Looking back at my own school life, my best memories are of teachers who guided and inspired us. Remember, “Goodbye Mr. Chips“, a film about a great teacher based on a book written by James Hilton. The likes of Mr. Chips are rare but there are such teachers who prepare students for life ahead. Times were when a child was reared by a joint family and brought up with a constant flow of some core values i.e. “Sanskars” when each living moment in the house was a practice of connecting with the core values. Every member of the family took upon himself the mentorship of the young one; however, with the disintegration of the joint family system and the emergence of an extremely materialistic society, there has been an abrupt change in the grooming environment of a child. Part parenting now seems to have been indirectly out sourced to educational institutions. Hence, teachers now have a daunting task ahead of them where they need to fill up the lacunae that exists in a child’s life .It would only make matters worse if the schools and it’s teachers didn’t come forward to fill up these gaps.
I always say to my teachers: “Hold on, although less recognized, less revered, you are great agents of change. Your craft is vital and noble. It is an enormous privilege to affect a future of radiance which even multibillion dollar companies can only dream of”. Schooling needs to include a whole new dimension i,e spiritual, ethical and moral. Therefore apart from imparting knowledge, schools must also address the need to imbibe core values amongst children. Our children must be helped to acquire attributes and moral values that stay with them for their life time. Apart from helping kids develop their spirit of inquiry, schools also need to ensure that a child develops into a well rounded personality with an equally sound character. We all need to operate from the soul, to have the internal perspective and a sense of accountability. Let’s not forget that the soul is the epicenter of our being. We need to activate the inner selves in our children. That’s why sunsets should be watched and meditation should be practiced so that children can develop humility when they realize their existence and its relevance in this vast universe. Children watch and observe intently and follow what they view of their parents and teachers. It is a voyeuristic society and students become little copies of what we are.
At home a lot of caution is needed when the children are left into the virtual worlds. Unmonitored and prolonged sittings can take the child away from the world of reality. We want well formed minds; not those that are well stuffed. Parents too will have to make sure that they do their two bit to instill the right qualities by creating a value based environment. There is a story of young parents that I wish to share. “A young mother was taking a stroll with her baby when a friendly stranger peered into the pram and cooed” What a beautiful baby!” On hearing this, the proud mother gushed, “Oh that’s nothing….You ought to see her photograph”. Here I have a question”Are we not as a society in danger of being so consumed with the image that we forget the substance? We become so preoccupied with the virtual that we forget reality. Habits of mind are abandoned in pursuit of materialism whether in the form of virtual obsession or consumerism! Do we have the wisdom to be discerning in the choices that we make. Lets dwell more on qualities of heart so that children learn to adapt, change, evolve and develop depth so that their self worth prepares them for life ahead.
-Mrs. KRISHNA BHATI
Maharaja Sawai Man Singh Vidyalaya,
Jaipur, Raj., INDIA