Childhood! What a beautiful phase of life it was, indeed.
Life then, especially, our life as students is something that we all look back at and envy our old selves for. Such were the joys that every moment is forever etched beautifully in our minds. We embodied innocence, mischief and discipline in the right ratio.
For us, school life was about waking up to chirping birds, having our parents dote and fuss over us while getting on with their everyday chores, heart-warming breakfasts, warmer good-bye hugs, a brief walk or a short ride to school. At school, it was about sharing joys and making friends and memories.
And jumping around everywhere as if we owned the place. Once school ended, we’d finish our home works and rush to the nearest playgrounds, only to return home when dusk fell.
Unlike the kids these days, we lived our childhood. Well…. Kids these days are definitely smarter and more tech savvy than we were. But,somewhere down the line, they do not get to enjoy what we did. They do not get to live, in the real sense, as we did. The pattern today has changed. They are programmed to live, according to someone else’s wishes.
As days pass and technology progresses, life should have become easier. While books are an essential part of schooling, they do not necessarily constitute the whole part of it. However, this notion is not something our system has come to accept.
We cram their bags with books weighing more than what they can carry, both literally and metaphorically. While existing policies mandate that 5 kg is the uppermost limit on weight of school bags for Class 11 & Class 12 students, we let a Class 3 child carry the same, every day.
Of course, while we do this, we fail to notice the ill-effects we ourselves are promoting.
And this baggage doesn’t restrict itself to weight. While the physical baggage is this risky, the mental baggage we impose harms more. We cram their brains, wanting to hold our heads high. We turn their friends into their competitors. We ask them to go beyond their capabilities. We make them learn what we want them to learn – dance, music, instruments, abacus, sports, and more subjects. All without asking them if it is something they want to learn. We impose upon them. Because for us “status’ matters more.
And in the process, we fail to notice that their dreams are being crushed under our thumbs. We fail to see innocence melting away and walls building around their hearts. We fail to notice them becoming dispirited and mechanical, We fail because we are too busy to care – for our own children. And when hell breaks loose, we blame them, yet again
It is high time we realise that children’s mental health matters, as much as ours does.
And their dreams do,too. This children’s day, let us all pledge to let our children live more and worry less. Unless, their well-being is something we consider inferior to our status…
All of us have often wondered, and by now mostly realized how much of a valuable thing ‘time’ is. And Randy Pausch’s ‘THE LAST LECTURE’ tells us a lot more about it.
This 2008 New York Times’ Bestseller novella is a phenomenal book co-authored by Randy Pausch and Jeffrey Zaslow of Wall Street Journal. A non-fiction at heart, the book focuses on the value of time and of life as well as of those little things that we have often taken for granted in life.
Randy Pausch was a Professor at Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. Like many professors here were often told, he was also asked to give his supposedly ‘the last lecture’, expounding their thoughts on death and what would be the last bit of wisdom they would share to their students. But unlike others, Randy necessarily knew that it was, indeed, going to be his last one, for he was diagnosed with terminal pancreatic cancer by then.
Published in April 2008, three months before Randy breathed his last, the novella is based on his last lecture at CMU titled ‘Really Achieving Your Childhood Dreams’, that caught the attention of many. Here, Randy, with a blend of humour, hope and sincerity, speaks of his childhood dreams and how he overcame the obstacles in his way to achieve them.
His life, lecture and the book are indeed a reminder for us all to live more and worry less.
“Time is all vou have. And you may find one day that you have less than you think” is a truth he uttered, relevant to us all.
Since 2008, India has celebrated 11 November as National Education Day every year, commemorating the birth anniversary of independent India’s first education minister – Maulana Abdul Kalam Azad. He is remembered to have said a very profound tought on education, which goes, “Educationists should build the capacities of the spirit of inquiry, creativity, entrepreneurial and moral leadership among students and become their role model.”
India has come a long way since then, and a lot of changes both moderate and revolutionary have taken place in every field. While we have embedded into our education the qualities he spoke of, the medium of education has, nowadays, been much spoken about. Especially with the breakout of the Covid-19 pandemic and the resultant need to find an alternative way of imparting knowledge, we took another leap in integrating ICT with our education system.
While there were many challenges faced in the beginning of this revolution, prime one among them being the lack of teachers with sufficient technical knowledge to guide students through this set-up. This is a serious matter we all have to ponder upon because how effectively something is taught matters more than what is being taught. The Internet, as a medium of education, is indeed beneficial and effective. It is proven to bridge the gap between the educator and students. With the innumerable possibilities that it poses, it is without doubt a powerful tool. The need of the hour is to further strengthen this system by empowering our educators digitally, further reducing the gap between technology and education. If this is achieved Maulana Azad’s dream of an education system that imbibes the best of qualities among leaders of tomorrow will definitely be realized.
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