No. No more of beating around the bush. Here is the question: Are you sure what your students are going to become?
“I’m no astrologer, but a teacher.” Is this your answer?
Or something like this one:
“Oh! Yea, I’m pretty sure of the abilities of my students. I have a fair understanding of where they would reach.”
Whatever is your response you agree that we are spending our lives on teaching children become what nobody knows for sure, whereas we are neglecting something that we know for sure our students would become one day.
I am speaking about each of the 36 students in my class becoming a family man or a family woman. I am sure most of them, if not all of them, will at least try living a family life with a partner and their children. Isn’t it so with you, too? Are you not sure that most of your students would grow up, marry and live a family life one day?
Don’t lie. We all know it. But the question is, ‘What are we doing to prepare them for this inevitable part of life? If you are a teacher from India, don’t trouble yourself; I can imagine. If you are from any of the western countries, I guess you do not do anything significant, for I see the number of divorces happening around there. I recently read that 500 of every 1000 marriages last less than a decade in the UK and the USA. That is unbelievable, and if it is true I can only pity the children born there.
I don’t think people divorce because their new partner would have a particular body part that the first did not have. Neither do I think people marry knowing that they are choosing the wrong partner. In fact there are few cases where the choice was wrong. Then why is it that our students grow up, become successful professionally and fail personally?
Let me be a bit candid on this question: I do not know the exact reason, but I do know that never in the history of education, as far as I know, have we given enough importance to educating our children on living in this institution called “family”. It has always been assumed that they will learn it without any external support, and that everyone is born to live in a family, it does not require any concentrated efforts or attention.
So the question is “What is there to be learnt about being in a family?’
Quite a lot. And here I suggest a few that as teachers or heads of educational institutions we can do:
- Teach them (boys, especially) the importance of sharing responsibility: In India it is simply taken for granted that looking after kids, cooking family meals, washing dishes & cloths, cleaning the house, offering sex(at man’s will) etc. are women’s work. We do not budge even if the high sky falls. Today most women opt to work in order to support the rising cost of living… oh…that is cool, but all the aforementioned works are their ‘primary’ responsibilities; we, men, are a little too superior. Come on catch them young, and teach them that their family may not last if they don’t mend this attitude. Or they would have a ‘dead walker’ at their home.
- The Virtue of forgiving: I would already have separated a few times hadn’t my wife been blessed with this virtue. Tell them right on the face that perfect couples exist only, and only on screen. In real life people are just too real. They make mistakes- they commit blunders. Teach them to forgive unconditionally in family.
- Teach them the reasons for divorce: I believe there is no real reason for divorce other than the attitude of either one or both of the partners. Here are some absurd reasons people say. Whether they are right or wrong address them in the class rooms. Some people say women becoming financially independent is the reason. Ha ha… you guys want to keep slaves at home ( my response, please.). But that is absurd. That cannot be the real reason.
Another reason they say is the interference of other family members. Which parents want to ruin their own daughter’s /son’s family? Not any that I know of. But still address it, too, in the class rooms. I do not want to go on listing them. Actually the list is endless, for people divorce for different reasons everyday.
Let me not go on and on. My point is made, may be I have been beating the dead horse, again. Yet I strongly feel that as educators we can help the next generation of families be happier and more prosperous.