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Little Lessons by Selvalakshmi Arullselvam

By Volunteer Selvalakshmi Arullselvam, FHI Pondicherry

Albert Einstein said, “Education is what remains after one has forgotten what one has learned in school.” Well, truer words have never been spoken.

As a 21 year old, I believe education has made me the person that I am today and I sure owe it to my parents and my school. I for one am certain that I don’t remember a bit of the Trigonometry I practiced so hard or the Poems I recited so well in my formative years. What remains afresh in my mind from my childhood are the bonds I made, the taste of success I had after achieving every self-made goal and words spoken by and to me.

For whatsoever reasons I still carry around with me this debris of a whirlwind childhood, I can assure you it has less to do with the factual education that I received but is more inclined toward how someone/something made me feel. People may forget what you said or what you did, but not how you made them feel.

That is how big a role our emotional stability and personality plays in not just our life but in everybody else’s we tend to bump into in this very much fast paced world.

It is the butterfly effect, everything affects everything. Every mean joke, every random act of kindness, every appreciation has the power to make or break someone’s world. And that someone has the power to totally alter somebody else’s trajectory.

But sadly, we tend to overlook this house of cards. We don’t emphasize emotional stability as much as financial stability to our kids. We don’t give personality development and value Education the same status that science has or even so much.

When I saw Ms. Vaishali Chakravarty, Founder of Joy of Drama talk about teaching kids creative problem solving, aiding them in self reflection, instilling in them a will to venture, being instrumental in making an identity for oneself via Drama, I couldn’t have felt happier.

Kids to me are the canvas we need to use to paint a better world. And to use Drama in that process is truly mind boggling!

Teaching children is an art in itself where getting them excited about the process of learning is an achievement.

Of all the things she talked about, what I think is truly the need of the hour is ‘Humane act of Empathy’. It is hands down, the most glaring solution to more than half the chaos that prevails in today’s world.

Also, I found it really commendable seeing her educate the parents and make them a part of the journey because, who better influences a child if not for the parents? I found it very amusing and in fact a big relief when she asked the parents not to ask children boring and stale questions. And I appreciate her idea of sports in a child’s routine, because it is very much looked down upon as a waste of one’s time or as a luxury rather than a basic necessity.

Creativity involves intelligence and having fun. I can’t begin to fathom how exhausting it might be for her on days of a creative block leading to dead ends and how overwhelming it would be when she brainstorms for new ideas. But here’s me telling her that the influence of a good teacher can never be erased and we all are living examples.

I truly believe that someday, these life skills will become a part of the academic curriculum and not just a few kids with eager parents get to avail this privilege. I secretly wish had I had someone teaching me life skills as a kid, I wouldn’t have learnt so many things in life the hard way.

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