We spend 15 to 18yrs of our early life getting educated formally. Yet, do we ever stop by and ever think, what ‘real education’ is? Most often, literacy and education are being confused as one. Does education only revolve around academic circles and theoretical aspects of books?
Real education is beyond the printed pages of our textbooks and forty-minute lectures of our reputed professors and even outside the classroom at times. Real education is considered meant to shape an individual’s personality and what’s a better time to shape character than childhood! Children are like wet clay. We can mold them in whatever shape we want, and they grow up to be a reflection of that molding. Hence, we must educate our children for real achievements, starting from their childhood.
“All real education is the architecture of the soul” – William Bennett
Let’s deep dive into what could be really meaningful & compelling aspects that we would love our children to get a grasp of, in pursuit of a real education:
1. Education of the mind and heart
Grasping the formulae and definitions in statistics is easier than educating one’s mind and heart. Our children may understand what we teach them in an English or Mathematics class, but will that be enough? Nourishing & strengthening a child’s mind and spirit helps to shape him towards an ideal being as they grow up. Knowing how the mind works & heart desires can bring a balance in an individual’s life.
Educating the mind inculcates discipline and routine since the beginning of a child’s journey in the outer world. A disciplined child has a way better chance of finding & fulfilling his purpose in life. Educating the heart instills values in one’s life, such as self-confidence, self-esteem, self-image, courage, determination, etc. Such elements are the key to lead an inwardly peaceful & outwardly prosperous life ahead when the child grows up.
2. Being a part of society’s evolution
Children are the future of our society. Educating our children today will bring the change we want in the future. A child getting educated about the changes required in the societal norms and beliefs will also have the courage to break society’s stereotypical mindset. Such bright yet revolutionary minds are the hands behind, making society better and more inclusive.
Real education involves teaching our children about gender discrimination, physical ad & mental violence, depression, anxiety, and the reasons that exist in our community. It gives them the vision to identify the root causes of misery and the clarity to solve them independently.
3. Having an Inner – Outer balance
Balance is the key to a fruitful life. The art of maintaining a balance is not easy. Many individuals take years to learn this, let alone master the same. Educators who teach the children about inner and outer balance since adolescence can ensure a safer future for them. Sooner or later, our children will grow up to be a part of the dominant rat race as well. What is essential is to understand how not to let the outer race drive them away from their inner peace.
Educating our children about boundaries is necessary. Normalizing the idea to manage their academic or working life in the future and prioritizing mental stability without feeling guilty or shy will ensure that our children are not victims of depression and anxiety several years down the line. Knowing how to live a beautiful life irrespective of socio-economic status & avoiding needless comparisons with peers is a life lesson worth a treasure.
4. Power to choose
Growing up in an orthodox society can often set standards for everyone around us. Even in the 21st Century, we measure a happy, successful life in terms of external beauty, money, power, designations, and positions in life. Academic courses and curriculum might not teach our children what real education should. Having high virtues & values can refine our children into kinder and compassionate individuals.
Real education requires our children to understand when and how to discriminate. It gives them the power to choose what is right and wrong and take a stand for their choices made. This is by far the biggest differentiator that can lead to different outcomes in life. It also gives them confidence in their right to voice their opinions without any fear or guilt. In the long run, there are no better mentors than one’s own virtues.
5. Food for body and thoughts
Eating healthy and staying fit is a standard topic covered by most curriculums. But is it enough to choose the right food only for the body? In this fast-growing world, on the one hand, everything is getting advanced to make our lives simpler and sophisticated. On the other hand, amidst this sophistication, enough negativities and distractions are growing too, which are capable of putting any child in a dark place.
Teaching our children about food for thoughts is equally important as that for the body. In an increasingly complex & ever-growing digital world, every child must be educated about what to consume mentally & more importantly what to avoid at all times. In the race to maintain physical attractiveness, the generation today often forgets to take care of their mind. Thus aspects like body shaming, unnecessary dieting, and fake lives come into the picture. Educating our children not to accept themselves as they are & consciously taking steps to build a positive self-image for them will go a long way towards a happy life for them. Real education is to teach our children about self-love!
6. Staying inquisitive
“Curiosity, especially intellectual inquisitiveness is what separates the truly alive from those who are merely going through the motions” – Tom Robbins. Almost all children are born inquisitive and ask 1000s of questions to their elders. In the traditional society that we live in, often such logical & curious minds are suppressed.
Educating children means making them strong and bold enough to ask questions without any fear. Real educators stoke children’s curiosity. At the same time, it is essential to understand the subtle difference between making the children self-confident and a rebel. In this journey of voicing their opinions, the children must not forget their principles of humility & politeness towards others.
7. Handling adversities
Our education system focuses on achieving a successful life ahead, but who teaches us about what to do when we face adversities? Real education is to prepare our children about the unavoidable hardships of life and overcoming them with their wisdom and knowledge.
It is about applying the learnings to real-life when needed and achieving what they dreamt of. It marks our children’s journey from human beings to being humans by showing them the sweet & bitter realities of life. No human life is filled with unicorns and rainbows. Educating a child makes him aware of these facts and yet strives to prepares him as a positive and self-driven individual.
“Education is what remains after one has forgotten what one has learned in school.” – Albert Einstein
Are there any other vital aspects that you think should form part of real education?