Saturday, April 12, 2014

Where has the youth gone?



I loved the passage given for the reading comprehension this time by CBSE for class 12.  It’s about youth and values.  It begins thus: “Too many parents these days can’t say no.”  It goes on to argue why saying ‘no’ to children is important.  Giving in to all the demands of children is paving the way of their ruin.  It creates a generation of people who are never satisfied with anything they get, because they’ve been getting it all too easily.

Easy availability is a dangerous thing.  It makes you feel that you deserve the best.  If you don’t get it, you will grab it by hook or by crook.  That’s the kind of generation we have created, says the passage.

“Today’s parents aren’t equipped to deal with the problem,” goes on the passage.  “Many of them, raised in the 1960s and 70s” went through hard days.  They were whipped at school and at home.  They are the people, like me, whose parents went to the school and told the teachers, “Whip my child as much as you like.  Make him/her obedient.”  And the school never spared the rod in those days.  Those students who were whipped mercilessly by the teachers and parents are today’s parents.  And teachers.  We, the parents and teachers want to give the best to our children.  So we made it an easy world for them.  Too easy.  We gave them the best.  We gave them whatever they wanted.

Except values and principles.  We taught them to question since we were deprived of that right.  And they questioned.  They even brought the police to the campus if any teacher dared to speak a word that they didn’t like.  And the teacher belongs to the same generation as their parents who only want to pamper as much as possible.  How far can the pampering go?

I’m writing this because I met with a minor accident today.  I was knocked down by a bike driven by two “children”.  Both the driver and the pillion rider were less than 18 years old.  How they got the license to drive is only one of the many questions that arise.  They were driving in the wrong direction on a one-way road.  I looked in one direction only while crossing the road since it was one-way traffic.  These youngsters came from the wrong side and knocked me down.  I fell prostrate on the road at Chattarpur in Delhi, an area where the traffic is not too busy usually.  I got up from the road with dust all over my body.

“Saala,” the boys started abusing me.  I couldn’t understand much of the Hindi they spoke.  Thankfully, they didn’t give me the usual MC/BC adulation. 

I smiled at them and said, “You came in the wrong direction, you’ve broken the simple traffic rules, you’ve knocked me down, and you’re abusing me.  What kind of behaviour is this?”

The pillion rider who had stepped down from the bike came to me with a raised fist.  I said, “Ok, before you hit me, let’s call the police.  Let the police decide who’s right.”  I took out my phone.

The rider of the bike said,  “Leave it, get on...”  And the “children” continued to ride in the wrong direction.  Not before hurling a few more expletives at me.

My instincts said, “Bastards.”  I said it loud enough for them to hear.  But in Chattarpur few people understand English, thankfully.

Am I, as a teacher (I never dared rear children of my own), a useless entity in this society?  This is a question that has been nagging me for some time.  I’m happy I’m not a parent.  But I’m not happy to be a teacher now.

The CBSE passage for the exam ends thus: “That means parents eager to teach values have to take a long, hard look at their own.”

But the parents’ obligation will continue to be confined to question papers.  CBSE and the present school managements have put a lot of duties on teachers in this regard: duties to build up values in the children who are “bastards” in the sense that they have no moral parentage. 


My question as a teacher is simple: can the teacher alone build up values in children?  What is the role of the parents, the society, the politicians, and particularly the ADMINISTRATORS?


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26 comments:

  1. Although i agree with your views but actually you cannot generalize all children ! the society needs to take a hard look at how the youth are coping with issues like unemployment and job stress!

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    1. There are also good children, yes, Nima, no doubt. No generalisation. If I sounded so, it's my fault, my fault, my grievous fault.

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  2. Very true! Though I always teach my children not to abuse or hit anybody, I have seen many mothers teaching them to retaliate more powerfully if somebody hits them! I am so worried when these children grow up how violent they are going to become?

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    1. Ratna, once I told a group of students, "You'd better polish your behaviour a little, your behaviour is the mirror of your parents." A child's personality is already built before he joins the school, any psychology book on personality development will tell you that. What the teacher can do is work on what's already built.

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    2. Very true! I always teach my child to sort out differences with others through discussions, but sometimes I worry how he is going to cope up with kids who are taught by their parents to be violent! I remember, once I forced my son to go and complain to the mother of his friend who hit him, but was surprised when the mother asked my son," why don't you hit him back?"

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  3. This is a grave issue. Sir, you're true. Easy availability of things ruins a person. We are three siblings and I remember all of us getting scolded and spanked often. I burnt up my phone and my dad didn't buy me a new one, I am using the old and weary one. :) But I also see a classmate of mine spending 7000 bucks for a birthday treat (and I didn't buy a phone). How this spoils I have seen. Parents are to be blamed for this at the first place. This teaching of values has to start right itself when a kid is in mother's womb. A baked pot can never be reshaped.

    I am going to share this article.

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    1. You are lucky to have been born to such parents, Namrata. Too much luxury has seldom created good human beings. It is better to go through the necessary struggles of life... I'm very familiar with the picture you've drawn here. I see very rich students every day, students who don't know the value of anything, not even the material value, forget moral values.

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  4. Couldn't agree more! Parents are the first teachers. The sense of entitlement the next generation has scares me. I do not wish my child, any child, to suffer from the ills that plagued my generation, but nor do I wish them to grow up without any values or any sense of respect. It's a very fine tightrope, but we as parents (and also teachers), must walk it.

    Sorry for the trauma you suffered, and I wish you a quick recovery.

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    1. Thanks for the concern, Nilanjana. I was not physically hurt. The boys had managed to slow down the bike before it hit my shin. Nothing serious. It's their behaviour that I found highly offensive. The least they could have done was to say sorry.

      The sense of entitlement, you said it right. That's the malady

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  5. Valid points here, Sir.
    My dad wondered about 2 kids driving at break-neck speed, who had just avoided missing his car... Fortunately they didn't continue for long. Unfortunately they met with a severe accident further down the road...
    Glad that you are saved from a major accident. Usually falling on the ground on a busy street can have worse implications...

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    1. You find a lot of kids these days showing off their driving skills on public roads these days. Delhi is particularly notorious for that. There are late night revels by bikers in certain areas. But challenging nature's laws always invites risks, as you mentioned in the example.

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  6. Youth is living in the era of intenet where whole world comes in hands just by clicking a button. .everything comes so easily. .Parents provides all the facilties to their children just to make sure that their children don't get deprived of anything in their life..I want to relate it with ur article "BODY OBSESSION" thats the actual thing which youth wants to get know and understand and once they understand this then there will be no need of teaching them manners or I can say then parents need not be blamed for their upbringing. .may be western culture is becoming so popular in our country can be one of the reasons for the behaviour of youth.

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    1. We can't avoid intermingling of cultures in the globalised world, Varsha. What can be done is to give the required thinking and analytic skills to youngsters.

      By the way, I'm thrilled that you quoted another article of mine.

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  7. I too am a mother and I often wonder how my son would behave once he grow up. I also wonder which of my parenting mistakes might end up being discussed at the office of a counsellor. The internet generation is very fast and we parents are ill equipped for the pressures parenting these days.
    Don't blame parents sir..or anyone for the sake of naming. Right from the person who gave them the bike overlooking their age, the lazy traffic police and the adrenaline rush called youth all are eligible for the blame.

    Thank God you are ok... Be safe.

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    1. Dear Preethi, why did you ever think I was blaming parents? I never intend to blame anyone. I raise a lot of questions. I'm fully aware how difficult it is for parents these days. I have brothers and sisters who are parents and I know... a lot more than you may imagine.

      I'm ok. Don't bother at all. I think I have the proverbial cat's life. The number of accidents I have met with is not too small :) Interestingly, what has hurt me most is in my own school. I fell down while reading a book and fractured my leg which confined me to three months of plaster and another six months of limping. It's always the closest that harms the most!

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  8. Sry sir ... i couldn't stop myself from commenting on this blog...
    the blog left me speechless.... i could remember the time when i spoke to few of my teachers rudely... ohh how wrong i was.... they are of same age of my parents.. and being living in a hostel i can even say that they are the one who raised me.. pampered me ...loved me and i was so shamless i argued with them when they scolded me....
    amazing blog sir.... u made me realise my mistake :(

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    1. Aren't you always welcome in my space, Manish? You know me and I know you. You and 99% of my students wouldn't have behaved that way... Anyway, that's nothing. I have learnt to smile a lot in spite of myself... Make your future. that's more important than my blogs.

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  9. I referred ur article because thats the thing youth wants to learn , real happiness. .
    I have also commented on same ..it seems u have not yet read my comments on that

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    1. Yeah, I've just read your comment... Well, it goes a little beyond my normal understanding. Give me time to understand you. You know, in mylanguage (Malayalam) there's a very old (classical?) film song which starts thus: "Give me a moment to dissolve in you; give me a yug to understand you." Sometimes I find it easier to dissolve than understand. You seem to belong to that category.

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  10. Tomichan - you should have given them two tight slaps .. you are right the parents are to be blamed if a child cannot respect other fellow members of the society. I am not saying spanking is the right way to teach a child, but if necessary a parent should consider that too.

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    1. My god! Sangeeta, the boys would have just killed me on the spot. You should have seen their body language. And believe me, Delhi doesn't care two hoots for anyone killing anyone on the road. Delhi finds that entertainment. I have understood Delhi more than any place I lived in. It's a place of animals who wear all kinds of garbs. Even those of Babas and saints. In fact, the boys seemed to have been of some political party. They were both wearing white kurtas with some kind of headgear and a scarf which meant some kind of clout.

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  11. Very true, these days kids simply cannot appreciate little happiness in life as they are showered with gifts even before they ask for it. A similar experience that I came across in the sand park of our apartment, a young child as old as 8years gave back to me that their parents paid the same maintenance as I and hence could play on the swing for as long as she pleased, it was indeed shocking for me. I hope you are fine. Will share this article.

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    1. Too much pampering, desiherald. I read this morning in Malayala Manorama that the Kerala Board of Exams has decided to give 17 marks as grace in the political science paper of class XI simply because some students found the exam hard. It means that any student getting 7 marks in the exam will pass the exam which was out of 80 marks. The teachers in Kerala questioned the decision of the Board saying that it was killing the education system. But who cares?

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  12. Dear Mr. Tomichan, Thanks for sharing this post. Hope you must have recovered from the situation by now.. Yes, as someone mentioned, we do go through these bad experiences from today's youth and other people from time to time. Am not sure who or what to blame it for - parenting ? Yes, making everything available without sweat make the children not read to face challenges...

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    1. Thank you, Jayanta. I'm sure you know what Mr Narayana Murthy of Infosys did with his wealth. He refused to give it all to his children because he knew it would ruin them. He gave it to charity and asked his children to make their own wealth. Of course, he gave them the best education and the oppportunities to grow. that's ideal parenting, I believe.

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  13. Sad to hear that you got hurt. Even I do not understand where this generation is leading into. Earlier, children used to play outside, play with toys. But now they born with Smart Phones and Tabs. Even guardians gift them these devices at the age of 3 or 4.

    Question is what if, if one parent denies them. Even if one denies, when child sees his friends using this big tots, he will feel deprived. Ultimately, parents have to avail these things to their child.

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