Sunday, December 13, 2009

There is nothing in a caterpillar that tells you its going to be a butterfly

There's nothing in a caterpillar that tells you that its going to be a butterfly.
- Buckminister Fuller
I had recently attended a workshop for children, in which they stressed the need for 'Value education'. While the academic education we pursue, fill our minds with knowledge, value education helps mould the inner personality of a person. While the outward dress does create the first impression, to 'hold' the attention it requires the strength of character.
A nice story was narrated, as to in a school, there was a class of very naughty and rowdy children. A person visited the class and observing the behaviour of the children said that the kids are going to grow up to be gangsters and wastrels. A few years later, as the person inquired he was surprised to see the same class students had turned out to be doctors, lawyers, accountants etc. He approached many of them to know the reason for their transformation and they attributed it to one particular teacher. He located the teacher, who by that time had grown quite old, and asked her 'what did you teach the students that there was so much of a transformation in them'. The teacher had difficulty remembering the class, and finally recollected and said, 'that class students... Oh I loved them'.
During the first 5-7 years the children are very impressionable and it is possible to mould them into good human beings. Like during the making of a chappati/ bread, it is possible to mould and make changes in the dough; if we add more water the chappati/bread will be soggy and if we add less water it will dry. It is only through experience that we know how much water is to be added; but once the chappati/bread is made/ baked we cannot change it. It is only during the dough stage that moulding and changing is possible. So this stage is very important. The basic idea of good habit forming must be done in this age. Old habits are hard to break and the further personality of the person is built on the values imbibed during child hood; not just by the parents, but also by the teachers and students in whose company the child is. Also the values taught by the teacher in the school must be compatible with the values taught at home. For eg if in the school the teacher tells a student that you must not tell lies, don't ignore his harmless lies at home.
If you take a container and fill it with marbles, you will see that it is 'full'. There is not any space for more. Try adding some semolina, it will slip into the gaps of the marbles and fit in smugly. Now the container is really full, or is it? Try adding some water. And yes, it will seep in it too. The marbles are the 'duties', the semolina is the daily 'routine tasks' that have to be done with and the water is 'play and fun activities'. So the most essential thing in life is to prioritize your important activities. If you fill the container with semolina first, there will be no space for marbles. So encourage your child to fit in all activities in a day, by prioritizing the important and the not so important ones.
And finally,
What you hear...... you forget
What you see....... you can recollect
What you do........ you never forget.
It is better to teach a children showing pictures and giving real life examples where possible, where it is imprinted in the memory of the child. If you can make your child do something himself, there's nothing like it. As the brain can recollect better in pictures, than simply giving a dry lecture which is easily forgotten. And remember value education begins from birth. So start now..

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