A Word of Advice
By Dr. A. R. Das- Academician and Spiritual Architect
ICSE students find themselves somewhere in the mid-way between a fully grown up citizen and a dreaming juvenile. Actually a person’s attitude and mental get-up starts forming from the very nursery level. His or her environment contributes greatly in the making of a personality. Environment includes nature, society, immediate family members specially parents, brother and sisters, teachers, school and all else that one comes in contact with in the formative period. Teachers are of two kinds, the natural teacher and the formal teacher. The natural teachers are the parents and the other immediate family members who teach the kid the dos and don’ts of life, the values and other guiding principles.
During childhood, the mind is like a soft lump of clay which can be moulded to any particular shape under a given environment. The traditional Indian way of life divided the life of a person into four periods commencing with the Brahmacharya Ashram (the learning period including the observation of rigorous discipline for the proper grooming and blooming of the mind and body that will ensure the development of an ideal citizen and a good guardian of domesticities).
The subsequent periods are the Grihastha Ashram (the domestic life), the Banprastha Ashram (retirement from domestic life) and Sanyasa Ashram (period for meditation and penance). Though such a division might seem impracticable today it does warrant a thought that if this disciplinary approach to life could have made its way to the modern world, many of the disasters of today might have been prevented. There is however little benefit in musing over what could have been.
In the present scenario when the world is reeling under the heavy load of the technical advancement, when an easy breath is almost a rare occasion we are to make the best of what we have.
In spite of the huge amount of negativity that we see around us, there is no denying the fact that there are a lot of good things around us: good and competent people who are striving to make this world a better place, standard educational institutions, good literature and above all technical advancement for bettering the quality of human life. If we can make use of these in a systematical way as patronized by government agencies and NGOs, members of different societies throughout the globe can co-operate and co-ordinate with each other for a meaningful and peaceful co-existence.
Students who are in a stage where their mind is influenced greatly by their environment should be made aware of their responsibilities towards the society and the world as a whole. Scriptures, good literature, the deliberations of teachers, the autobiographies and biographies of great men of the world can play a great role in modeling the mind of young students. A good result and a brilliant career are of little value without a fully developed personality because it is only the later that can create the leaders of the future.
When a child is born, it is not aware of the immense implications of its environment on the development of its personality. As a child grows, he has to tackle various situations that are thrust upon him in the form of immediate circumstances, schooling, professional orientation, the many challenges of having a career, and also the duties and responsibilities that come with being the head of a family. All people undergo these stages of life, but it is only a few who cross the same without stumbling. If we analyse why this is so, we will find that while the obstacles are same for all people, the way in which individuals deal with these obstacles varies from one person to another. The instruments to combat the obstacles of life are what we may call mental/psychological accomplishments.
The period of growth of a child is very strategic in determining his character and strength of personality. Thus the parents/ guardians should keep in mind the fact that when they are raising the child, they should be careful in depicting a realistic picture of life. Life should not be hoisted negatively as too full of thorns, but neither should it be portrayed as a bed of roses. A child so be so geared that the instruments to fight it out are built into his character. S/he should be able to face the obstacles and overcome them competently and efficiently.
It is a fortunate few who find themselves in the midst of such a truly nourishing environment that helps them to bloom into a complete personality and also shine brilliantly in their respective professional fields. But this kind of an environment should be made available to all children so that they are equipped to negotiate the thorns and chaos of life and can achieve the roses of success. History abounds with the tale of many a great man who was not born to rich parents, but who went on to become prominent personalities in their respective fields. For most of these people, success came through the proper recognition of their own limitless potential and this was either nurtured by their parents or by their own perseverance. People like Thomas Edison, Helen Keller, Knut Hamsoon, Charlie Chaplin, Iswar Chandra Vidyasagar, Gandhiji are just some examples of people who complemented their potential with hard-work and went on to become adored and revered by all.
High-school is the stage where students should stop for a moment and reflect whether they are ready to face the world, physically and mentally. The world is a big place, and the road ahead is unknown, so you need to be very sure that you are ready to take on the world. You cannot really afford it otherwise. So gear up to equip yourself to face all challenges of life, both known and unknown, and promise yourself that you will be the best in whatever you do. You have it in you. Just unleash the power within.