Guest column: Harder right or easier wrong?
The child also has to be educated to do the “right thing”, not to do “things right”. As we write, we make mistakes and correct them by erasing or overwriting.punjab Updated: Oct 22, 2017 15:41 IST
The other day I was asked to comment on the relevance of teaching morality to children of today’s generation. While my views were in favour of taking the harder right than the easier wrong, I was surprised to hear discordant views from those who had achieved great heights in the field of child psychology. Their argument was that in this materialistic world, morality was a thing of the past. There is a fight for survival and only the fittest will survive. Charles Darwin would often be quoted in support of their argument.
My counter argument quoting the Holy Scriptures on the moral way of living was of no avail and instead one was tagged of being “uncool” talking of religion, which according to them was a dying phenomenon. When an expert in a field differs with your views, one tends to accept the contrary view considering that person’s experience and qualifications. But sometimes it is one’s hunch that takes over, defying all logic. Intuition commences from where the intellect has reached its zenith and I was convinced of what I felt on the subject.
To reinforce my view, I drew a comparison of a newborn baby with a blank white paper. Both are as fresh and clear of any impressions of ink or values. What we write on paper is akin to the values we impart to a child. The spellings and grammar have to be correct. The Whatsapp and Facebook language won’t do.
The child also has to be educated to do the “right thing”, not to do “things right”. As we write, we make mistakes and correct them by erasing or overwriting. While small errors can be modified, it is difficult to alter the whole paragraph. Likewise in life, while it is easy to correct the “errors of judgment”, it is difficult to erase the sins committed due to “errors of intent”. These leave scars on our psyche the way erased words leave their indelible impressions on paper.
The script is finally perused by the editor, who may amend it or add comments based on his thought process. Similarly, when people in our life judge us, some of us tend to rewrite our values in order to conform to the ways of the world. Needless to say, only when the script is written flawlessly, be it on paper or on the impressionable minds, is it possible to avoid any cuttings or overwriting later.
Old age is analogous to that paper turned yellow with age. Only thing that matters then is the correctness of the contents of the paper or in other words how gracefully one has lived. Our lives must be worthy enough of being emulated and referred to after we are gone the same way a worthwhile document is retrieved from archives for “reference” as authority. Hence the need for passing down to children the age old moral values we have received over the generations. Unfortunately, a few in the audience were not convinced as to how the tortoise could beat the rabbit in the race of life.
(The writer is a Mohali-based freelance contributor)