Monday, September 15, 2014

Seeking excellence or perfection

The new government is seriously thinking to develop the skills of the people in different fields and want education which can make them employable and not merely degree holder. The emphasis has to shift from cramming to learning and that too creative learning. The education system should be such which makes all to explore their potential and make students’ happy to go to school or college. This should trigger a desire in children to work and they should avoid being forced for the same. The environment should be such that do not HAVE to do but they should WANT to do what they are supposed to do. For example, we usually say that "I want to eat food", and not that "I have to eat", until I am not unwell. If the same happens with the children coming to the school then there must be real learning taking place in the school/college. For this the parents and the teachers must ensure that two things are taken care of cautiously, one the self esteem and the other, the excellence. Self esteem is very important for everyone especially for the school going children. I do not want to prove that the teachers and the parents harm the self esteem of the children deliberately but unfortunately it happens quite often. I would like to quote some examples where the child was hurt and this might hurt him for the entire life. A child of age six years asks the teacher to go out to the washroom. He took little longer than what was expected by the teacher. After coming back he settles in the class but after some time again feels the urge to go again and seeks the permission from the teacher. Now the teacher becomes angry and asks the child to sit down and pay attention to his studies. But the child is feeling uncomfortable and requests the teacher to allow him. The teacher thinks that he was making excuses to go out of the class and scolds and make him sit in the class. The child gets hurt and loses the respect for the teacher. Not only this he loses the self esteem and never dares to ask anybody to be allowed to do anything which he likes doing or has an urge to do. The teacher in this case has let down the child though she might not have done it deliberately. There is another case in which a father and mother had some problem and the father in the presence of the child says that the mother was responsible for all the bad habits in the children. Though the fight was between the mother and the father but the child has been ridiculed indirectly. There can be many such examples that we see around us or have come across. If the self esteem of the children is hurt then there is no way they can be creative. So my emphasis is that self esteem and creativity go hand in hand. Any person who is creative can achieve excellence. In this discussion, I did not mention the word perfection but excellence only and there is a reason for that. To be perfect is too much for anyone because all of us have some or the other scope to improvise. I read it in the book ‘Power to grow beyond yourself’ by Robert A. Schuller where he writes that there is so much good in the worst of us and so much bad in the best of us, that it hardly becomes any of us to talk about rest of us, meaning thereby that nobody can be perfect except God. That is why we should try to concentrate on excellence than on perfection. A person can be considered to have excelled if he/she has done the best as per his/her potential. If somebody is able to achieve a target of getting sixty percent marks in his/her yearly examination and that was the best he/she could have then this is an excellent result though may not be the perfect result. An athlete was to complete a race of 100 meters in 15 seconds which was never done before, then this is excellent though may not be the perfect result. Doing best to the ability should be the focus and not necessarily following somebody else. The parents and the teachers should ensure that the children compete with themselves and not with others. The achievement of the others can be kept in mind but to follow and compete with them would not be a good idea. I have come across many cases in which the children were forced to do certain things in which they were not good. In the process they even missed which they could have done better. This is reflected in the attitude problem which we come across in the workplace. There will be cases in which the people enjoy the work assigned to them   but many take it as the burden. We all know it very well that all individuals are different from each other and have unique qualities. If not forced to do the things of others choice then the excellence will come out in plenty otherwise the life for the individual will be a stressful exercise. Let our way of teaching and learning be such that the kids perform to the best of their ability and are allowed to explore. They should not be blindfolded to do same form of things only. The problem with all of us has been that we rarely appreciate the input given by others and the reason for that is our way of handling and teaching our children at school and home. This would be a really great contribution on the part of the Education Ministry and the schools that the children are given opportunity to excel and not forced to be perfect, because if the perfection is achieved then further learning gets blocked. Our children should be brought up in such an environment that they should want to do instead feeling forced to do. Creativity and excellence should be allowed to flourish.  All children have the potential to do good in one or the other field and the parents and teachers should encourage them to excel in those areas only. Creative people will give to this world a new direction and ensure better living as per the changing requirement.  If we allow our children to excel and be creative then the percentage of wisdom will be higher than knowledge. Though knowledge is very important but without wisdom this is a waste. So, I would like to end by saying that excellence, creativity and the wisdom are the need of the hour and we should work in such a manner that this is taken care of. Parents would also have to think differently and be creative in their approach towards children and the same is expected of the teachers and the schools.