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.