Discipline and Morality: Collective Lessons through Parenting and Teaching

I had been to the School PTM last weekend. And this is what I had scribbled as the young faces occupied my heart and mind almost all day long.

“All it takes for a dull moody me to jump up all excited is to attend the school PTM. The keywords to take away: silent star, hard-working, talkative, naughty, distracted, quick learner, shines bright, lacks initiative, speaks less, under-confident, committed, disciplined.

A teacher must be respected for she/he knows your child much better than you. They know their strengths and weaknesses and can help focus on the need areas. Felt bad watching some parents who literally gheraoed the teacher for a typo error in the question paper of grade I. How is the child going to respect the teacher when the parents exhibit this behaviour in front of them?

I love to listen to their complaints more than the academic performance. Actually, it is not the complaints but the expressions on those not-so-innocent baby faces worrying about what the teachers are going to disclose today. While most parents looked stressed, upset, angry and dissatisfied, the children had lit up faces meeting their friends, shaking hands and winking to each other in the school corridors.

Marks or less marks or no marks, these carefree days must be cherished. It’s their right. We owe it to them. Those little secrets. Those silly gossips. Those crazy friendships. Those cold stares. Those adolescent glances. All of them.”

But there is also something that has been bothering me since then.
I noticed that almost all the parents had some complaint or the other regarding one teacher or the other. Instead of interacting with the teacher to assess your child’s development, most of them were spending longer periods of time in pinpointing the mistakes of the teacher. Interesting thing is most of the mistakes that were being highlighted sounded really silly and sometimes made up. And in almost all cases, those parents were more interested in humiliating the teacher.

It is natural that we want the best for our children because we spend half of our hard-earned money on the school fees which keeps on getting inflated year after year. Teaching good manners, kindness and compassion for others is not only a teacher’s job. It starts from day one. Right from the time you hold your baby for the first time. It is our responsibility. I heard a parent tell the teacher proudly, “I told him to give five-six punches if anyone troubles him and I’ll take care of the rest.

Is that what you must teach a class three student?

The other day Li’l Love ran up to me at ‘home time’ crying. Upon asking she revealed that two boys from her class stepped on a small butterfly that was sitting on the floor. When I told her that they must not have seen it she said that they did it deliberately even after she told them not to harm it.

She is over-sensitive when it comes to tiny insects, except lizards. She wouldn’t allow us to use Hit or Baygon. Instead she wants us to chase the mosquitoes away. A cockroach she says never bites and so must not be harmed. I still remember how her three-year old self had spoiled our holiday in Munnar after she found a beetle she had admired one evening lying dead the very next morning. We tried to tell her that death is a natural process.

I repeated the same lesson on the butterfly day. But she said that this is not death but murder. She is not wrong. Any death that is not natural and is inflicted by others is a murder. A definition that WE taught her. I finally told her that may be their parents forgot to tell them that hurting others is wrong and killing a live being is a murder. Her father too had a separate session with her.

  • Why are young children showing signs of aggression?
  • Why are they so disrespectful?
  • Why are they so indifferent?
  • Why are they apathetic towards others?
  • Why can’t they feel the pain of others?
  • Is it because of lack of time from parents?
  • Is it lack of moral education at home and at school?
  • Is it because of excessive exposure to violence and crime through newspapers, television and other medium?

I feel there is something grossly wrong with the way children are being brought up these days. Parents I have noticed are encouraging improper language used for fellow students as well as teachers by their ward. In the name of being more understanding and accepting, we are sometimes being supportive for all the wrong reasons.

Excess of anything is poison. Love. Neglect. Trust. Criticism. Discipline. Sympathy. Punishment. Learnt it the hard way.

But the point is how do we tackle this problem that is consuming our future generation? I believe only a collective effort from parents and teachers can solve the problem. Instead of finding faults with each other we must learn to find solutions to behavioral issues in children and provide timely counselling to the child to help him/her escape from major wrongdoings. They must focus on teaching the child the principles concerning the distinction between right and wrong or good and bad behaviour.

Together we can.

Parent-Teacher-meeting

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#WordlessWednesday #28 – Parental Love

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“Age is a seasoned trickster. To our parents, we will always be children. Within ourselves, the same yearnings of youth; the same aspirations of adolescence, will last a lifetime. Only to the young – blinded by our grey hair and slowing gait – do we appear old and increasingly beyond the pale.”

Alex Morritt, Impromptu Scribe

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The School Bus: #BarAThon Day 5

The initial excitement and enthusiasm shown by Mehul during his first few days in school has faded away completely. He doesn’t want to go to school anymore he says. It’s a tough task to get him ready for school every morning. He has become cranky unlike his cheerful self. And he screams at the top of his voice shaking the entire neighbourhood. Thankfully Rahul, Mehul’s older brother, was a sport. He happily hops into the school bus every single day. But then all kids are not the same. After all, he is just three. Aditi thought to herself.

Tring…tring…tring!!!

That must be the milkman.” said Aditi as she buckled up Mehul’s shoes.

“Hurry up! Finish your milk. The bus must be here anytime now.”

While Aditi put the milk pouches into the refrigerator, she heard the school bus honking.

Rahul, Mehul, pick up your bags and water bottles. I’m coming. The school bus is here.”

As she marched out of the kitchen, she saw Rahul getting out of the front door. Mehul must have already gotten into the bus she thought. As Rahul climbed into the bus, Dinesh bhaiya, the cleaner asked, “Mehul is on leave today?

Aditi was taken aback. That boy must be up to one of his pranks as usual, she thought. She ran into the house and started looking for him.

“Mehul, come back here right now or else you will have it from me. The bus is waiting.”

The bus honked for a while and then left.

“Mehul, Mehul…”

She searched the length and breadth of the house but couldn’t find Mehul.

Beads of sweat ran down her forehead. She was now gasping for breath. Abhay is out-of-town and is expected to reach only by tomorrow night. Aditi decided to call him up as she finally realized that Mehul is nowhere to be seen. Tears rolled down her cheek. She ran into the bedroom, picked up her mobile phone and started dialing Abhay.

That’s when she saw his tiny shoes hanging from the loft of the bedroom.

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Mehul”, she heaved a sigh of relief as she disconnected the call.

Has he left?

Who?

Dinesh bhaiya. He is trying to steal my peepee every day. It hurts.

Aditi stood shocked and motionless before she came to terms with what she just heard.

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A report of child abuse is made every ten seconds.

It’s not your child’s fault or crankiness. Look beyond what is visible to the eyes.  

Here’s the scope of the child abuse issue on ChildHelp.org.

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Stop the Abuse Now: Here’s How You Identify Child Abuse and Report it: The Better India
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I am with Team #CrimsonRush for the #BarAThon from 1st to 7th August 2016.

This post if written for the prompt ‘tiny shoes‘ for August 5, 2016.

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