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Friday, December 10, 2004

character building exercises

A favorite saying goes – ‘health lost is nothing lost, money lost is something lost, and character lost is everything lost’. Management principles exhort us to give praise where due – praise in Public, criticize in private, they suggest. Never condemn a person unless he fails at something he likes.

Golden words which we all should follow but seldom do.

Building the character of a child rests both on the parents and the teacher. Character is not just about good manners in front of elders but also about the ability to rise above the ordinary when the situation demands. For obvious reasons, bookish knowledge is one aspect of education where the stress is presently being given but, for a child to develop into a complete individual, it is necessary that he is left to fend for himself once in a while. If someone else fights his battles for him, he will grow up to be an individual who will always be dependant on others and be at the receiving end.

There was a time when, in Germany, after finishing school, everyone had to either join the military services or go on a World tour – this was in the fifties. I am not aware whether such a system still exists. The intention of the Policy makers was quite clear – participation in the country’s defense services teaches the individual to develop his own personality – just as traveling around the Globe does. In both cases, one has to learn to defend for himself, to accept defeat gloriously. Such activities ultimately help in boosting his confidence level.

In our country, NCC was started with similar intentions.

Unfortunately, children hesitate to join the NCC – it has not been able to win over the support of the masses. NCC, today, is supposed to be a stepping stone to employment opportunities in the various branches of the defense, police and para-military services for students with less than average intelligence!! Every year during the Republic day celebrations, cadets of the NCC participate in the march past in New Delhi. Some of the lucky few earn medals; the more adventurous ones among the cadets go for aero modeling, excursions or local outings. Based on their performances, very few of them can boast of having put their knowledge to good use – either in the defense forces or the Police force or other para-military forces.

Building ones character is basically by participation in group activities – most important one being problem solving. It is a sad state of affairs that, due to the vast curriculum prescribed by the Education Boards, children do not have any energy left to involve in activities that help them to build their character. This is probably why they search for the easy way out of difficult situations.

Yes – the easiest way out of difficult situations is to exhibit the Power of money. They have learnt that Money alone can work wonders. Our children, today, are growing up with this idea firmly implanted in their minds. A dangerous state of affairs that needs to be corrected immediately.


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