2020, for most of us, and in a way, has led us to slow down and embark on a journey of self-discovery. A year that started in an almost unpresumptuous manner, but took us all by surprise has it crept along. 2020 has shut us inside our pigeon holes, bringing almost anything and everything to a standstill.
School buildings have now been shut for six months, affecting almost millions of school- going children across our country. Amidst all this, one of the most challenging tasks have been to keep our million-plus school going population engaged and that too engaged productively. Well, as soon as this new reality became a part of our lives, most educational institutions have plunged into the process of finding new pathways to reach out to students.
An educator who earlier probably struggled to even switch on the computer system in her classes are today effortlessly making engaging presentations or videos and making the most of the technology available. Had it not been for this situation, no amount of workshops or seminars or webinars would have made the educator workforce so adequately comfortable with the use of technology. This in itself is a glaring example of how need-based learning or project-based learning is much more effective, faster and longer lasting than traditional learning.
We think of education as being limited to knowledge gained from books. But isn’t education that makes us a better version of ourselves. Let’s talk about the Japanese way of life. The Japanese essentially do not have a system of having house help, barring the affluent and high-class households.
So, all household work is managed by family members. Children from a very young age are taught to clean. Cleaning habits and expectations are culturally ingrained into students through daily home and school cleaning rituals. The practice is not simply for cost cutting reasons, but is rooted in Buddhist traditions that associate cleaning with morality. In our country , however , we view cleaning as a menial task left to lower classes.
However this is a time, which is a beginning of a new revolution. By the time this generation of school-going children grow up , India will be an almost developed nation. It will not be so easy to find/afford house help. So this is an opportune time to start engaging our children in household chores and making them take up responsibility around the house.
Children now have some free time, where they can actively participate in doing work around the house. First and foremost, it is important to slowly change mind-sets. This can only happen when we as parents start leading by example. When kids see parents doing things that were earlier done by a house-help, they will also be inclined to help.
Also share stories/ videos of famous people who do it. Like in the words of famous Hollywood actress Julia Roberts, “I like cleaning my house and I also think that one should clean up their own mess. You make a mess, you should clean it up. That’s just the way I see it. “
Make it an interactive activity in which everyone contributes, rather than a punishment doled out to them. It is easier said than done and will require immense patience, deliberation , cajoling from both parents. But remember, if acquired these are life lessons that will stay with them forever.
Kids who help around the house learn responsibility and gain important life skills that will serve them well throughout their lives. Doing chores also helps kids feel like they’re part of the team. Pitching in and helping family members is good for them and it encourages them to be good citizens.
The Swacch Bharat Mission started by our PM Shri Narendra Modi also aims at a clean India. And if we aim to fulfil this, young India needs to start cleaning up and tidying up starting from their own homes. If this isn’t real education, what is?