Thursday, 11 May 2017


If schools and colleges are under the impression that they are simply in the business of teaching prescribed lessons from the course books, it is time they think again. They are molding the blocks which will be used in nation building in not so distant future and so they must revisit their curriculum. At school, kids learn a lot that isn't going to be helpful to them later in life. While getting an education is important, there is much that kids could be learning that schools aren't teaching. Children and young teens need to be taught life lessons that will enable them to be independent and certain, yet respectful and unique. We need champions and we are not getting them. All that we are getting is a bag of excuses.

The first lesson that a child should learn is to be the decision maker. While parents, teachers, friends and relatives will try to persuade them, but what the student has to know that they cannot decide for him/her. They must make sure that the path they decide to take aligns with their own intuition and desires. It's okay to switch paths or create a new one. 

Patience is about the ability to keep a good attitude while working hard for what one wants to achieve. Being patient gives one the time one needs to reach one’s goal. Patience is about pace, not waiting. It's about timing oneself to work with more than one process around you. 

Making mistakes are part of the learning process and most mistakes are unavoidable. Making mistakes is not the problem, not learning from them is. Remember that behind every great success, is a thousand failed attempts to get there. If students are not making mistakes it is actually a matter of concern. It only means they are not being challenged to their fullest potential and are being taught to play in the junior league only.

Students must be explicitly told not to expect success to come to them just by sitting around. You are what you do, not what you say you'll do or plan to do. All the grandiose plans to succeed and all the cook-books available on these subjects written by the success Gurus will take you nowhere, hard work will. Yes, ‘failing to plan is planning to fail’ but after the planning the required hard work has to be put in, the regular practice has to be done……..and there is no substitute for it. Remember that good things come to those who work on meaningful goals. Ask yourself what's important and have the courage to build your life around your answer. 

Our students should learn to accept all the apologies they never get, this will make life easier. The key is to be thankful for each experience, be it positive or negative. Instead of getting upset at a situation, they should take a step back and say 'thank you for the lesson'. It is vital to realize that grudges from the past are a waste of happiness. When you forgive, you're allowing yourself to let go of your past. 

As a student of a very specialized branch of surgery I have learnt a very invaluable lesson – there are no good teachers and bad teachers. There are teachers who tell you how to do things and there are others who teach you how not to do things. Both these lessons are invaluable and I am eternally indebted to both these types of teachers.

We must teach our students to be brave and walk away from the people who make them feel uncomfortable and insecure. If anybody they stay with makes them feel like they can't be themselves, or if they feel emotionally drained or anxious after spending time with them, we must teach them listen to their intuition and step aside. Hang out with the people who inspire you to be the best version of yourself. 

The things that one owns have no bearing on who they are as a person. A big car does not make you a bigger person than a guy with a smaller one and in the same currency it does not make you smaller than the fellow owning a fancy sailing boat. We live in a hugely consumer-driven culture that gives more importance to material things than meaningful connections and experiences. Teachers must emphasize that their students make it a point to create their own connections without being influenced by what they see on TV, social media or read in fashion magazines. 

A vital lesson to be conveyed is the fact that things and situations change, often spontaneously. People and circumstances come and go. The students must know that life doesn't just stop for anybody. It has the ability to move from calm to chaos in a matter of seconds. Unpredictable events happen and they may happen at any time. So when life is good, they must absorb each moment, enjoy it. And when life gets tough, they must know that these moments do not last forever and they should keep their head above the water and try to fight out of the fix.

When they're young children are taught to be nice to others. But as they get older, they need to be reminded that while it's important to be nice to others, it is important that they be nice to themselves too. They must not see themselves through the eyes of those that don't value them.  They must know their own worth. They must know when to stop being nice to whom and simply walk away. If they value the relationship then they shouldn’t insist on winning the argument but if any relationship reaches a point where continuing with it means a severe compromise with their morals and a serious challenge to their values, then they must call it quits.

We must teach our students never to fear the unknown and shy away from it. They should be bold, be courageous, and never afraid of accomplishing their dreams. At every stage of their life they will learn something new. The very act of learning something new disrupts the way they have always seen things-and the way they have always been. A fresh idea pushes us out of our comfort zone and threatens the very foundations we’ve built our view of the world on. That’s scary for nearly everyone and truly frightening for the vast majority! So rather than experience any form of discomfort of rowing in the turbulent waters of the unknown, most people regress – and return to their ‘Safe Harbor of The Known’. It feels better, seems safer and infinitely more cushy and comfortable. But, in truth, it’s not.

The problem is that refusing to learn and grow is the beginning of the end. Life is all about making tomorrow better than today. The progressive mind is obsessed with the idea of stepping into your next level of excellence with every passing hour. A student should know that to cling to the thoughts and ways of performing that they’ve always known is to resign themselves to being average and mediocre. They are no more playing the game but being  mere spectators.

Our educational institutions must encourage the students to be outrageously ambitious and fantastically innovative. A child who dares to break outside the stipulated outlines in his/her art colour book is the one who will break the shackles of the known and venture into the world of unknown tomorrow. But in order to reach these new lands, he/she must lose sight of the shore-even for just a little while. And we must teach them to dare to be a Columbus or a Vasco de Gama and explore the unknown.

Schools and colleges have the responsibility of making the champions of tomorrow. Champions may or may not think alike, struggle, toil and persevere the same way or their own way, but will have the same never give up attitude and they will all be different and unique. Our educational institutions should start encouraging and fostering this uniqueness and not push the students in the rat-race of marks, grades, ranks and distinctions. Lord Macaulay was creating clerks to run British India with his system of education, India today needs leaders, path breakers and champions and the old system is certainly not delivering.