Thursday, August 15, 2013

Children's upbringing and schooling

Here at Nagole, we devotees are not an isolated/insulated lot. We live amongst a lot of other non-devotees of Pujya Sai Master. Naturally there is a degree of curiosity, speculation and general non-understanding. More so in the first couple of years of Ammagaru taking up residence at Nilayam.

Once someone who is well used to us rushing to our numerous 'functions', daily evening 'satsangs', cook-overs and meetings asked, what do you do with your children? Where do they figure in all this? And as all Nagolites reading this will do, I could only shake my head with laughter. 

Because it all began with the kids!!!  As Ammagaru once noted, we adults so-called devottees do not seem much concerned about improving ourselves (despite all Their efforts). However, we do want The Best for our children and we are completely sure that they will get it nowhere else, only in  Ammagaru's Sannidhi.

Kids - the future - are always at the forefront of every activity here. They are not 'instructed' or 'taught' or 'disciplined' in the conventional sense. That is not to say that they are left free to do and behave as they wish. Since this sounds a little beyond the comprehension of us, modern parents, you guessed it  - all that training and discipline is for us! 

Parenting today is one of the biggest challenges of life. There is no training whatsoever to the new parents, the older generation unlike the previous generations is also quite unequipped to handle grandchildren. Usually they neither have the energy, inclination or resources. What is worse, often they are quite plainly wrong. For instance, the insistence of that generation on scoring marks, competing for government jobs or MNC jobs to settle overseas has led to highly specialized adults of today who cannot easily switch careers according to the need of the hour, lost career opportunities in allied fields of medicine and non-computer related engineering fields, lack of good faculty for educational institutions, poor vocational training, rapid population influx to cities, ...........the list is endless. If you think this is all obvious, you belong to the elite few. This 'marks', 'ceritificates', 'doctor' or 'engineer' mind-set of has been passed on to our generation of parents quite effortlessly. Hence the queues for 'certificates' and 'visas' are growing longer. 

If we take out some time to think, we would realise that our grandparents, ie those born in 1920s or later were an insecure post world wars, post independence struggle generations. No one  can fault them for seeking monetary security or making the choices they made. Our parents, ie. those born in 1940s or later were the generation after them, who faced the transitions from wood stoves to gas -stoves, national change to metric measurement and Rupee currency system, women leaving home to work outside, break up of the joint family system, telephones and mobiles and computers and emails versus telegrams and post.

All of these we take for granted today. If everything has changed then why are we still clinging to our colonial past in terms of education for our children? And how we want to educate them, which school or college we want them to attend, what we want them to become, determines how we bring them up today. 

The School is our new God today. The going rates of School admission and tuition fees determines how many children we will have. The School admission process asks for a nuclear family photo (police requirement??) and the income bracket to which we belong.  'Oh, wake up, its time for school' is our new Suprabhatam. We put in eco-friendly tiffin boxes what the school nutritionist recommends for each day of the week. We have to take our children to a popular holiday destination or his/her holiday homework essay will not be good enough. We have to dress up in our Sunday best for the PTA and our children's report cards are Our Performance reports. After all, what if the School counsellor says my child has ADD (Attention Deficit Disorder) or Dyslexia?

The question is, 'Will you give in to the 'System'?' or 'Do something about it?'. There is a lot of thought provoking and forthright inputs and discussions by Babugaru in a very valuable discussion thread in SaiMaster Forums, 'Pillala pempakam' - from 2009 which is wonderful read. It is linked in this post. You will need to log in.

Happy Reading and Happy Independence Day

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