Pratiksha Apurv writes on the dangers of instilling ambition into children. Published in The Times of India, March 16, 2018.
This is perhaps one question that starts from when we were children, and will continue even after we become aged. Did we create name and fame for ourselves in the world? We are witnessing a new trend where even aged people are not spared; they are advised to continue working so as to fulfil their yet-unfulfilled ambitions. Several websites and counselling centres have sprung up, to train professionals towards fulfilling their life’s ambitions and desires.
Each child is nurtured by the goal of ambition through parents and society – the message is dinned into their heads that they need to become ‘something’ or ‘someone’ important and useful. The child has to prove that he has some worth, by bringing in gold medals, whether it is in sports, music, dancing or debates. There is no respite, for this fire of ambition is lit and stoked even well into adulthood, middle age and now even in old age. The Atmopanishad says that our internal self is the victim of ‘ambition’ and we become vulnerable to baser elements like anger, jealousy, greed, frustration and suicidal feelings.
Osho says that ambition is a poison that is far more dangerous than any kind of alcohol or drugs, because ambition destroys our whole life and makes us move in a false direction. “Each parent is saying to the child, ‘prove that you have some worth’. Just being is not enough, some doing is needed. The whole society depends on creating ambition in you. Ambition means a conflict; ambition means that whatsoever you are, you are wrong; you have to be somewhere else.” 
I have tried to depict this message through one of my paintings in which a father is indicating the ceiling of the room to his son, explaining that he needs to rise high in life while growing up. The father is inadvertently sowing seeds of ambition in his son’s impressionable mind. This is the first wrong step, which, subsequently, is aided by society and institutions. In this race, since not everybody can taste success and reach the top, millions of others are bound to develop negativity which would only bring despair.
Instead of making the child ambitious about reaching the top, parents and society need to recognise the child’s talents, qualities and potential, and nourish these in an atmosphere that encourages individuality.
Osho says children are new editions of consciousness and fresh entries of divinity into life. “All that the child needs from parents and society is a deepening of innocence, and if a child grows with his centre blossoming, you will have, for the first time, a society of the buddhas, the awakened ones, a society of culture.” 
Lao Tzu, father of Taoism, was in favour of removing grades for talent and aptitude saying if that was avoidable, then there would be no struggle and no envy. His was a very hard-hitting question to the existing system: “Why should we make talent a grade, to judge people? Why should we not take it as the very nature of the person?”
Existence is not making a child ambitious; it is our misplaced social conditionings. Every child is unique. There is nothing to become, nothing to achieve. Let individuality in the child grow. Acknowledge the potential within the child and help it to blossom to its full potential.
timesofindiaindiatimes.com – illustration Osho News
Quotes by Osho from
 Dang Dang Doko Dang, Ch 3
 Communism and Zen Fire, Zen Wind, Ch 6, Q 2
Pratiksha Apurv – www.pratikshaart.com
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