Can we unlearn things that we learn at home?

One doesn’t always learn from books; some people don’t even like reading! Our primary way to learn is from our experiences. One such priceless experience happened with me recently.

A few weeks ago, my fate took such a turn, that I landed up in a kindergarten as a temporary teacher with no prior experience. My only relevant credentials were that many people, including my family members, close friends and some younger people had perviously told me that I am a good teacher and I should seriously consider being one.

Considering my zero experience in the field, I wasn’t assigned direct responsibility of any class of students. I was to merely assist the teachers with the daily work, like checking notebooks and giving exams. Sometimes, I would be assigned some of the lesser interested students a.k.a “weaker” students, where I would personally help them learn and cope up with the class work better.

Within a month my experiences with the children changed my outlook towards them forever. In order to share the same, I would like to share with you two noteworthy anecdotes.

So one morning, a three year old girl, lets call her, Tia, started to cry unstoppably. It was most shocking for me because she is the quietest girl in the class who always aces her exams and all class work and assignments. And I, on the other hand, cannot bear to see someone cry, especially a tiny beautiful girl like her. I immediately started trying to calm her. I made her drink some water and rubber her back and said some comforting words, she calmed down a bit but she continued to cry silently. Trust me, by now my heart was literally aching. But before I could do anything else, another three year old girl, her classmate, lets call her Pia, came to Tia, held her hand, wiped her tears, and said, “please don’t cry” and to my utter surprise, she immediately stopped crying. And they left smiling hand in hand. Even till this date I don’t know why Tia was crying, but every morning I see Tia and Pia holding hands and playing, which by the way, they never did before that incident. They are inseparable. This incident taught me how simple and unadulterated love and friendship is, and how we complicate it as adults.

Contrastingly, a few days later another rather terrorizing incident occurred. So here is what happened- it was a bright sunny day and the children where practicing writing English alphabets. As usual in every class, there are a few students who are intelligent but moody; and that particular day, for whatever reason one girl, lets call her Rita, wasn’t writing properly and as soon as her class teacher discovered that, she slapped her about ten times for being lazy. And although I was right there, I couldn’t do a thing but stand and watch that heinous incident petrified. My childhood ordeal came back to me. I wanted to undo everything, but I couldn’t! But thence on, I made sure that she reports to me to get her classwork and homework checked. A few days later, a boy from the same class, let’s call him Dave, was punished at the assembly for pushing and hitting his classmate. It was not very difficult for me to discern from where he was learning these things.

Aren’t we adults paradoxical? We as adults practice questionable things and once these impressionable children pick that us from us, we in turn punish them for it.

I have often heard movie lines saying “I don’t teach kids, I go to learn from them.” And I always thought that to be a phoney line. But these two incidents taught me that it’s true; children are born with love in their heart and they are very intelligent, it is us adults who in the pretext of education, in so called educational institutes, instil immorality in them.

My only question is, what if Dave grows up to accept violence as normalcy? Can he unlearn things that he learnt at school and at home?

Rather than us being ablate teach them anything, they could teach us

I would also like to share an excerpt from one of my favourite books, ‘The Idiot’ by Fyodor Dostoevsky- “I was always astonished at how wrong adults were about children, mothers and fathers included. Nothing must be concealed from children under the pretext that they are too small to be told. What an unfortunate and wretched idea! … The grown-ups don’t realize that even when faced with the most difficult problems, a child  may make a very important contribution. … rather than being able to teach them anything, they could teach us.”

PS: Dear Teachers, Please don’t be just another brick in the wall!

The views expressed above are of the author’s only, and are the simplified (not oversimplified) versions of the numerous incidents that occurred.  So different opinions, your thoughts and experiences are welcome 🙂 

I urge you to share share this thought provoking post with your family and friends.

2 Replies to “Can we unlearn things that we learn at home?”

  1. Dear Author, we are born with love, divine love, innate to all. Then, there is the humanistic love, which we long for as children. And those who do not receive love as a child, long for it. It doesn’t matter if you are born with both parents, single parent, or an orphan. The ordeals are the same. Nonetheless, we all long for the same love. Back in 2012, before I started my running club, I went to a vipassanna meditation course to see if I had love. I though, how could someone who has not been loved before, ever know how to love another. I meditated on this, going deeper and deeper day by day. Then, on the third day I discovered that I was born with love, like everyone else. It was just hidden. Why and how come? Well, it was the situation I grew up under. I was a child lost among 3 older brothers, neglected, and abandoned to a social worker’s daughter who didn’t care. Furthermore, growing up in an orphanage created additional barriers. Thus, through the layers I found that I was born with love, divine love. Dear author, you and the children were born with love. The differences in their behavior, if you investigated deeper, were the children’s lack of love at home. We as adults have lost our childhood love. Another point I would like to make is a rebuttal of “Dear Teachers, Please don’t be just another brick in the wall!” A mutual friend of ours, Kanika taught me that we are the “voices” of the divine. It is a crime to just observe when a tragedy is occurring. Dear author, you did the same when Rita was reprimanded for her writing. You stood there like a brick wall and did nothing. By commenting on your experiences does not make you omniscient nor does your age or inexperience be an excuse. In conclusion, instead of blaming, i would begin with understanding. J. Krishnamurti in most of his talk suggest that we need to understand the nature of our minds and the conditioning we have grown up with over the years.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks for sharing your personal experiences with me and the readers of Contemporology. It surprises me how deeply our childhood impacts our adult life. I empathize with you and you are not alone or loveless. I hope you have realized that by now. And love and happiness is not something that someone will give you one day, it’s something you give yourself. And hope you find all the happiness and love in the world. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

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