The straight from the heart discussion of teaching fraternity on Simplicity and Trust made me ponder upon the topic from the point of view of a Teacher, a Parent and a child. Trust and Simplicity are two different words but are entwined in such a way that one is incomplete without the other. Daily Newspaper ‘The Hindu’, once asked its readers “What was it that inspired people to follow Mahatma Gandhi?” to which a Class III student replied, “People followed him because he led a simple life”. A student of class V said, “Gandhi Ji practised simplicity, he was fearless in speaking the truth; he practised what he said before asking others to follow.” All the responses directed towards the fact that is simple in thoughts, action and preaching made people trust Mahatma Gandhi.
I asked the teachers-
It might be easy to preach ‘’Simple Living, High Thinking’’ but in today’s era of ‘jo dikhta hai, wo bikta hai’ how would you make your students understand the value of simplicity?
Chandralekha:- That’s right, it’s not easy to make students understand why they should be simple? I often observe the girls, as soon as they come back from their outing/vacations that they start showing off their new toys, games, clothes and accessories to others in the dorm. I realized, this is the way kids show their happiness and excitement, but this showbiz can hurt the feelings of others who are left behind. As a school, we do many activities like giving a fixed amount to students which they can spend on school fairs. This helps them balance their priorities and value for money. Simplicity can be seen in many ways like in your way of living, in choosing your wardrobe, in expressing yourself, in dealing with an adverse situation, in your behaviour and words. As a teacher, I always make a point to appreciate simple efforts and behaviour in my class, so the students understand that simplicity is trusted and appreciated.
Parents these days want their children to be smart more than being simple, how do you balance this?
Mamta:- We have to make children understand the difference between smart and simple, both these words can go together. Our Ex-President APJ Abdul Kalam was a simple and smart man. Simplicity is reflected in one’s thoughts and actions. Smartness is reflected as one’s intelligence which one uses to handle a crisis, manage people and situations. We often relate smartness with external appearance, expensive clothes, accessories and materialistic possessions hence, when we talk about being simple we get confused that the two words are opposite and to get one we have to leave other. Being simple does mean eliminating non-essentials from our lives, but that does not mean we cannot be smart. Bringing this clarity to children’s minds will help them balance the two virtues in their life.
As a parent, we often tell our children not to trust anyone, not to take stuff from strangers or talk to strangers. Now if we want them to trust others, is it not conflicting?
Rudrani: - It is very conflicting indeed, but at the same time, children must learn to trust. The news that we read or listen to show very often that children or even grown-ups getting into trouble for trusting unknown people. A trustworthy person always cares about you. However, there are many people who actually appear to be nice only because they want something for themselves at your expense. By getting exposed to various aspects of human beings and their nature through stories and real-life incidents, children can develop the abilities to judge the good and bad intents and motives of people. We always ask our children to be polite and nice to people, but that does not mean to put aside your skills of understanding and evaluating others. Children are told not to trust or take things from strangers because a relationship of trust can happen only when you feel comfortable with that person. In school and at home, children should discuss with their teachers and parents how to sense the intent of people, the ideas of belief, faith and confidence.
How can we develop an environment of trust in our class?
Anubhuti:- Doing simple things with children can make them happy and content. In one of my online class, a student told me that today is Ria's birthday (another student). I wished Ria and blessed her, then we all sang birthday song and clapped for her as we would have done in the school’s assembly. This small gesture itself moved them. I did nothing special, but they all were satisfied and beaming with happiness. I was glad to see that it didn’t require any decorations, cake, gifts or chocolates, to make someone feel special. They trusted me with the fact that if they tell me something, I will listen and appreciate. I believe communication is the best weapon to inculcate simplicity in children. When we listen, give them opportunities to express their thoughts, the foundation of trust is laid.
As a teacher how easy or difficult is to trust your students?
Kirti:- If as a teacher, you want your students to have full faith or trust in you or they must share their thoughts with you then, you too have to trust them. In most cases, it's the students who prove to be more trustworthy. Once you let them know that you trust them, they won’t fail you. I've tried this with my class. Many times during the class test, I would go out of the class telling them that I trust them and believe that they won't cheat. After checking their papers, I really feel proud that just for the sake of good marks, they didn't break my trust. I also praise those students who failed yet chose not to cheat. To encourage them I also tell that, had it been for me, I too would have been tempted to cheat but resisting the temptation makes us earn trust and respect through it may lose us few marks.
Sugandha:- I am an artist. Just like a child, artists don’t understand complex things. We break everything into simple, comprehensible parts and bring it to our creation. It’s simplicity that we trust and get attracted to. By being simple and easy to understand, the teacher can earn the trust of its students. For me, it’s not difficult to trust children as they are simple and honest.
Simplicity is removing all the non-essentials from our life, eliminating complexity and chaos. Simplicity earns trust. It’s difficult to understand the complexity, and the human mind does not trust that it cannot comprehend. Thus, ‘Trust’ is the building block of any society. We cannot function for a day without trust. Buying groceries, visiting doctor, leaving the child to school, stepping out of our home all of it requires trust either on self or others.
Childhood means simplicity. Look at the world with the child’s eye- it is very beautiful