A critical mind is a blessing indeed

As a passionate educator, I am often surprised — pleasantly, I must add — by our own school-going eight-year-old child who every now and then keeps throwing at us his innocent queries regarding the value of education and how and why it promotes, or is at least supposed to promote, tolerance and understanding.

Especially interesting are his questions about our sociocultural and even religious differences. The ‘why’ and ‘how’ and ‘for what’ in such questions keep us, his parents, on our toes. We attach much importance to his school homework and class performance, but he surprises us by striking up a conversation about the need for environmental conservation.

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We explain to him in simple words why every parent wants to give the best education to their children, which is not confined to the textbooks alone; education goes much beyond that. There is a reason why parents focus on extracurricular activities and value education as a holistic process rather than being academics alone. More than his questions, it is the pace, frequency and intensity of his questions that leave us gasping for breath. But we continue to encourage his attitude to the extent that we can.

Today, when there is a huge crisis of moral values around us, in a society where degradation of merit and endurance is rampant, this budding mind is a whiff of fresh air for us.

My heart goes out to those who are deprived of this most essential part of growing up in a child’s life. A character-building moment that many parents cannot provide to their children owing to a variety of reasons.

Nelson Mandela rightly said that education is “the most powerful weapon through which you can change the world”. We have a child with potential and curiosity, and we try to nurture his instincts. We, the parents, truly believe that value education at a tender age has the power to change the world.

Parents who accompany their children to and from schools may use the drive to talk about various things rather than simply keeping the conversation limited to whether or not the home assignments have been completed.

Most of the interesting conversations with our child actually take place during that very drive. Try it if you will.

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