The school celebrated “Sanskar Divas” recently and this was done to pay respect to the grandparents of our children. The participants were the kids from class II. I can say it with confidence and with a lot pride that the kids performed it in an immaculate and convincing manner which must have given a lot of satisfaction to the parents and grandparents of these children. The grandparents’ day was very appropriately named as Sanskar Divas because they play the most significant role in the early life of the children as the parents of the children remain more occupied in their own work. The theme was based on our father of nation, in which children enacted those incidents of his life which left an everlasting impact on the impressionable mind of the young Mohan Das. The children enjoyed it thoroughly and we are sure that this method of telling the importance of truth, honesty, courage, love and respect for the country and countrymen is the best way than sitting in the class room and giving lecture to the kids.
While I was still under the influence of the performance of the children and depiction of selfless life of our great Mahatma, I came across a few more things related to the children of twenty first century. One grand parent who came to witness the Sanskar Divas was accompanied by his younger grandson whose elder brother was one of the participants in the play. The grandfather of the child narrated one incident to us while interacting, which I would like to share with all of you and the other statement was given by Mr. Amitabh Bacchan in one of his programmes of Kaun Banega Crorepati. In the first example, the grandfather shared the worry of his grandson of being alone at one point of time. This is a joint family in which all members are well educated and they care for each other. The grandfather is a retired person and is very well known in the society. The father of the child is also an ideal father and he cares for both the kids and tries to look after them with utmost care as possible. The grandmother and the mother of the kids are cultured and sensible ladies who are teaching all good values to the children. By their description we can not presume any problem to the children at home and this is true also. Both the children are well informed about the things which they should be aware of. One day the younger child who fortunately does not go to any school yet asked a question to his grandmother and said that he was facing some difficulty and the exact sentence which he used was that he was in some trouble. The grandmother gave a smile to him because she could not believe that a child of age less than three years would say that he was in trouble and the word used by him in Hindi was ‘Musibat’ meaning thereby a big trouble. The child responded to the smile of his grandmother by the statement that he was in trouble and she was smiling on that. The grandmother tired to find the reason of his being disturbed and the reason given by the child is a true lesson for all of us. He said that his mother was teaching his elder brother and his father was discussing something with his friends who had come to visit him and now he was left alone and no one was there to talk to him or sit with him. There are two issues in the mind, firstly, how does a child of age two years plus know the meaning of the word trouble and the second is, are we exposing our children at that tender age to difficult situations? Does it again not establish the fact that the children of this century are maturing earlier than they should? I have been disturbed more by this because I know this family very well and the entire family is so well knit and connected and they really care for each other. The grandparents are always with the children and they are rarely left alone at home. If the child from such family finds himself in a problem, when all other members of the family are busy in some other work, then what would be the condition of the children who live in a nuclear family and in that also when both the parents are working? Where will they learn the values of life from? Will this not cause frustration and sense of insecurity among such children? We must think about it and find an answer to such questions. The other issue raised by Mr. Bachhan also makes us to think further on the same lines. He said that thirty forty years ago, the teacher would go to the class and tell the students that we would study this particular topic and the students would follow the instructions and happily learn the same as told by the teacher. As on today when the teacher goes to the class, he asks the students what topic would they like to discuss. Hence, we have moved the full circle. The students are freer now to ask questions than before and they do take advantage of this opportunity. I would like to make it clear that I am of the opinion that the children should be given the opportunity of deciding what they would like to learn but this may not be possible always and with all groups of the children, but there is an urgent need of this to be followed. This is more pertinent now because of the family fabric of today. Earlier when the teacher used to give instructions and the students followed, this was because the children had ample opportunities to discuss and ask questions outside the class also. They were able to interact with their family members and friends while playing outside and not the virtual games on computers. The rapid growth has left our children with limited opportunity to go out and play because there are no parks and play grounds and the kids can not enjoy freely. Also the pressure of so many activities to be undertaken due to the wishes of their parents is not letting the children express themselves. People have different opinion about joint family verses nuclear family system, but I personally feel that the former is more beneficial for our kids to develop values and learn the lesson of life informally. But the reality is that the number of nuclear families is increasing day by day and the people are drifting away from their own people in this mad but unavoidable race to move ahead of others. So, the role of the teachers has become more important than before and they should take this challenge willingly and happily so that the future of the country can be moulded, guided and designed in a bright and colourful way. The young parents should also pay attention that their parents are the most important source of values for their kids, hence try to live together so that the children are benefited and the their grandparents also enjoy the days of retirement with their grandchildren. This may not be possible in all cases and all families but should be tried and followed as much as possible. The last thing which I would like to suggest to all the parents and the teachers is to avoid letting the children feel the enormity and implication of words as Musibat (trouble), tension and stress etc. Let them be exposed to enjoyment, happiness and care for each other. I expect critical comments from all of you so that we can discuss this issue further and contribute something positive in the lives of our children.