Lead the way so that I can follow – is the what every kid may wish to say to the society. I reiterate this with a few happenings in school.A month before the school closed for the summer break , we were re-designing the curriculum .We were devising ways of integration of disciplines and life-skills. While teachers expressed concern about ” failing value system”,I differed because I believe that values are what we make of them. Many believe things can’t be taught , they must be imbibed . Everyone learns consciously (Planned) or unconsciously(unplanned) through observation .If we believe that everything boils down to- “What does this have, in store for me ?”,the answer is ” We should build positive environment because it impacts our lives.”
A friend shared this idea and I wondered if I could try it out with my kids in school. We took three bottles filled it with the same quantity of water,put a hand full of rice in each of them .Left the bottles in the same place ,some distance from each other. One bottle had small red flowers painted on it ,with the word- Love , the second had small black dots painted , with the word -Hate. And third bottle was left untouched. KG kids were asked to address each of the red and black dotted bottles using the words written on it .They could also add positive words and sentences in any language to express love or hate as the case may be. The kids came one by one and spoke to the red bottle and said ,”I love you . You look so beautiful.You are so nice. I like the color red.You look bright.You make me happy. …”.so on.
The kids then had to move to the next bottle -the black dotted one- they read the word Hate . Then turned to the teacher and asked ,”What is the meaning?Why should I say bad things”.We noticed that the KG kids were unable to call out names , or use negative words.Even if a couple of them( out of almost a1000 kids) said something for the sake of it, they smiled at the teacher and added pointing to the ‘Hate” bottle ,”But I like this bottle too. I won’t say this again because this bottle will feel sad. ” We were quite pleased with the outcomes.We tried it out with the first graders as well and we realized a few more could use stronger words.After a month of experimentation,we found that the water in the black dotted bottle had turned murky . The water in the red dotted one with love , remained unaffected.
Lessons we learn –
Children are pure and divine . As kids grow ,they fill a lot of negative thoughts in their bags. These come from the society that shows them how ,thus corrupting their minds.Their behaviour is a reflection of the society.Some become skeptical, even doubting good intentions and acts. Some fail to appreciate little things around them. The early years teach kids what is right and wrong .
Is it not important for us to lead and teach by example?
It was delightful for me to know that our little ones asked what it meant. It is a relief. We ought to encourage the kids to build a positive and joyful world around them consciously.How do we do that ? Can we help our kids resolve their differences among their peers that may come while playing?Can we teach our children to express their state of mind in words ? I was travelling from Toronto to Copenhagen, when a lady with her young son took a seat behind me in the flight. No sooner did they sit down than the 6 year old began to howl scream and bawl.Apparently, the mom decided not to give him another chocolate. May be he had one too many. He began to throw tantrums disturbing all the passengers. The mother was visibly embarrassed and used a high pitched tone with very harsh words to quieten the boy.The boy howled even more and she screamed too. The words were to harsh to bear.I could take it no longer and asked the lady if she needed help. In her high strung voice she said ,”Please” I advised the lady to calm down. She kept quiet. I asked her if I could handle her son . She said “Please get him off me” I told the boy “I can’t hear you unless you are quiet. When you are calm ,let me know , I can give you what you want.” The boy stopped crying abruptly. I smiled at him and gave him a small six- piece jig saw puzzle that I had in my bag .The boy was quiet . He was trying to fix the puzzle. He could not do so . It was the map of India!!!! As we got off the aircraft the American thanked me profusely saying that “only his teacher at school can handle Joe” . I smiled to myself as I walked out of the airport.
Teaching kids to handle themselves is a gift that we can give now so that they they have a stress-free future.
The third lesson is- if harsh and strong words can turn clean water murky, don’t you think similar words used on our children can impact their minds negatively?
Stop ,pause , think and speak for a positive future.