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Nurturing the Dreams of Children

Nurturing the Dreams of Children

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Published by Swami Vedatitananda
This is an article that was published in Cenbosec, the Quarterly Journal of CBSE, India. It deals with the qualities are required in a teacher so that childrens' dreams can get fulfilled.
This is an article that was published in Cenbosec, the Quarterly Journal of CBSE, India. It deals with the qualities are required in a teacher so that childrens' dreams can get fulfilled.

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Published by: Swami Vedatitananda on May 22, 2013
Copyright:Public Domain


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Nurturing the dreams of children
 A study of the dreams of children would be very interesting. There is something of thetouch of fairy tales about them. Ever fluctuating, their dreams make for very amusingconsideration. In this article, however, we will not be entering into an analysis of the hopes &aspirations of students. Every person who has achieved anything worthwhile in his or her life inthis world was assisted ably by some older person; say a teacher or a mentor. Now, this person who helped the child to actualize his/her dreams must have had certain characteristics. Thepsychology of pedagogy needs to study more intensely the mindset of such persons who areinstrumental in realising the dreams of our children. Hence, in this article, we shall be trying tostudy the mindset of such persons. We shall try to unravel the most beneficial mind set inourselves that can bring fulfilment to the dreams of our children.Based on the traditions of the monks of the Ramakrishna Mission, we believe that wenee
d to have two qualities in ourselves so that our kids‟ dreams may see the light of day in the
Mother-heart in teachers
First of all, we, as teachers, need to develop a mother-heart. What does this mean? Very simply, the mother-heart
is the heart that a motherpossesses. We see as a common fact all around us how great a change comes over a young girl when she gives birth to a child. Qualities that she herself did not know that she possessed startmanifesting in herself. Swami Vivekananda once pointed out that a young lady, who would
swoon at the sight of a spider, would enter the mouth of a tiger, if her child‟s life were
So, this term „mother
heart‟ refers to
the heart that a mother possesses towards herchildren.But we wish to expressly point out that one need not be a biological mother in order todevelop a mother-heart. Neither is this ability confined to women alone; men too can, and have,manifested it. In this sense, the mother-heart is a set of attitudes. Let us now try to analyse someof the aspects from this perspective.
This term is the English translation of the two Sanskrit terms ‘
’ & ‘
 As teachers, we need to place ourselves at that point of perception, where we are able toaccept the child as he or she is. Some may object here that a mother is seldom able to do this. We all know the famous story of Akbar & Birbal related to the most beautiful child in the world.Birbal took the King to a washer-
 woman‟s house, where, she was cuddling a charcoal
-black son
and calling him endearingly „My moon, my fair moon‟!
So, some may object saying that mothersare prejudiced towards their children. So
how can we speak of „accepting a child as he is‟ with
respect to mother-heart? Allow us to elaborate a little here. If we are unable to see thedrawbacks of the child and on the contrary, are able to strongly imagine, even prejudicially,
positive things in the child, where there are negative things, welcome. We don‟t object to that at
all. But, what we do is, we concentrate on the mistakes and drawbacks of the child, more oftenthan not. Winston Churchill once c
ame back home from school and his mother asked him „How  was the exam today, son?‟
e replied, „Mother, I knew so many things. But the teacher was hell
 bent on discovering what all I did not know!‟ It is this point that we are alluding to here.
 Every child has infinite possibilities. Living with the kids, especially those kids who
aren‟t biologically born to us, but are under our care,
however, seems to force our attention ontheir mistakes, on their failed attempts at learning, rather than concentrate on theirpossibilities. A person whose mother-heart has opened is able to see
these mistakes.Such a person is able to see right now in the child the actualisation of what it
become yearslater. It is in fact, not an imagination; it is a vision.Imagine the beauty of a relationship between the teacher & the student, where thestudent receives unconditional love and acceptance from the teacher! Does this mean theteacher will never shout or get angry? Far from it; but, chastisement must always be preceded by a rock-solid foundation of strong emotional bonding. Generally what happens is this
aftersome years of being in the teaching profession, we tend to be dehumanized. As a result, ourrelationship with our students, on a human level, seems to fade into a mechanical interaction.How wonderful it would be if we strove to be real soul-mates to our students! And the importantpoint that is generally not recognised is that our students
are in dire need 
of such arelationship! We all talk glibly of love an
d acceptance and sympathy, don‟t we? But, l
ove andacceptance are generally seen to be highly conditional in most of us. We tend to like children who are academically brilliant, physically healthy & well-formed, emotionally well adjusted, vivacious & sweet. More despicable is the fact that our love gets conditioned by parochialfeelings quite often. Are we able to break free from all such considerations & shower our love onall the children in our care? That is a sure sign of the mother-heart functioning in us. For, when
our mother-heart opens, all that matters for us is that these students have been left in our care.It matters little as to what family they hail from, what the social status of their parents is, whatregion the students belong to or what mother-tongue they speak. Sufficient for us is theknowledge that they need our support and guidance.Subjectively, the opening of the mother-heart brings some palpable changes in ourselves.One such change is the ability to instinctively stand in the shoes of the child before us, to be ableto almost see through its eyes, as it were. It has always been the ideal for teachers that they must be able to see through the eyes of their students. This ideal gets realised when the mother-heartopens in us. Every thought & feeling arising in the child will strike a similar chord in us too.
 When we are with our students, we are then able to virtually „become‟ exactly as they are. A little
 bit of imagination is required here in order to understand this subtle point. We ask a student a
question and he doesn‟t answer. As teachers, we all have our own specific styles of reacting to
such a situation. Some of us try asking the student alternate questions, attempting to probe hismind and understanding. Some again would try to cajole him with credits, grades or marks if heeven attempts to answer. Many there are who resort to verbal abuse and corporal punishment in
order to elicit the student‟s participation in the class! But, some rare teachers there are who try 
to attempt to understand the exact state of mind of the student; why exactly has he refrained
from answering? Is it because he doesn‟t know the answer? Or is it because he has some
idiosyncrasies in speaking that his classmates joke about? It is possible to discover the exact
reason for the student‟
s non-participation, by resorting to such elaborate investigative practises.But, when our mother-heart opens, our understanding about our students becomes literally intuitive. Our soul becomes more & more plastic, as it were. Another observable change, subjectively, is the ability to see the child as an integral
 whole, our vision not confined to any one aspect of the child‟s personality.
Let us confess that weseldom do this. For, if we did this, how could we have stereotyped our students as dullards and brainies? We see that a particular student does not follow our classes for some days and we very soon categorise him or her as an idiot
. Of course, nowadays, we do not use the term „idiot‟, but
use the more politically correct e
uphemism „slow learner‟! But using euphemisms doesn‟t better
the situation at all! With our mother-heart blossomed, in such a situation, we will immediately  be able to discover some aspect of the child that shows promise of unfoldment and development. We d
evelop our ability to view any single aspect of the child‟s personality against the background of the child‟s entire personality. This is the stage where we become capable of truly 
seeing good in every child.

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