It was in the year 2002 when we shifted to our newly built house in Jodhpur. This was a small colony with the limited number of families residing there. As this was not an old residential area hence the number of trees and shrubs etc were also limited. We planted a few trees and most of them survived. One day we found that one of the neem plants was broken from its middle which made me a little unhappy. I was not sure whether the same will survive or not but as there was a lot of attachment with those plants, I had a special affinity for it (all must have felt the same if the saplings were planted by them). I tied the broken part (stem) with the rooted one with the help of a cloth. I would like to clarify that the broken part was loosely attached with the rest and not completely removed. After twelve years, when I see the plant growing into a huge tree and providing shelter to many during scorching heat, I feel very happy. This ordinary incident made me think that if a broken tree can be made into a strong shady tree, can we not do the same to a child who feels broken, shattered or uprooted at any point of his life. The plant in discussion was not broken deliberately but by mistake and somebody concerned about the nature helped that plant to survive. The same is very much possible for our children also who are like the plants and are always capable of being an intelligent adult if given the kind of support and environment as required by them. This incident of grown up plant forced me to think that if the kind of support provided was not extended then the plant would have died an early death and the world would have been deprived of the environmental support given by the tree now.
The children are the purest form of the human being and this is our responsibility to provide them a conducive and well balanced environment. The news report regarding the corporal and physical punishment given to the children in the schools are very disturbing. This is despite the fact such punishments are completely banned in the schools by law; we still come across such incidents. The adults who resort to such methods in the name of disciplining the children must understand that the psychological and emotional problems arising out of such acts are irreparable and the children remain disturbed all through their life. The teachers must understand that they have very pious and important responsibility to let the children explore their full potential. Those who get frustrated should understand that they also must have been ill treated by somebody in their childhood and that impact still remains in their personality. The common reasons for the teachers to punish the children are incomplete homework, disturbance in the class, coming late to the school, not following the instructions of the teachers, performance in academics and many such very minor issues. If the teachers try to find the reason for such mistakes on the part of the children and help them to solve in friendly way then most of the problems will be solved easily but for this the teachers will have to have patience and positive feelings and attitude towards the children. Though the result of such efforts may not be visible immediately but in the long run the children treated properly will be better than the ones treated otherwise and might have been considered disciplined otherwise. As mentioned above the children become what they see and find around them. One more thing to be remembered by the teachers is that their role is not confined to look after the children within school hours only but extends much beyond that. The children are feeling detached from the family members because of the nuclear families and both parents working. They need to be understood well and to be helped accordingly. Though it is not fair to cite any true example but I would like all to understand how differently one starts thinking if the problems faced by the children are known. There are number of examples where the children confided the problems faced by them in the family or some other issues. The recent disclosures by eminent women about their harassment by near and dear ones in their childhood is an eye opener and proves what people used to say that the children do get emotionally and physically tortured by some distorted minds. The teachers’ role is not only to teach but even to know all the problems faced by the children and provide best possible solution for the same. I would like to mention about two cases which recently came to my knowledge. One girl student was considered to be behaving in a negative manner and the teachers and the children were not happy with her actions. Over a period about six months she became the talk of the staffroom and the teachers felt that she may create problems for all. When the same child spoke to the head of the school she revealed the causes of her actions and most of the problems were family related followed by the attitude of her teachers and classmates. It took hardly a month for the head to bring her out of that state of mind and this could be possible because of the support of all concerned including the teachers. In the other case, a male student started deteriorating in his academics and many people thought that his coming to higher class (XI) is the reason. The same boy met the supervisor and shared his problems. The concerned supervisor brought him to the head of the school and proper counseling helped the child come out of the depression, he was getting into. These are not isolated cases but such examples are in plenty in the schools. The teachers and the school fraternity will have to be more proactive and need to face such issues with the attitude of helping the children who might get disturbed or feel ignored or broken because of the family problems or the problems in the schools. Sometimes such suggestions are taken as an idealistic approach but if practiced and implemented sincerely this approach will yield fruitful results. Our children are not the cause for stress but they are the ones who relieve us of the stress depending upon how we treat them at home and in school. We must remember that if we cannot grow a tree then we do not have the right of destroying a plant as well. If the teacher cannot help a child then he does not have the right to spoil the future of the child as well.Let us take the initiative to allow the children to grow in sun and shade, nurture them with all kind love and attention, let them explore the horizons and create a history for themselves.
At the same time, I would like to suggest and advise all that there are many teachers who are fully devoted to their duties. They do everything possible to help their students as and when required and such teachers should be appreciated and recognized. For one incident the entire teaching community should not be blamed but at the same time the person responsible for not treating the children well should be taken care of. The teachers have the most important responsibility and if they live up to the expectations of the society then this world will become better and worth living for our children.The earth teaches us this lesson of being a perennial source of life despite the destruction it faces, similarly the teaching community can also be like the earth to nurture and inspire the growing children around.