“At the age of 15 attempted my first suicide and now it’s been 15 years that I found the meaning and purpose of my life. It would have ended that day and I had asked myself why it didn’t? The answer is hidden in the past 15 years of my life which I spent saving several 15 years from Suicide.
Teenage suicide most of the time is not a psychological problem. Evaluation is a methodology of identifying the gaps in education or learning. However, identifying gaps is not where the duty ends. Most teenage suicides occur because of neglect and lack of attention. If you as a parent are unable to give time and attention to your teen it’s not his /her psychological disorder. If you as a teacher has only been able to evaluate and then not bridge the gaps of the student, then his or her poor performance is not his/her psychological disorder. If the education system and its methodology are only about proving progress in terms of academically successful individuals, then the psychological problem lies in our system administrators, not the teen.
When I attempted suicide I had no counseling and yes I was not psychologically weak or disturbed. I didn’t know what was I missing? I didn’t have someone to sit next to me and ask me why was I troubled? rather no one to ask if I was troubled? When this troubled teen kept frantically searching for answers to situations like why would a neighboring Uncle who in the name of caressing touches her inappropriately? Why is a public space always a space of anxiety and fear of being touched in inappropriate places by strangers? Is being a girl inappropriate? Then I learned that being a Teen boy had similar struggles.
Gurukul systems in the primitive ages had mentors mentoring a set of teens, coaching, training to deal with every challenge of life. The present-day education system is just but a commercial ground for money makers and even if parents are sensitive they do not have an option to look to. Living in more than 8 countries of the world in the past 15 years has brought me back to the same gap identity, that teenagers are most neglected. Rather we just do not know how to deal with them and what to do with them. The artist will know how to beautify the art just with a dark patch of paint. Do we have that eye for creation?
Both parents struggle to explain or even face teens who boldly nowadays try to speak of abuse. Students come back to me, again and again, saying the same thing that no one is ready to listen. The problem lies in the fear that works in each of our minds. The fear is that listening to someone means giving a solution. Listening to your child doesn’t always mean giving a solution. It means just being there, hearing out their fears, assuring them that they will be able to battle situations and there are good people around. Open up and speak things which till date we have only kept hush-hush issues .
Abuse is not the psychological problem of the abused but the one committing the act. This is all I propagate to each teen. Imbibe confidence in them and not acceptance and tolerance.
I lived with fear and didn’t receive help and so I tutored myself to build my strength, however, this also created a stinging everlasting pain seeking closure.
One encouraging statement and appreciation from one of my Physics teachers made me give importance to studies. One Good word from my Art teacher made me strive for perfection each time. A moment of a break from normal teaching and allowing teens to talk, some workshop with teenagers, a circle of talents at the display, a weekly jam session to distress are essential for each teen. Internship-based education of four plus four months, exposure to farming, pottery, nursing, defense, theatre, etc.
The past 15 years have been a tour around the world and I have identified that mentoring is essential for each child. When parents are busy and unavailable then a mentor can guide and give the teen social and emotional guidance along with academics and overall growth. We cannot plant a seed and expect the plant to grow by itself and give us flowers. The grass is green only where it is cared for and watered well. It is a crisis in every society and in every country. We fail to give the same care and love to our teenagers that we do give to our newborns. We say they are not adults yet expect them to understand and manage every struggle alone. Give them time, love, and listen to their cries and laughter. They need it the most. Hurt and a broken heart cannot change this world into a happy place.
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