“A flower does not think of competing with the flower next to it. It just blooms.”
How did you feel after reading the quote above? You probably had a brief mental image of a garden filled with bright flowers blooming next to each other. And it’s likely that you nodded your head too, agreeing with the wisdom in that sentence.
Then why don’t we apply the same principle to the flowers of our own home – our children? Why don’t we give them the same gentle treatment we would give a flower, and allow it to grow and blossom at its own pace?
The answer to these questions isn’t easy, but Classmate, India’s leading stationery brand, has the solution in its new campaign – “Be Better than Yourself”.
Be Better than Yourself with Classmate
I could sit and write paragraphs about this, but I think the video below does a better job of capturing the ‘better than yourself’ concept beautifully – take a look and see for yourself!
The girl in the video didn’t get the results she was expecting, which was to outscore her classmates. She was so ashamed of her marks, that she couldn’t gather the courage to talk to her mother directly – she had to write a note asking her mother to sign her test book. That feeling of being less than the others is visible on her face, and it’s heartbreaking. Take a little trip down memory lane – aren’t we all familiar with what that girl in the video is feeling?
Yes, we can relate to it, since we’ve all been there. Everything we did – test scores, extracurricular activities etc. – was compared to what our cousin or neighbor did. The end goal of education was successfully getting through ‘competitive’ exams. These days, the competition seems to have begun earlier and gotten more intense. Parents compare development milestones, preschools and so on.
Why Comparison does more Harm than Good
It’s obvious that forever comparing your kids is a huge stressor for parents. But it has an even worse impact on the children being compared. Here are just a few ways constant comparison does more harm than good for your kids:
- It lowers self esteem and children believe from an early age that they’re not good enough
- Comparison fosters negative thoughts, particularly the need to always be one step above others
- It affects their performance in team activities, especially when they face the workplace
- Comparing with relatives’ or neighbors’ kids can breed jealousy and destroy relationships
- Kids grow up being unable to rejoice in other people’s successes
- Comparison breeds resentment, and can ruin kids’ bond with their parents
- Children fail to find true happiness, always equating success with material gains
- They grow up and repeat the same process with their kids
Tips to Encourage Kids to be better than themselves
It is up to us to break the cycle of comparison and to teach our kids that they don’t need to be better than Sharma Aunty’s son or Khan Uncle’s daughter – they need to work at being better than themselves.
And that is exactly why we can’t help but feel happy at the mother’s response, in this TVC by Classmate! We need to encourage our kids and raise them with positive values. Yes, it is hard, considering all the social conditioning we have, but it’s not impossible!! Like the Mom in the ad, we need to let our kids know that to be truly successful, you need to be better than yourself. Here are a few ways to do it:
- Stop any kind of comparison, even if it’s done in a passive form
- Let kids know that every step forward is progress, no matter how small the step
- Help kids accept failure and to look at it as a stepping stone to success
- Inform kids that their abilities are different from others’ and they need to hone them
Finally, it is absolutely crucial for our kids to have an accepting, loving and encouraging atmosphere at home. You are the gardener in your home; you can decide upon the kind of nourishment to provide your delicate flowers so that they can blossom to their full potential and celebrate their unique color amongst everyone else!!