Schooling Children

Dear Learners, Teachers & Parents

I read an article on the famous Indian lyricist, script-writer and poet, Gulzar written by journalist and writer Humra Quraishi in The Week, Issue of April 28, 2013. One thought shared by Gulzar caught my attention and I quote it for you, here:

“Nowadays we are snatching away our children’s childhood by putting them into formal education too early. We are shrinking a crucial phase of their lives. My worry is that in the coming years, children, especially in urban areas, could get extremely lonely because of this.”

I think of my own childhood and those of friends and cousins. I also remember my mother, aunts and uncles and my grand parents describing their childhoods. I compare these memories with the lives of today’s children and do see tremendous differences.  Young children today are much more ‘grown up’, ‘smart’ and ‘savvy’ than the children of bygone generations. They face a more challenging world, no doubt. Their success, and often, even their survival in a given situation depends on their ability to think, plan, adapt and react more like adults than like children!

What have our urban youngsters NEVER experienced? Based on my interaction with children, here are some points I picked up:

  1. never climbed a tree
  2. never raided the neighbour’s orchard to be chased by the chowkidar
  3. never saw a cow being milked
  4. never picked vegetables and greens from their own kitchen garden
  5. never fallen sick from eating too many ripe litchees, raw mangoes or green tamarind
  6. never had grandma/grandpa tell them stories
  7. never helped to bathe/feed a younger sibling/cousin
  8. never got thrashed by daddy/mummy on the teacher’s complaint
  9. never ate food cooked over a wood fire or a choolah
  10. never cared for a pet bird, fish or animal
  11. never been sung to sleep (lullaby) by mummy/daddy
  12. never played dolls with friends
  13. eaten chanachoor in a twist of newspaper
  14. never used an outdoor toilet
  15. never shopped at a village haat (weekly market)
  16. never played marbles or gulli-danda
  17. never studied by lamplight or candle
  18. do not remember riding on daddy’s shoulders
  19. never bathed in a well or river ghat nor swam in a pond
  20. never ate a meal on a plantain leaf
  21. never saw fireflies in a dark field

Actually, the list is much longer than this. You could probably add to it from your own memories – unless you too, were deprived of the innocent joys of a rural childhood. Sometimes, I hear even very competitive and demanding parents of ‘all-round high-achievers’ become quite nostalgic about their own, far simpler and joyful childhood!

Do let me know in your Comments whether you think that in our anxiety to provide our children with a good education, we have deprived them of the opportunity to learn early lessons from life?


10 responses to “Schooling Children

  1. Pingback: Schooling Children | DPS TAPI CLASS 2 B

  2. Very True Article mam. What our gran parents enjoyed in their childhood days, our parents did not enjoy. What our parents enjoyed in their childhood days, we did not enjoy. And recently I can clearly see what we enjoyed in our childhood days, those things our children cant even think of.
    I do remember, we used to play lots of games like cricket, badminton, kho-kho, kabaddi, colour games, some social games, going out to parks and plucking fruits, enjoying a small party kind of thing with all the other friends each contributing something or the other.
    The days of childhood would always be missed and I would really want them to come back to me so that I can enjoy the same with my son.
    I would like to go to my village and stay there and enjoy the silence and beauty of that place, but such things would now not be acceptable to our children as they require AC, Water, Cars etc. which are not easily available in villages.
    But madam, really your post has taken me back to my childhood and I think I should plan a vacation to my native place with my son and other family member. Lets see if all agree.

    Thanking you.

  3. very true…
    now a days urbanisation has lost all the funs of childhood…somehow the parents of today are more responsible for this thing rather than the kids.. kids are always same.. may it be yday , today or tommorrow, kids will love all this activities but the restriction is made by the parents… so the parents must do something for son likes to eat the outside food out items which we allow sometimes. i think they learn what they see .. so the parents have to wake up the child in them & enjoy the things with this dance with the kids like a kid…

  4. Pingback: Schooling Children | DPS TAPI CLASS 6A

  5. I have become so nostalgic after reading this post. I remember how every evening we used to play for at least two hours outdoors. Our knees and elbows were hardly without a bandage. Every now and then there used to be a cut or a bruise. We used to run around like free birds in the open sky. We have played every kind of game from gulli-danda to cricket to football to what not. So much of learning happened – team spirit, true sportsmanship, etc, etc.
    As we grew up to be teenagers we started taking strolls in our by lanes sharing our day’s experience, new learnings in different subjects, sometimes a story of a movie that we watched and so on and so forth. In the evenings when there used to be a power cut (which was very common) we used to sit outside and enjoy the cool breeze and try to catch one or two fireflies (rarely seen these days in a city). If the power cut was longer or around our exams we had no other option but light the candle or lamp and study (our eyes still did not strain).
    There is so much that I can write. I can almost write a book on my childhood, rare experiences in the present day which I enjoyed and which made me what I am. I have no regrets as I learned the most outside the four walls of the school and the books – real life learning in the true sense. Today, you need to have a discussion to make the present generation know or understand what real life experience is.
    I sometimes pity today’s children – it’s all work and no play… We as their parents / elders prohibit them from enjoying their childhood which will never come back. We have made them restricted so much to studies and studies that they too are not aware of all these fun. We have become the so called protective parents. We have enjoyed every bit of our childhood – from enjoying the monsoon, getting completely drenched in the rain to walking half a kilometer to our bus stops taking the juniors along with us and feel so responsible for them, WHY NOT ALLOW OUR CHILDREN???
    But at the end of the day, we have made such a huge shift in our lives that……

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