Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Stress phobia

The students of class XII of CBSE shall write their examination from 01 March and that will be followed by the students of the other examination boards. The students must have worked hard all through the year and many of them are well prepared for the same. But as usual, there seems to be stress in all those families from which any child is appearing in the board examinations. This is quite natural also. This group of the children is the one which has been through the conventional method of assessment and evaluation. They have been through the same exercise right from the beginning of their student life. They have already taken one public examination when they were in class X. From this we can conclude that they are better prepared for facing an external examination. But still they and many of the family members have not been at ease for the time they have been in class XII.
There have been debates and discussions on the topic of the stressful life of the children and the ill effect of the same on the overall development of the children. The psychologists and the educationists have been trying to reduce the stress of examination and some revolutionary steps have been taken in that direction. But the question asked is the same. Has the stress level gone down? When it comes to primary classes it seems to be having an effect but in the senior classes the things have not improved rather the children are finding it more difficult to cope up with the stress to which they are exposed to,all of a sudden. It would be interesting to see the response of the children who will join class XI if they have studied the simple syllabus based, term basis and have not faced traditional annual examination. Because class XI and XII will have the same method as we have been following for years. Now the question is that, should the children not face the examination at all because when you are not exposed to any stress at all then, would not this very little stress also appear to be too much? We can understand it well by the following example. The people who live in the areas where it a very cold weather, get used to that after sometime and if somebody from a place which did not have that severe cold goes there then it becomes difficult for them to face that severe cold. Another example is about the school timings in USA or European countries. The school timings in these countries do not usually change until it is some serious situation or an emergency. The students as well as the adults follow the same even if it is very cold or otherwise. Another example will prove the same. If you do not take a  walk for a few days and then start it all of a sudden, for the first few days the speed as well as the energy level would be a bit low. What I want to mention here is that having no stress is not really good. It has been advocated by many people that stress is not always negative but the same also helps in performing better but this all depends on how do you take stress or in other words, how well prepared we are to face the stress. Stress is there sometimes in the mind also. If we start thinking too much about the consequences then it is going to be negative and if we take it as a catalyst to do better, then it will help us to perform better.
We must ensure that all three domains are properly taken care of in our teaching learning process. The three domains are cognitive, psycho motor and affective. Our system has been focusing more on cognitive and the very important factors like affective and psycho motor were not given that importance as they deserved. Now the things are changing and we hope the next few years will prove to be good for the children as the government has thought of bringing reforms in a manner to give equal importance to the overall development of the children at school level. The parents and the teachers need to change their approach accordingly. Let us prepare our children for all the challenges of  life so that they take success and failure in the right spirit.
The government should also have inclusive approach. That means to talk about the reforms in education without focusing too much on the examination only. As mentioned earlier, if the curriculum transaction is good and effective then the rest of the things will be taken care of automatically. Let us not allow stress to turn into phobia but enable our students to use the same for better achievement.
 In the end, I wish all the students best of everything and may they perform to the best of their ability and not necessarily according to the unrealistic expectations of parents or the teachers.    

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Ideal Human being


I got an opportunity to attend a programme of a CD release in which people from different religions and professional background were present. My interest to attend the programme was the title of the CD. The people behind the production of the same are the ones who have been instrumental to work for the benefit of the society. They came up with such events and productions earier also and that made quite an impact on the mind of the people who happened to be the part of such events or were able to listen to the message conveyed through such cassettes and CDs. The title of the CD was Adarsh Inssan that is Ideal Human being. Though the message in the CD is from one particular religious book of a particular faith but it is for the entire human beings community. This is true that all the religions teach a man to be as ideal as possible and not just religious advocates. People can follow different beliefs and faiths but the central meaning and the teachings of all these sccriptures is the same. It is the man who has twisted, molded and interpreted things as per his own convenience. The people behind this production thought of bringing the best of their religious faith (the fact is that nothing is bad) in the language of general public. Sometimes we behave a negative manner out of ignorance and many a times are driven by so called knowledgeable people who befool us for their own benefit. The speakers who spoke kept the audience spellbound and the thoughts put forward by them were heart touching. This could be proved by the fact that in the programmes where you have  speeches only, people hardly prefer to sit for long hours without occasionally feeling bored, but here they were absolutely attentive all through the programme. All the speakers were of the opinion that all religions teach the lesson of humanity. When we talk of humanity that means being a human which makes us to think for our fellow beings also irrespective of caste, religion or the sect they belong to. The lesson of brotherhood is so common but unfortunately this is usually neither shared so often nor followed by all. If it was not so, then there would not have been any violence around us. Thousand of the people would not have been under the shelter of open sky. Not many of the children would have been deprived of food and education they deserve as other children born in affluent families. All religions teach us to respect all human beings and also the nature because of which we survive on this planet. Though it may be too ideal to search an ideal human being in the human being race but even if we can keep the trace of a humble human being within us, that will solve most of the problems which are mostly created but human beings only. But the irony of the situation is that we become so attached to the materialistic things that the human feelings become very short and insignificant. This is the cause of most of the problems which follow thereafter. The speakers were of the opinion that GOD asks every human being to extend help to others at the cost of their own comfort. In Quran, the message is that no human being in your neighborhood should go to sleep without having proper food. Even the ones who have done a lot of harm should not be hated rather embraced by mercy and forgiveness for all the wrong done by them to you. We can see it in all religions that GOD has allowed self to be subjected to all kinds of sufferings for the welfare of the human being. When HE can do this, then why the human being should be shy of following the path shown by HIM. Why should we not learn the lesson of forgiving our own people? I used the words own people because we all are the sons and daughter of the same CREATOR who has been named differently in different religions.
Let us try to take an example from a TV serial which is evident in our daily life also. A family has a lot of respect and affection for each other. The elders are respected by all and the younger ones are loved and liked by elders. All villagers were very much impressed and influenced by this family and respect them a lot. One day the youngest child of this family had some fight with other child and in the process got hurt. The father of the child gets very upset and had a tussle with the parents of the child who had probably caused the problem to his son. The matter became so serious that the family which was appreciated for the good relationship amongst them got separated. There was a lot of stress to all the members of the family and also the villagers but the two children because of whom all this flared up were friends to each other the next day itself forgetting all what had happened the previous day. Look at the difference between the children and the so called educated and experienced elders. The elders were fighting with each other and on the other hand the children (who were at the centre of the problem) were friends again. In this case, another important thing to be noted is that the children did not even know that they had a fight. This is the innocence which is very close to the definition of ideal human being. I would be happy to name this innocence as the pious thought and feelings of the children. If we want to be ideal human beings then this innocence should not be killed. But unfortunately this is what we are not able to do. So if we want to have ideal human beings around us, first we should try to be the same and then inspire others to be the one and at the same time the childhood innocence should be kept alive till we leave this world. We can see in different religious books that GOD behaved as a child in different ways. The ideal human being is very much around us but the problem is that many a times we do not allow the same to enter inside us because we already have a lot of desires and materialistic things filled within. If we can make space by deleting negatives from within us and let the ideal human being enter again within ourselves, then the world will altogether be different for all of us. My question to myself and to all is that, are we losing the ideal human being because of the reason that we are trying to become machines? I understand that if we are trying to be surrounded by machines then the ideal human being will find the home somewhere else but not in or with man. In the end, I would like to reiterate that if the ideal human being is to be made alive then we should not let the childhood die and rather should ensure the proper upbringing of our children without disturbing their innocence. 

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Shaping our progeny

It was about three years back when a news report had shocked the entire nation. While discussing the same with teachers and parents we realized that this was anyway anticipated and nobody was really surprised by that. A few incidents of the recent past have brought the discussion live once again. The latest in the series was the method to which a student of high school resorted to, was really the cause of worry and concern for everyone. What I am referring to here is, the incidence of violence in our schools. We expected this to happen (because of the way our children are being brought up and treated at home and up to some extent in the schools) but not so early. In the race of copying the countries of the west we have been questioning our own family and educational system. Sometimes, it appears as if the real concern for the children is lost somewhere and what we speak and do is for the sake of ensuring the phenomenon of change and the concept of doing the things always in a different manner. I am for the change but, as suggested by many people in the past and the same is shared even today, the change should not be allowed or forced for the sake of change. Certain basic things will remain same while peripheries may undergo some changes. The exhibition of the violence in the schools abroad has been very common but this is new to the Indian schools. As has happened in other issues that negatives of the other countries have been absorbed by us with proud while the good things have not been followed that frequently, the same has happened with our family culture and the school system. Our family culture has been very strong and most of the teachings for the life used to take place at home with the indirect help of the family members informally. As people say that change is inevitable, so this has happened with us . The relationship between the parents and the children used to be quite cordial and the children would follow the good teachings of the parents and they were also confident enough to question for something they were not comfortable with. If we try to understand the present scenario, we apparently find that the children of today are closer to their parents than what the earlier generations were. If it is so, then why the anxiety and frustration level among the kids has gone up? Why do the kids of the day resort to violent acts? Why are they not able to take success and failure as the part of the game? There are many factors for the same and the educationists and the psychologists are trying to understand the same but the most important of them seems to be the manner of bringing up the children. In a society every individual is important and has independent identity. This applies to the children and also the parents. When we talk of family or the society, in both the cases the individuality gets affected and influenced by each other. Nobody can survive happily in isolation. I agree that the children should be respected and treated in a dignified manner but the same is true for the parents and the teachers also. They should also be treated with dignity by all including the children. This is also true that the energy usually flows from higher to lower levels but as per the laws of physics, it flows from lower to higher levels also though the net flow is considered from higher to lower. The experience of the adults is important not only for themselves but for the children also. We study history to understand the success or failure of any event or its historical implication. The experience of the adults is exactly like that history because it is based on their experience with the help of which children can decide future course of action for themselves. This does not mean that the children have to do what their parents or teachers had done, but knowing about the experience would be beneficial for the children. The society cannot survive and progress just because of one individual but with the combined efforts of all. The children must be taught that self achievements are important but if the same helps other members of the society and the family also it would be all the more important. If we look at the childhood activities of the children we find that our children are very close to us and they try to imbibe what we do. They respect the parents and the teachers equally well. But as they grow some changes take place which is very natural. But when, for example, a plant grows it has to be nurtured and trimmed from time to time.Similarly, sometimes some control and guidance is required for even our own children so that their growth can be designed to give them a proper shape as far as their personality is concerned.The parents,teachers,elders,peers and society can guide,advise and channelise the thoughts of children as and when required.However, this intervention should not be confused with interference(which is mostly disliked by the youth of today).In some cases,this exercise of moulding and shaping may take more time and the progress can be slow and gradual with a positive beginning,but the children should certainly not be left to themselves to get deshaped.They should rather be nurtured with the tenderness of plants,not to turn them into weeds but to let them grow into shady green trees. 

Sunday, February 5, 2012

The real happiness

People work very hard to achieve greater height which is a very natural phenomenon and has been going on for the last so many years. The evolution is also a natural process but one of the most important things which remain constant is the change. We all know that change is inevitable and we have to go through that cycle whether we like it or not. Another thing which has remained constant for the human race is the search for the happiness. Though the reasons for happiness have been different for different people in different areas but the truth is that seeking happiness has been the desire of all races. Some people find happiness in doing some noble service for others and the humanity. In others cases, it may be earning and accumulating a lot of wealth and likewise. Some people find happiness in knowing the nature and trying to sustain that. But have we really attained the real happiness? Yes, there have been people who discovered happiness in the real sense and there are many of them like Lord Mahavira, Lord Buddha, Mahatma Gandhi, Swami Vivekanand, Swami Dayanand Saraswati,Kabir Ji , Rahim Ji and the list is unending. There search of happiness was altogether different than what most of the people in today`s world desire. They were happy doing something for the cause of the humanity. For them the whole world was like their family and they could prove this by their selfless service for the sake of humanity. They all try to get happiness in the search of the truth and the truth is that all the people on this planet are brothers and the sisters, irrespective of the region and the religion they were born in. Many of the names mentioned above did not have a lot of wealth and those who had it gave up the same, for the sake of finding the truth of the life and serving the humanity. The fact is that more money and wealth does not make the people happier. We all know that in many cases, the ones having less wealth are happier than the ones with lot of wealth possessed by them.
 I was fortunate to attend a function in a village a few days back. Though nobody expected us there, but we were really keen to be the part of that marriage function because of two reasons. One, the person concerned was really very keen that we attended that function.Secondly, we wanted to see the difference between the functions held in the city environment and the one held in a village. When we reached there, it was found that many of them were sitting together and all were really very happy welcoming the guests and the relatives. Once the guest and the relatives were the part of the host family, they started behaving as the host themselves and there was no difference between the host and the guests. What I mean here is, that all of them were happy and welcoming to others. They had time to sit together and discuss about the pleasant and unpleasant things which might have happened in the period they met last. The important thing was that even the children were the part of the group though their interaction was limited to providing help as asked by the elders. We realized that they were learning the lessons of life in an informal way. Also, the number of the people were limited so all could talk to each other and even the real host was at ease while talking to all the guests and the relatives. There were limited number of dishes prepared for everyone. They had one item of sweet and two vegetables served with chapattis. We enjoyed the same very much because everything used in cooking the food was pure because the wheat flour and the ghee used were not purchased from the market but arranged at home only. The people sat together on durries and enjoyed the food. They were served as much food as they wanted and it was found that the wastage of the food was minimum. Though the guests were served limited choices but they all enjoyed the food and the welcoming nature of the host. All this made me to think about the marriage or such other functions held in the cities. I think we rarely find the people sitting together here, rather in most of the cases the arrangement made are such that the guests come and have their food standing and holding their plates and then they go. In many a cases, it becomes difficult to meet the host because of some compulsive reasons. All have the free hand and look for variety food because there would be a large number of dishes available to them. To have many dishes is not the problem but the issue is that most of the people take from all the items and then the things which they do not like are left in the plate or thrown in the dustbin ensuring that nobody detects that happening. The idea behind having many dishes may be to provide cuisines of the choice of  the people but that is usually not taken in the right spirit. Many a times, it appears as if we had gone to attend the marriage function only for the sake of having food and not meeting the host and the family. Both the trends have merits and the demerits but one thing very important which should be remembered is that the wastage of the food is a sin against the humanity because there are hundreds of thousand of the children who are not fortunate enough to have proper meals every day. The huge of money spent on such occasions may give temporary happiness to us, is that for which we came on this planet?  The real happiness will be achieved when we shall be able to understand the real purpose of being on this planet. Striving for more wealth is not necessarily wrong but holding fast to wealth may not be letting us to be happy. We may get happiness in a one bedroom home, but the same may not be available to us in a big bungalow. The real happiness is not accumulating and spending for the self but for the needy ones. We should try not to show off the wealth possessed by us but use and spend it for the benefit of the human race. This may seem to be an ideal situation but if we try to see the people who were really happy are the ones who did not think for the self but for others. The people in the villages should not try to copy the functions and the rituals of the big cities because all the things happening there are not necessarily good or right and do not make you really happy. I am not against anybody but the request to all concerned is to be happy by serving others and not by wasting money more than the other person because you want to be seen wealthier than the other person.