Options are the most essential feature of life. Options are what make life. Options are our life. You are reading this because you chose to. You did have other options as to what you could have done with your precious time, but you chose to read this. You chose this option (and I’m flattered, to be quite honest.)
I have started to realize this horrific scenario lately, of how children, at a very young age, are being robbed of this feature. Children are young and gullible beings. They can easily be forced to believe in what you want to them believe. You can make them think that their father is superman, that Santa Claus exists, and that the tooth fairy will leave them little toys under their pillow. This is a wonderful way to bond with your kid, a wonderful way for them to look up to you, to learn great etiquettes and to overall be the exact kid that you weren’t. The problem arises when this very act is stretched to unreal dimensions.
Children these days are all exact replicas of each other. They all wear the same clothes, eat the same green vegetables, watch the same kind of TV and read the same kind of books. Even mathematically, the probability that most kids choose ‘History Channel’ as their favorite TV station out of the thousands of possible stations they could enjoy, is very rare. Then how come all children turn out to choose identical? Children have a right to choose as to what their favorite food is, and not have ‘spinach’ be forced upon as them as the only option of delicious food there is. Children are reckless, curious and smart. Children have the brain potential many adults cannot even begin to comprehend. These adults, stupid themselves, seldom realize the value of genius which is currently sitting in their room and reading Stephen Hawking, just because you were never smart enough to read it yourself. It’s these stupid parents who go to their child’s teacher and asks them as to why their kid failed physics, not realizing that their kid is probably the next Picasso, and his talent with a bunch of colors and a canvas is much greater than his pseudo- knowledge of thermodynamics.
This post was slightly inspired by this fourth grader I met a few days back. All in all a very well behaved kid. In fact, way too well behaved. His parents were constantly throwing furtive glances at this kid, making sure he does exactly what he is told. Now what really hit me was his reply to when I said ‘HI’ to him. He politely replied with a “How do you do, ma’am?” Later, I realized that this very eight year old is taking intense coaching classes for a college entrance exam, which he will appear for when he is eighteen. Thinking he was some sort of mentally advanced genius, I asked him a few questions as to why he applied to these rigorous courses. To this, he had absolutely no reply. That’s when he looked at me with his scared and tired little eyes and whispered, “I don’t even know why I’m doing this, I don’t understand anything. My friends call me to play football and I can never go. Mom says I can play football if I clear this test. I don’t want to clear this test. Does this mean I can’t play football ever again?”
This little kid is, from this moment onwards, robbed of his options. He has no way to choose what happens in his life, all events are strategically planned out by his high- expectations parents. This little kid will clear that test; this little kid will go to that prestigious college; this little kid will have a wonderful, high- paying, envy- worthy job. Perfect, isn’t it? That is exactly the kind of person he will become, exactly the kind of person his parents wanted him to be. But when he is thirty- five, and he will look back at his life, it will strike him. It will strike him hard. It will be a blow on his heart, and will, surely, shatter him. What had he done with his life? He will be a robot. A mindless, mechanical robot.
My point here is, in fact, simple. Options are important. They will determine our life. What others choose for us is not always correct. Why do we trust others to make decisions about our lives? They are living their lives too. They are making mistakes, learning things and shaping their lives themselves. You have a right to do so too. They are also living. So are you. They haven’t lived a perfect life before, and have no way to decide if they are choosing the correct options. There are no correct options. There are my options, and your options. All options are correct options.
Choose from your options, all the options. Choose chocolate cake over spinach. Choose Hannah Montana over History Channel. Choose literature over math.
Choose life over existing.
Choose options over pseudo- happiness.