signals past few days. Couples of all ages right from teenyboppers to the newly marrieds to the been-married-for-decades look forward to this day in their own ways. The thought of spending precious time with your loved one and receiving lovely goodies makes it a day to cherish.

Thinking of it all makes me wonder what does Valentine’s Day hold for singles like me that do not have a doting partner. It’s a day meant for love, but does it have to be celebrated only by couples? Nah, it’s a day to celebrate love and love does not necessarily mean your special someone or spouse. There are so may people in our lives on whom we can shower our love. How do we make it special for them and for us? What does love really mean anyways?

With time and wisdom gained from life’s experiences, I have learned to believe that love truly begins by loving ourselves first. If we are unable to love ourselves, we cannot sincerely love others. When our self-love grows, we become happier and confident and thereby radiate more love. No matter how many relationships we have and whatever their quality maybe, it is essential to keep coming back to the one relationship that counts – with our self!

Here’s looking at a few ways to love ourselves more than we do:

  • Self-acceptance –We are all born as unique individuals. Beautiful, quirky, imperfect, flawed, talented – we are who we are with all our positive assets as well as our shortcomings. Rather than wishing that we were made differently or comparing ourselves with others, it is good to acknowledge everything about us. Self-love begins with accepting ourselves as we are.
  • Self-esteem – No matter what choices we make in life, be focused on who you are and not how others see you. Do not get defined by others’ opinion or judgment about you. Work on maintaining a healthy self-esteem and self-worth. What you think of yourself is much more important than what people think of you.

No one can make you feel inferior without your consent. –Eleanor Roosevelt

  • Self-appreciation – How wonderful it feels to be appreciated by people. To be applauded for your accomplishments, for how you made a difference to others and for the value you add in everyone’s lives. And when you feel less appreciated than what you deserve, or crave for, then give yourself a pat on your back every once in a while. Its good to remind ourselves of where we were and how far we have come crossing several life hurdles!
  • Self-care- Love means being kind, encouraging and caring. Self-love is to be that and direct all those energies towards us. We don’t necessarily need anyone else to care for us, we are capable of pampering ourselves in more than one ways. Look out for yourself. Take time to indulge in what makes your soul happy. A little celebratory pastry once in a while will not hurt your body.

  • Self-respect- Self-respect is a virtue no one can take away from us. Do not lose your dignity by demeaning or short-changing yourself. The way we treat ourselves is in a way an invitation for others to treat us. It’s important to stay away from people and situations that pull us down. Maintaining our self-respect is key to self-love, we must preserve it at all cost.

You have to love yourself because no amount of love from others is sufficient to fill the yearning that your soul requires from you ~Dodinsky

Loving ourselves does not mean we are selfish or self-indulgent. It means nurturing ourselves and replenishing our spirits so that we can give from a place of fulfilment. It is a cornerstone for healthy love and healthy relationships!

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8 simple ways to de-clutter our minds of negative thinking

8 simple ways to de-clutter our minds of negative thinking


“Positive anything is better than negative nothing.” ~Elbert Hubbard

It’s the season of Diwali, a festival celebrated with fervour by Indians all over the world. One of the customs of this festival is the ritual of spring-cleaning wherein a lot of time and effort is dedicated to thorough cleaning of the houses. Every nook and corner of the home is scrubbed hard to shine and look anew. It’s also that time of the year when we remove clutter from home – discarding things we do not need, giving it away to those who do and creating space for the new.

Having an obsession for all things neat and tidy (do not read OCD), this season strongly fuels my need for order. In true festive spirit, I have exhaustively indulged myself in the cleaning and de-cluttering traditions very seriously over the last few days. Organising things in their rightful place and packing off heaps and heaps of useless stuff into bags to give away. While spending all my energy into this tedious process, I’m amused at how things just get accumulated in our homes! And it sets me thinking…just the way a lot of unnecessary stuff gets accumulated in our minds too. Negative thinking for instance…

Negative thinking is alarmingly prevalent all around us, almost like an epidemic of sorts in today’s world. It seems easier to get into a whirlpool of negative thoughts and to remain stuck there. Negative thinking can sap our energies and before we realise, it can harm our bodies, mind and everything around us. In many ways, organising our physical space is making way to imbibe the positive elements into our minds and spirits too. This can then also be the time to de-clutter our minds with all the negativity and unnecessary trash we can do without. After all, there is a choice we can exercise, if we make a conscious effort to be aware.

Here are simple daily practices I have learnt over the years to bring in more positivity into our lives:

1. Positive thoughts – Catch yourself while thinking negatively and replace your negative thought with positive ones instantaneously.

2. Positive people – Surround yourself with people who do not put you down, whom you can learn from and exude a lot of positive energy.

3. Smile – It’s amazing how this one small curve on our face sets so many things straight. Even if you don’t feel like it completely, simply smile and feel the difference.

4. Inspirational reading – Reading books, quotes, articles, etc. that is motivating and encouraging is a helpful way to replace negative thinking.

5. Exercise – When you get moving, your endorphins get going. So quit the couch and do any form of fitness that suits you, daily.

6. Switch Off – Stay away from screen time and all gadgets that bombard you with negative information, thereby sapping your energy.

7. Music –Good music is therapeutic. Listen to the kind of music that you enjoy and see your mood change instantly.

8. Gratitude – Be thankful for everything you already have in life, sincerely from your heart.

It’s that time of the year when we must attempt to do away with darkness and light up – our homes, hearts and minds.

Why the blog name

Why the blog name


What’s in a name? Well, a lot of thoughts goes into arriving at a blog name. These are few of mine:

The ‘soul’ in – the essence of my tryst with spirituality and its constant pursuit. It is a seeking of the higher consciousness through various spiritual channels. Soul is the curiosity to decipher the mysterious ways in which the universe functions. It is a commitment to spiritual growth. Soul is the recognition that each of us is a unique spiritual being and our life’s purpose is to be true to our uniqueness. It is the discovery that ‘soul’ and ‘sole’ go beyond being merely homophones, into being an exclusive entity!

The ‘mom’ in – my experiences of learning and growing in the role of a mother. It is a determination to overcome the various challenges in raising my kids without a spouse. Mom is a resolve to grow from a survival mode to a thriving mode. It is an ongoing relationship with myself as much as with my kids. Mom is the spirit to be self-empowered as it is to empower my kids. It is breaking free from the ‘victimisation’ of being a divorcee to finding my true power.

The ‘.in’ of – the journey inward. Of going into the depth of self-awareness in search of the soul’s highest calling. Of inspirations that has shaped my inner being. Of influences that continue to help me heal. Of building a strong sense of mindfulness in all life situations. Quite importantly, .in is quintessentially belonging to India. The unwavering spirit of the Indian woman.

SoulMom is an effort to reach out to as many souls that can resonate with what I write here.

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