CHILDREN ARE THE ‘SUN’ OF HOPE ILLUMINATING THE WORLD
“Every child comes with a message that God is not yet discouraged of man.” Rabindranath Tagore
Generally, when I sit to write an article, the focus is always at the problems that the kids are facing these days and what could be done in order to come up with apt solutions and how these solutions can be implemented by the teachers and parents. But, it gives me immense pleasure to tell you that a few incidents and things happening around the world have brought a happy realization to me and reconfirmed my belief that kids give us important life lessons which cannot be learnt from complicated philosophies.
Recently on a trip with students of age 10-11 years I felt privileged to observe the beauty of being in the company of kids outside the structured world of the school or home. They were well behaved, maintained the decorum and showed heartfelt reverence to the teachers and elders. They displayed impeccable table manners and commendable food habits. They were respectful towards the hotel staff and helpers. The humility and grace they exhibited made me contended and proud. This definitely reflects the values taught to them in the family. This trip strengthened my belief that kids are humble and capable of showcasing pious innocence and positivity. Therefore, the parents and teachers of the present times need to understand that they have the great responsibility to perpetuate this inherent positivity and to not let the negatives of the world deprive these kids of their innocence.
Another incident that touched my heart happened with two little girls on the trip. One of them had her birthday and the teachers had already prepared to surprise her (they had already arranged cake for her) but in order to have fun they started asking for cake from her as a treat to celebrate the day. The other girl overheard this conversation and could not bear that her classmate had no cake to offer on her birthday. The little girl with a big heart offered a pack of Britannia cake to her so that her birthday could be celebrated. Everyone was touched by this beautiful and selfless gesture. Surprisingly, I came to know later that these girls weren’t even good friends and rarely interacted with each other in the past. But I would take a moment to appreciate the values inculcated in this kid by the parents and the lesson we adults could learn from her. I could realize that this child was exposed to an excellent and conducive environment at home that is why she developed this empathy. We can learn from this young girl that friendship is not that difficult to initiate and then nurture. This was not and is not an isolated case but most of our kids are like this and if not so then we should blame nobody else but self. All we need to have is a generous heart. “In the sweetness of friendship let there be laughter, and sharing of pleasures. For in the dew of little things the heart finds its morning and is refreshed.” The beauty of little things is shown to us by these young ones.
Here I would like to compliment and express my gratitude to all those parents( and they are in majority) for creating stress free and joyful environment in the family and teaching the kids values of compassion and caring and sharing.
Kids teach us to acknowledge emotions and open up about feelings and own up to our faults. They have the innocence and courage to believe and try new things which the adults tend to lose as time passes. They aren’t scared to try new things, laugh their troubles away, raise their voice when required, take risks and showcase indefatigable commitment and enthusiasm in every challenging situation. Kids teach us to dream and work hard to make these dreams a reality.
In a brilliant TED talk, which I would suggest my readers to watch, a child prodigy, Adora Svitak says that we should stop using the term “childish” when it comes to criticizing behaviour associated with irresponsibility and irrational thinking. She emphasized that adults had been responsible for imperialism, colonization and world wars. Kids on the other hand have done this; “Anne Frank touched millions with her powerful account of the Holocaust, Ruby Bridges helped end segregation of USA” and Om Prakash Gurjar became the first child to win the International Peace Prize as he worked for liberating child slaves in India. The children behave much better most of the times than the adults.
Children bloom to their fullest when allowed to experiment and grow in an unstructured manner. When we observe the classroom teaching scenario, a certain pattern is observed in the delivery of lectures. The traditional lecture and discussion method is often replaced by Flip Class, student’s initiation and discussion but the overall potential of a child cannot be brought out unless he/she is given an opportunity to express in an informal and unstructured manner breaking the monotony of general classroom expectations.
The life skills and social skills that we as teachers and parents often strive to inculcate in our children, cannot come only through formal teachings until these are lived by the adults around them. You can hail moral science as a subject but I believe that the inherent innocence and values of a child can flourish only when they are given practical situations where they can take lead and act according to their instincts, like in the incident discussed above.
There are numerous examples that I observe in the school where some students voluntarily and patiently accompany the other students who are not physically self sufficient. The care and constant companionship shown by these students reflect that they stand out from the others. They aren’t forced or commanded to do so but it is their genuine humility and strong sense of amiability that help them shine brighter than others and let them take a stand towards something good, humble and right. “Children are our future, and the only way for the world to evolve, as I have been shown it should be, is for each generation to be more loving and compassionate than the one before. This is only possible if we support the children around us, and protect and encourage them so that they don't need to lock their love away.”
This innocence and basic instinct of doing the right thing starts to diminish as a child grows and such practical opportunities and life skills become secondary as the child is forced to do exceedingly well in academics. As parents and teachers we should make sure that a children keep this innocence intact as they grow up and for that we need to give them more opportunities to be expressive in natural conditions. Let me elaborate with an example. When we ask parents these days to let the child develop their skills in sports and games, parents show the tendency to enroll the child in sports academies; when asked to enhance their creative skills and personality, the child is sent to personality development and creative writing classes. In these cases we tend to forget that the great personalities, orators and writers that hailed from our country did not take special classes. They excelled in doing so because they worked on these skills in natural environment without being mechanically trained.
What we need to do today is to let the children explore their qualities naturally by speaking on various topics and discussing social and political issues with their parents and teachers, playing outdoor games as per their wishes letting the natural instincts tell them about their capabilities. This is how the natural talents of a child can be explored and further developed.
In the end I would conclude with this quote, “The goal of education is not to increase the amount of knowledge but to create the possibilities for a child to invent and discover, to create men and women who are capable of doing new things.”