Tag Archives: Education

Bees Don’t Give us Honey

Yog (eating lunch): Mama, what do bees eat?

Mama: Bees eat honey

Yog: No Mama, Bees make honey for us. They don’t eat honey

Mama: No Yog, Bees make honey for themselves. We take the honey from them

Yog (thoughtful): So bees sell honey to us. What honey is left, they eat it?

Mama (laughing internally): No Yog! Bees don’t sell honey to us! We steal honey from the bees

Yog (shocked and adamant now): No Mama! That is not right! Bees give the honey to us. We don’t steal it from them

Mama: Where did you learn that Bees give honey to us?

Yog: My school book said, “Bees give us honey”. That is correct. We don’t steal honey from the bees.

Me silently connecting the dots. Yog is right. All school books tell us that Cows give us milk, Bees give us honey or Hens give us eggs. No book bothers to state the fact that all the above animals are reared by humans just like objects so that we can then acquire their produce. This is yet another gap I see in the way we are taught. Such education makes us subconsciously believe that these animals exist just to service us. We slowly start to believe that everything on this planet was created to serve the human race.  It is no wonder that human never even stop once, to contemplate why we are misusing the resources on the planet.

Creating education syllabus is serious responsibility. When children learn such things in school, they create a subliminal network where humans are considered superior to all other forms of life. Even within humans, some forms intuitively start to consider themselves superior to other forms like men vs. women, fair skin vs dark skin, western countries vs. eastern countries.

Short sighted curriculum influence the complete thought process of multiple generations and how they behave in the society. The impact of such errors will be seen on generations to come. We cannot include sentences like “Cows give us milk” in a science book and then include “We should take care of animals” in a moral science book. It is time we educate our children to understand the larger ecosystem of our planet and not just the human ecosystem. Even if, we as parents, cannot directly influence the school curriculum, we can definitely control the conversations that we have with our child.

The Master Key

Space Rocket

I hereby make a prophecy that 20 years from now, Yog will become some form of automobile engineer. While a car mechanic is also an automobile engineer, like any other starry eyes mother, I think he will be somewhere in the likes of Dilip Chaabria or working with the ISRO on the creating the shuttle to reach the black hole near Saturn. This prophecy is based on a simple fact that ever since Yog was able to focus his two eyes together, he is just obsessed with engines, cycles, bikes, cars, tractors, trucks and aeroplanes. For someone like me, who just not into automobiles of any kind, this is really a very big deal.

When he steps down to play in the evening, on the road, his favorite pass time is to climb on top of parked motorcycles and try to open car doors to see if he can climb into the driver seat. He is also happy to take a free ride with the passing auto-rickshaws. He loves to carry my scooter key with him and will try and fit that key in all the machines that he passes by. The same key in the ignition, in the petrol lock, in the trunk, in the cycle and in the auto as well. In his eyes, it is the Master Key which will make the hidden engine run to his commands.

Similar to Yogs Master Key for automobiles, Yog and Toyna, both have a master key for life as well. That Master Key is called “Mama”. Right from the time they wake up, till the time they get into bed (and sometimes in the middle of the sleep as well) they have one solution to all problems of their life – Mama.  Where is my book, my pen, my shorts, my homework, my friends, my father, my sleep, my fun, my life? All answers are supposed to be with Mama. As a mother, I think I ought to feel proud that they love me so much. But I cannot fool myself into believing that. This is not love. This is a one way, life endangering dependence. I think as a mother, my role is not be the answer to all their problems. My role is to be help them discover their own answers. If they are dependent on me for such basic life surviving skills, then I am surely not doing my job well.

The easiest way to solve this problem would be to let them fall, let them fail. In the process, they would learn that one, falling hurts and two, how to walk more carefully next time, so that they don’t fall. But then, as a mother, it is so difficult to let your child fall, let her fail.  Would I ever be able to live with the guilt, that I could have protected them from falling, but I still let them fall and get hurt? As each new school session starts, I promise to myself, I will let Toyna decide how much she wants to study. I will not intervene. I will let her fail or let her stand first, based on what she wants to do herself. It cannot be my decision. It has to be hers. But then, I cannot help check her books at the end of the evening for unfinished homework or incorrect sums. It is just in my blood. I guess I cannot digest my food till I know her homework is done.

So at the end of the day, if Toyna is dependent on me for her studies, I think it is because I have made her dependent. Because, I cannot afford to have her fail one class. Because, I think that she is not ready to own up her life, just yet. So the next time that she yells at the top of her lungs, standing in the middle of the bathroom, asking for her towel, I guess I better not complain. I did have a choice, after all, and I still chose to be their Master Key. Alas! I am not proud of this fact, but I guess I am willing to live with the guilt of having them dependent on me, than living with the guilt that I didn’t do enough.

Read Me from Inside

 

Read me Inside

When I was growing up, I used books to help me find my way in life. Not the way, one would traditionally expect books to be used (by reading them). Whenever in doubt, I remember opening a random book at a random page and reading out a random line from that page. I was once told that random lines, like these, can help one find the answer they are seeking. Looking back, I understand how it worked.  The random line helped put into words, the deepest thought that I was not able to find on my own. The answer was always there inside me, but sometimes it needed a little help to get it out, in front of me.

The good thing about this technique is that if the answer is not already inside, there is no answer that comes out. I remember, at times, turning many pages and still not finding the answer. The lack of an answer forced me to think/seek more, till an answer was finally formed inside me.

In the world of today, Google is supposed to play the role of books for us, both literally and metaphysically. Any question you type, you are bound to find an answer. Want to know if your child has a serious disease, you can search everything about it online. Which degree should you enroll for? What clothes are in fashion? What is the best way lose weight?  Even questions like, how to find out if your partner is cheating on you?

Information is just a click away, but sensibility eons away. Because Google makes it so easy for us to find an answer,  I think we have lost the ability to even ask the right question. In place of searching what’s in fashion,  shouldn’t we be asking ourselves what do we really like to wear? In place of searching which course we should enroll for, shouldn’t we be asking what is that I really want to do in life. Rather than reading “10 signs that your spouse is cheating on you”, shouldn’t we listen to our heart and our spouse instead.

I believe the biggest answers are always inside. Twenty million Google put together can never ever get that answer out. All Google can do is give us the satisfaction that we have found an answer and disable us from seeking the answer meant for us.

 

The drawing is that of a card gifted to me by Toyna. Outside the card it says “Read me from Inside”. The inner wordings have always  been, “I love you Mama”

Learning about the World

Morning walks with Yog have now transformed from “Learning to Walk” exercise, to “Learning about his World” exercise. We walk less, but stoop more to pick up things from the road. He feels almost every fallen item on the road to explore its colour and texture. If there is something very interesting (usually a stone or a shiny wrapper), he decides to sit down on the road or on the mud alongside the road to give the item its full attention. In the initial days, I used to worry about hygiene and infections, but I figured the amount of learning involved for him in this whole exercise is much more than the possibility of him contracting an infection. Nonetheless, to keep my mother’s anxiety at bay, we have timed his baths to just after his walks, so we can scrub him off all the germs that he has so lovingly explored.

Today, as he sat down on the road rubbing his hands in the mud and pebbles, a lady walked up to us with a look of complete disapproval. By her attire and accent, I could make out that she belonged to one of the slum communities that we have near our house. She looked at me and said, “Can’t you see your son is sitting on the road?”. I was surprised by her tone of voice and was taken aback a little. My response was brief and curt, “Yes, he is sitting on the road! So..?” She gave me an exasperated look and walked away. I realize she was trying to tell me that my son can fall sick by so many germs surrounding him. I am guessing in her mind, she assumed that people with intellect and money should not indulge in primitive games like this. For the lesser privileged children, they didn’t have a choice but to run and play on the roads. But how could I, educated female of the modern era, have my sun exposed to so many germs?

While coming back home, I had this constant thought running in mind – Does the possession of education and monetary resources mean that we have to live our lives away from the ground? Just because my son can have all the toys he desires, should I deny him the enjoyment of rolling in the mud and picking up stones? More than the enjoyment involved, I seriously believe such activities immensely aid in the development of motor skills of young children and help them learn about their world. Should I deny him this essential learning, because I have been fortunate to be educated?

As we grow up the ladder of education, innovation and success, I so wish we could keep our lives simple, as close to the ground as possible. Yog loves it for now and I hope I am able to keep it this way for some more years to come before the world of technology floods him.