Saturday, March 17, 2012

Teaching Lying

When I was a child, I had a school project which required me to make a storybook on my own. We could use a story that was written be somebody else, but we had to draw the pictures ourselves. The whole thing was supposed to end up looking like a picture book.

Do you think this is too hard for a seven year old to do? I do. Seven-year-olds are not Picassos and J.R.R. Tolkiens. They're just kids. But the shocking part was that mot kids showed up in school with picture books that looked like they'd been made by professional picture book authors. Or maybe they just looked like they'd been made by the parents.

I didn't take any help from my parents. I wrote the story myself. I drew the pictures myself. Sure, the story was immature (it was about a fish with a hard school project and how his aquatic friends help him) and the drawings were two-dimensional, but that was just proof of I had done it myself. The kids who won this competition clearly hadn't done any of the work themselves, but I was the loser because of the childish mistakes I had made in my book.

This was not an isolated incident. I lost a lot of competitions and missed out on a lot of appreciation as a child (don't worry, all that was made up for when I grew up). Parents seemed to be overly eager to help their children win every petty class competition, make the best charts, make the best projects.



But when I was about twelve, things took a turn for the contrary. My teachers thought my work was too good. I was already good at drawing three-dimensional portraits and writing things on my own without copying from the Internet. But of course, my teachers thought somebody else was doing the work for me. All my friends got A pluses, while I had to settle for relatively more humble A's.

Now, this may seem completely unrelated, but this just shows how parents and teachers teach their children to lie.

Let me explain. When other kids were having their parents do all their work, I was busy slogging away. But my little friends didn't admit they hadn't done the work. Their parents had already trained them to claim someone else's work as their own.  At the age of seven, this is just a fib, but the lesson of making people acknowledge 'your' work instead of actually is already learnt, and it stays forever. When kids grow up, they lie about other things. They lie about not cheating on major tests, they lie about who does their home-work, they lie about everything.

Even I was forced to lie and say "I did it myself but had to take some help from my mother" when teachers started suspecting me of having somebody else do my work.

Parent's only start noticing when the lying start to bite back at them. They realize their kids have learnt to lie only when their children lie to them, about why they came back home late and who they were with. The only thing they don't realize is that they probably sowed the seeds of untruthfulness themselves, and now they're just going to reap it.

There are people who resist the lying movement, though. I did. But I ended up being so bizarrely honest it was borderline Tourette Syndrome, so I didn't end up normal either. It was as if I had to just keep fighting against the temptation of being untruthful, so much so, that I sometimes even forget to just keep my mouth shut.

All I am saying is, go easy on kids and really encourage them to be honest. Don't give them projects that they won't be able to do anyways, so they won't learn to say someone else's work is their own. Don't point out their mistakes so harshly that they feel they have to lie to explain themselves. Don't lie yourself so your kids won't learn it from you. Don't be suspicious of their honesty either, for if you are, they feel there's no point being honest anyways. Bottomline- don't expect your kids to be something perfect, something accomplished, something they are not, because that's the same as expecting them to lie.




Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Women's Day Poetry Writing Contest


International Women's Day 2012

Every girl is a feminist. We all have that phase growing up when we can't stand the thought of injustice to women. Some of us- that is, the extreme ones- go to the extent of being rebels, shunning out everything society expects of women. Others are less radical and choose to just believe feminist ideas.

As International Women's Day draws closer, I invite all my readers to enter the 'International Women's Day Poetry Competition.' (Wow! I really made that sound like a big deal) It's a competition open to one and all and is an attempt to promote feminism. It is also my attempt to somehow be a part of Women's Day.

Topic: The Teenaged Feminist. You can write about how you found out about Women's Day, or about the things you did in the name of 'feminism' when you were a teen. Get creative, but remain true to the topic.

Last Date: 23rd March, 2012 (Midnight)

Rules:
1. The poem could be anything less than five hundred words long.
2. Multiple entries are allowed.
3. Participants must send their picture and mention any writing experience, future endeavours in writing and some general information about themselves. If you have a blog or book, mention the name/url.
4. All entries must be sent to shreyonti@gmail.com.
5. Follow me if you want to receive further notifications and don't forget top leave an email ID. In case someone is at the risk of getting disqualified, they will be informed.
6. You can use pictures, videos, songs et cetera but they will not be treated as a separate criteria for judgement.
7. Entries will be judged on originality and relevance. Deviating from the topic will result in disqualification.
8. Free verse is allowed. Poem must have title.

The Prizes: None. Before you let that discourage you from participating, here's something to consider. You will receive a certificate to recognize your efforts. A group of intelligent readers will review your writing skills. Winners may also get reviewed on any novels or short stories they may have written (specially for my friends from YALITCHAT). You will be featured prominently on my blog with your details and photograph. And last but not the least, what did your parents teach you about the spirit of participation.

So start sending your entries and spread the word. And by the way, Happy Women's Day to all! It truly is a day to celebrate.

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

International Women's Day Poetry Writing Competition



International Women's Day 2012

Every girl is a feminist. We all have that phase growing up when we can't stand the thought of injustice to women. Some of us- that is, the extreme ones- go to the extent of being rebels, shunning out everything society expects of women. Others are less radical and choose to just believe feminist ideas.

As International Women's Day draws closer, I invite all my readers to enter the 'International Women's Day Poetry Competition.' (Wow! I really made that sound like a big deal) It's a competition open to one and all and is an attempt to promote feminism. It is also my attempt to somehow be a part of Women's Day.

Topic: The Teenaged Feminist. You can write about how you found out about Women's Day, or about the things you did in the name of 'feminism' when you were a teen. Get creative, but remain true to the topic.

Last Date: 23rd March, 2012 (Midnight)

Rules:
1. The poem could be anything less than five hundred words long.
2. Multiple entries are allowed.
3. Participants must send their picture and mention any writing experience, future endeavours in writing and some general information about themselves. If you have a blog or book, mention the name/url.
4. All entries must be sent to shreyonti@gmail.com.
5. Follow me if you want to receive further notifications and don't forget top leave an email ID. In case someone is at the risk of getting disqualified, they will be informed.
6. You can use pictures, videos, songs et cetera but they will not be treated as a separate criteria for judgement.
7. Entries will be judged on originality and relevance. Deviating from the topic will result in disqualification.
8. Free verse is allowed. Poem must have a title.

The Prizes: None. Before you let that discourage you from participating, here's something to consider. You will receive a certificate to recognize your efforts. A group of intelligent readers will review your writing skills. Winners may also get reviewed on any novels or short stories they may have written (specially for my friends from YALITCHAT). You will be featured prominently on my blog with your details and photograph. And last but not the least, what did your parents teach you about the spirit of participation.

So start sending your entries and spread the word. And by the way, Happy Women's Day to all! It truly is a day to celebrate.