Not many may immediately recollect the title of the poem in which William Wordsworth quoted “Child is the father of man.” But almost all of us have either heard or used the phrase at some time or the other in our lives. And there would be hardly anyone who wouldn’t agree with the great poet. A person will have the same qualities as an adult that he or she had as a child. In order to have strong, happy and a peaceful society it is important that we nurture our children well. And values are essential for healthy brain development and growth of a child.
Education is one of the most important tools to ensure that our children grow up to be happy and responsible individuals. Literacy has been a top priority of all successive Governments. However, we are all witnesses to the current dismal situation in the country. Despite the literacy rates showing an upward trend, crime rates in the country are very high. Immoral practices and corruption is rampant. People don’t follow or care about the rules and regulations and so on. So what’s wrong with us as a society? Why is there such degeneration in the society? What is it which is turning these young minds into criminals?
The current education system is focusing on turning our children into skilled workers, scientists, engineers, technocrats and the like. But it is either ignoring or failing to impart basic human values that are important to lead a peaceful and happy life. This is a cause for concern and calls for a concerted action from all forward looking citizens; policy makers, parents, teachers and other society members in imparting value based education to our kids.
Value Based education helps in focusing on-
Being Human first – India is a country with diverse cultures. India’s language, food, architecture, music and customs differ from place to place within the country. Moreover, it is also one of the most religiously diverse countries in the world with almost all the major world religions being practiced in the country. In such a diverse scenario the first important lesson we must teach our children is to treat everyone equally. To respect and value the thoughts and point of views of even those who don’t talk in their language or follow their religion. The need of the hour is to encourage acts of kindness and compassion among children. Bullying, teasing and name calling which are very common among the kids must not be tolerated either at home or their School environment.
Practicing peaceful co – existence – Recently I read in the papers that not only the crime rates in the country have been rising at an alarming rate but also (and which is more worrisome) more and more juveniles are involved in committing these mindless crimes. Today’s youth completely believes in tit- for- tat. It’s important to make them aware that an eye for an eye will not serve any purpose instead will make the whole world blind. Small children should be encouraged to solve their differences with others amicably. A reward and punishment system is a good way to encourage good values among children. In fact, it’s good to recognize and reward children who show exemplary behavior. Similarly, problematic children should be ignored or taken lightly. Counseling, positive communication, praise for good behaviour etc can help bring about a remarkable change in such children. Parents and teachers can work hand in hand to ensure a healthy psychological development of the children.
Becoming Problem solvers and taking responsibility – We often come across people who blame the Government, the system or others for their problems. These are the kind of people who want to enjoy their rights without wanting to exert themselves or fulfilling their duties. They cause equal damage to the society as those in the wrong. Children must be taught to become problem solvers. Just like walking and talking parents can inculcate the habit of being responsible for their actions in their children. When faced with a difficult situation they should be encouraged to solve their own problems.
Respecting environment – Teaching children about Nature is not only a nice thing to do but is vital for their future. We are already experiencing the ill – effects of climate changes and other natural disasters caused due to our negligence or selfish approach. In order to ensure a healthy life for our kids it is important that we create opportunities for them to know, understand and bond with their environment. Parents can take a lead and talk to their kids about the importance of saving water and energy and other environmental concerns. For this the best way is to practice what they want to preach.
Abide by rules – It’s important to share with our children that actions have consequences and that negative actions will have negative consequences. Encouraging children to make good choices and obeying the basic rules of the house will ensure that they will grow up to become responsible and caring citizens.
I would like to sum it all up by adding my bit to the above mentioned quote by Wordsworth-
“Child is the father of man. And values are the guide of a child.”
*Photo credit: World Bank Photo Collection– Fickr (Used under the Creative Commons Attribution License.)