Random Forays: School kids can be society’s emissaries

ByVivek Atray
Sep 10, 2023 10:45 AM IST

Most school-going children are highly impressionable and tend to lap up whatever they are taught by their teachers and peers.

The dearth of messengers-of-hope in today’s societal context necessitates a radically different approach by humanity. Grown-ups are just too busy being busy or are even occupied in activities that actually belie their status of being mature adults. And everyone is quick to point out flaws and dents in society’s fabric without offering to spend time trying to set things right. Thus, gossip and trigger-happy, or clicker-happy, criticism comes easily to most humans around the planet. But spending time and effort in attempts to redress the moral imbalance is not a priority for most.

School kids have the potential to be society’s emissaries. (Shutterstock)
School kids have the potential to be society’s emissaries. (Shutterstock)

When our younger daughter was still a tiny tot, she would come home from school and tell us how wonderful her ma’am was. Any difference of opinion that our parents dared to indicate with what her ma’am had taught her would lead to a flood of tears and total resistance. Whatever her beloved ma’am would teach her or tell her was sheer gospel for the child, and we later decided not to counter any of her ma’am’s teachings at all.

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Most school-going children are highly impressionable and tend to lap up whatever they are taught by their teachers and peers. Plus, the sheer scale of the population of school-level kids means that their energies can be channelised to carry meaningful messages home to all homes, everywhere. Society is currently suffering from crises relating to brittle personal relationships, burnouts at work, mental illnesses as well as physical health issues caused mainly by sedentary lifestyles, dietary transgressions and lack of sleep. Global challenges like economic disparity, climate change, lack of education and healthcare facilities, lack of visionary leadership and the digital divide, are also threatening mankind, so to speak.

Infrastructural and technological advances have certainly enhanced the quality of living, across nations. But the quality of human experience in modern day lives has probably taken a dip in many significant ways. It is time to involve, engage and even unleash the youth of the world to be the catalysts of noble and visionary changes in our collective ways.

A child carrying a note for parents is usually taken seriously even by frenzied office goers. If that note, maybe once a month, can carry a message of hope, of moral values, of calmness, of inspiration and of correctives required in society, we might just sense the beginnings of a renaissance. There are of course several sporadic attempts by far-sighted educationists to organise workshops for parents on balanced upbringing of their children, or environmental issues or road safety measures etc. But only a sustained long-term campaign across the length and breadth of the land, with all schools participating, whether managed by the government or private organisations, will make a durable impact.

Property-consciousness for instance, and conversations around family divisions, tend to crop up in homes when the kids are around. But if these kids are initiated in schools to the right attitudes relating to elders in the family and towards siblings who may have differences of opinion, they can actually begin to counsel their families. This may seem far-fetched given the stark realities of life, but it’s well worth a try.

Stopping assiduously at a red light, leaving a used facility clean, utilising waste-paper baskets, closing dripping taps, switching off superfluous lighting are the subjects of awareness campaigns that can be taken up by schools through their students. Even larger acts of benevolence like charitable donations, teaching poor children, planting saplings or counselling wayward youngsters can be taken up by families if they are spurred on by institutions through these young emissaries of hope!

Schools might not be able to prioritise such campaigns given the packed calendar schedules that they follow. But everything is to be gained by spending time in building up the values of the youngest generations and simultaneously propelling their collective attention towards the need to enlighten their own parents.

Each individual knows the delicate difference between an act that strengthens social foundations and one that injures it. But intermittent reminders from little school kids who return home enthusiastic, full of constructive new ideas, might just make them think again, before going the wrong way!

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