Only an education that can nourish inbuilt virtues can impart true intelligence
Today, it is the concern of every parent that their children should grow up to be well-educated human beings with certain values in their lives, and that they should be happy. But somewhere along the line, the link to happiness appears to be getting severed. We are losing the goal of happiness.
Look at a child, a baby, what a beautiful smile it has. What joy and friendliness it exudes. But see the face of the same child by the time he passes out of school and college. Does it still retain that joy, that innocence, that beauty that it was endowed with as an infant?
This is what we need to take a really good look at, and think: is there any way that the innocence of an individual can be retained despite growing older, despite maturing? If we can achieve that, then we will have attained something really marvellous; because innocence brings with itself a certain beauty.
Even an ignorant person can be innocent, but such innocence does not have much value. And an intelligent person can be crooked, but such intelligence does not have much value. What is worth having on this planet is an intelligence that is complementary with innocence, that does not destroy innocence.
Can we not introduce such values in our education system that every child learns to be friendly? In schools and colleges, if you ask the children how many friends they have, they’ll count on their fingers — one, two, three, four, five… Not more than that. I have a question for children: if you don’t know how to be friendly with the 40-50 children present in your classroom over a period of a year, how will you ever become friendly with the 6 billion people on the planet?
The basic tendency to make friends has been lost somewhere in the pursuit of selfish education. As a part of their education, children should be encouraged to make one new friend a day.
Like the protons and neutrons are in the centre of the atom while the negative charged particles are only on the circumference, similarly in human consciousness, mind and life also, all the negativities are in the periphery. At the core of every being, there is positivity and virtue. And if we are successful in finding the means to nourish this virtue, we will see the youth come up radiant and endowed with human values.
To me, the sign of true and lasting success is a smile (which nobody can take away from you) together with friendliness, compassion and a willingness to serve each other. That’s why it’s very painful to hear that there are shootouts in colleges today. I think it’s high time that we came together to identify ways and means of restoring the respect, honour and dignity that education has commanded historically.
The need of the day is a broad-minded education accompanied by a warm heart. It is of no use if you acquire good education and then begin to look down upon everybody else. A well-educated person is one who is friendly and compassionate, who can be a ‘‘nobody’’ with everybody.
And whether terrorism has its roots in leftist doctrine or in religious doctrine, they are all spawned in schools and colleges. That’s where the children and the youth start reflecting what is what is right and what is wrong; which, in turn, leads to deliberation as to what they should do to put the entire world right. A multicultural and multi-faith open-mindedness can come from education alone. Even if a small part of the planet is left ignorant on this level, the world will still not be a safe place.
So all the big thinkers and good minds in society today must ponder on a holistic, healthy education that will help us retain the virtues and values which we are all naturally endowed with. Together, we must help spread the significance of human values, broadmindedness and warm hearts; that should be our goal while bringing up our children.