Thursday, 27 February 2014

Time Can Transform Lives - Judy Dimhoikim, Head of Department of Education




They say birds of a feather flock together. Each of us can be easily influenced by how much time we spend with our friends, peers and colleagues. It is usually more difficult to give time rather than donate cash or kind. When we give time to our children, our friends or studies than we make a difference in that person’s life and even our own.

Time Can Transform Lives


Most fathers, if not all, when asked, ‘what grades their kids are in?’ have a fairly strong chance of getting it wrong, so much for “best dad in the world.” Statistics show that mothers fared relatively better off than fathers regarding their kid’s education. Probably biased but that is where the facts point to.


A teacher has many roles but if one were to single out the most important aspect, it would be- to transform lives, a rather daunting and challenging mission all at once. In school, the teacher’s task is made easier by the malleability and impressionable character of the child. Once the child graduates to higher classes, things could take a different turn- sometimes irreversibly for better or for worse. This crucial stage calls for a twin effort from both the teacher and the parents.

We live in a time when there are too many things that need to be done and too little time. With too many things literally screaming out for one’s attention, the important things are often drown out by the everyday din. Amidst all the chaos, parents should try and find the time to talk to their kids and ask them about their classes, curriculum, college, exams, and most importantly, their teachers. They might be hesitant at first but rest assured, they will eventually open up. Like teachers, parents play an equally vital role in the greater scheme of a child’s overall development. Parent’s role cannot be only relegated to that of a financial provider; doling out huge sum of money for admissions, tuitions, stationeries and academic expenses they are much more than Automated Teller Machines. Just as everything worthwhile needs monitoring, so is your kid’s education. In fact, what else could be foremost than that. If it is not that important as one might suppose it to be, it defeats the very purpose of formal education.

The most valuable things in life are not things but people and relationships. Parents should spend more time in a healthy relationship with their kids, especially when they need it the most because it will go a long way in shaping their lives. Mothers ought to cut down their time following their favorite soaps and serials, at the same time, fathers should follow suit by reducing their time spent following matches and games as though their very life depended on it. For the really advanced parents, just as you ‘follow’ famous people on Twitter, do follow your kids too.

At first glance, this article runs the risk of being mistaken for better parenting tips. Parenting, still an uncharted territory for me; the less I talk about it, the less I could be wrong. At its very core, this article suggests a pressing concern on how to better transform lives. As a result, it creatively touches upon parenting skills, which though strictly academic in tone, is a very narrow aspect of parenting. It is not a reprehension of parents’ ‘parenting skills’. Teachers can best transform lives when parents throw their weight behind them, and play their part alongside the teachers. Without that help, the attempt to affect lives is an uphill task at best, and a Sisyphean effort otherwise.

In his letter to his son’s teacher (Dear Teacher), Abraham Lincoln requests him to inculcate in his boy the qualities that he feels would be the best. His concern for his little fellow’s welfare is worth emulating in all its sincerity and spirit:

“He will have to learn, I know, that all men are not just, and are not true…

Teach him, if you can, the wonder of books. But also give him quiet time to ponder the eternal mystery of birds in the sky, bees in the sun, and flowers on a green hillside.

In school, teach him it is far more honourable to fall than to cheat.

Teach him to have faith in his own ideas, even if everyone tells him they are wrong. Teach him to be gentle with the gentle, and tough with the tough.

Try to give my son the strength not to follow the crowd when everyone is getting on the bandwagon. Teach him to listen to all men; but teach him also to filter all that he hears on a screen of truth, and take only the good that comes through. Teach him, If you can, how to laugh when he is sad. Teach him there is no shame in tears. Teach him to scoff at cynics and to beware of too much sweeetness.

Teach him to sell his brawn and brain to the highest bidder, but never to put a price tag on his heart and soul.

Teach him to close his ears to a howling mob and to stand if he thinks he is right.

Treat him gently, but do not cuddle him, because only the test of fire makes fine steel.

Let him have the courage to be impatient; let him have the patience to be brave. Teach him always to have sublime faith in himself, because then he will always have sublime faith in mankind.

This is a big order, but see what you can. He is such a fine little fellow, my son!”
 
“Degree of Thought is a weekly community column initiated by Tetso College in partnership with The Morung Express. Degree of Thought will delve into the social, cultural, political and educational issues around us. The views expressed here do not reflect the opinion of the institution. Tetso College is a NAAC Accredited UGC recognised Commerce and Arts College. For feedback or comments please email: admin@tetsocollege.org”.


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