Just let the children be

Aditi Mathur and Ratnesh Mathur

“The greatest reward for my efforts is what I become.” – (source unknown)

Somehow we assume that our job, just like birds, is to feed our perennially hungry children – feed them food, entertainment, thoughts, and dreams. Children also expect parents to feed them these different things whenever they complain of boredom. We run crazy from TV to movies, toy stores, and entertainment zones to activity centers. Phew! Somehow let me keep my child busy. Even as teachers we are constantly thinking of ways to feed children learning. From the time they are infants, children are treated as consumers.

But kids by nature are not consumers. One Sunday, we took our children and our friends’ children to Cubbon park (in Bengaluru). The few hours we were at the park, we simply sat in one corner while the children submerged themselves in the most varied activities. Not one child came to us and asked us what to do – they had so much to do.

But, the moment each parent went to pick up their kids, the children started demanding, “Can you…?”, “Can I…?” It was as if, for some time, these children had forgotten that they had actually been trained to be consumers. Why does this happen? Why is this generation bored so easily? Why do teachers have to resort to rewards to make children do something? Why is it that parents break into a cold sweat as their children’s holidays near?

We have a pet theory based on the concept of financial wealth. The theory is simple – if I consume more than I produce – I am doomed to poverty. However, if I produce more than I consume – then I build wealth – in our case intellectual wealth. The higher my produce, the higher my net worth!

Successful people are in the habit of producing – producing dreams, producing ideas, producing work, producing results! It is the same with knowledge – if we just receive knowledge, we may score well in tests. But if we also start using our knowledge (productively), then we will score in life.

The authors are part of an alternate school – Aarohi (aarohilife.org) and conduct parent and teacher training as well as help people start preschools/learning centers amable.in.

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