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Can you teach a fish to climb a tree?

Updated: Sep 17, 2021

Have you ever been told that you are not tall enough, thin enough, intelligent enough….? you get the gist. At different points in life, people around us build a narrative that leads us to self-doubt. We buy into what is being told to us and learn to limit ourselves. We self-select out of situations. For example, on hearing that I am not thin enough, I may convince myself that I am not good at sports. I have bought into the narrative that sports and overweight people don’t go together.

As adults, some of us can overlook this narrative and overcome self-doubt, but most of us end up falling prey to it. We buy into what is being told to us and learn to limit ourselves. Imagine little children and the subtle messages they get. Girls believe that they are not good at math. However, research proves otherwise. This is because girls buy into this narrative at a young age. They hear this from other women and various social interactions.

Similarly, a focus on marks is not a measure of a person’s intellect. However, a person’s ability to score good marks determines their ability to succeed. This is because the demand is high and the supply is low. An IIT can offer approximately 13,000 seats. However, over 22 lakh students appear for the entrance test. In situations like these, marks are an easy condition of elimination.

So as a parent how do you teach a fish to swim and play to its strengths? Is it fair to expect a fish to climb a tree? Not every child has the ability to score high marks. Some children could just have a bad day or be phobic of exams. So how do you as a parent ensure that your child finds a way to reach his/her full potential?

This generation is at the cusp of something exciting. They have the opportunity to play to their strengths – unlike many previous generations. Take for example the recently concluded Summer Olympics and Para Olympics – Indians did rather well compared to previous years. Clearly, this shows the shift where these players were able to play to their strengths and excel in an area of their passion. In the past, if someone said they wanted to be a cricketer- it was a distant dream, but today it is a possibility.

However, we are only at the beginning of this journey. We have a long way to go. As parents, we need to focus on the potential of our children. It is not fair to benchmark her/him against a peer just on the basis of marks. Each child has potential and we firmly believe this at NimbleQ. This is why we start young so that children are allowed to explore and experiment before they start buying into the narrative and stories that limit them. Low marks or high marks, each child has an opportunity to excel and be prepared for the future.

We teach a fish to swim in the water but not to climb a tree.

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