I was walking in a park when suddenly I heard a mother getting angry with her son. As I reached closer, I heard the mother telling her son to act as she expects. I thought perhaps the child must have done something wrong or must have misbehaved. To my surprise, I heard the mother insisting that the boy lie about their whereabouts to his aunt.
This mother, like many other parents, wants moral value classes for her son in school because she feels that this generation is not growing up the right way. She, however, conveniently chooses not to be an example for her son to follow.
How many times have we encountered people with double standards? When we reflect on the way we have lived our lives, we will find that we too have been guilty of this practice now and then. When it is about others, we are vocal about it, but when it is about us, we say to ourselves ‘One last time!’ Sometimes we also become the cat that closes its eyes and thinks no one is looking at it.
These days there is this fad of ‘inclusive society,’ ‘inclusive education’… it sounds good to the ears, but in reality does anyone care? We have escalators near foot over bridges for the old, but most of the time, these are not in order. We have lifts meant for physically challenged people, but you find able-bodied men and women too getting in and crowding the lift. Buses have seats reserved for women, but we hear men argue why they should give up these seats when women want equality. Same is the case at railway counters and movie halls. Something is wrong somewhere and where else can it be, if not in schools? Because school is the place where the future society is taking shape, so the school will have to take the onus of doing things right. And this is why we have moral science classes in schools. A period to teach children about what is right and what is wrong. The class begins and the teacher teaches children to be honest, not to lie or copy, to always respect everyone, how to behave with older people, on the road, in public, develop empathy for the physically challenged and the poor. Perhaps five children in class will keep these lessons with them to check if they really work in life, only to find out most of the times such lessons are practiced based on convenience and the situation. Out of the five, three will live frustrated lives because they see meaning in the lessons but no people practicing them. The other two may either try and become the change or give up and blend with the crowd. So what have moral science classes done for us?
At every step, we have given children suitable lessons. But along with these lessons, we have also given them many wrong examples. What we preach, we don’t follow ourselves; we never walk the talk. Children are, therefore, confused, they find us adults hypocrites, so most of them just chose to grow into hypocrites as that is the most natural path and easily acceptable in society. Some struggle throughout their lives because they can neither let go of those lessons nor follow the norms of the society.
What children need is to see right examples, adults they can look up to, people who live by their values and not by the glitters of the world. But where is the laboratory to grow such adults? What a vicious circle we are in!
We want something, we say something else, and do something different altogether. Our heart and mind are disconnected, we don’t dare to walk the path, and remain mediocre, creating mediocre after mediocre.
Would you like to bring some change? How?
The author is currently vice principal, Suchitra Academy, Hyderabad. She is a progressive educator and believes that education is all about giving freedom to the learners. She is an avid reader and is always looking for opportunities to enrich herself and her colleagues. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.