Role of Teachers and Parents in Imparting Values

Dr. Gururaj Karajagi

Academic Director

Jain International Residential School

Director, International Academy for Creative Teaching, Bangalore

As a rule, every educated man is a man of Values. It does not mean that every literate is. We see a dichotomy staring at us in life. We have outstanding doctors who take away the kidneys of their patients without even telling them; brilliant engineers whose bridges collapse as soon as their bills are passed; accountants whose intelligent manipulations rob millions from the Government coffers; our exalted civil servants are truly functioning as unquestioned emperors; politicians promise the sky but do not even show the roof. All of them have received perhaps the best education and are trained in the best institutions. This intellectual dishonesty is horrifying.

All the education they received is used to make personal gains. Education to them has been a tool for personal prosperity even at the cost of others happiness. It is very self centered. The yawning gap between thought and action is shocking.

Today we are talking of value education, value based politics and value based society. All of us feel that the values are falling and nobody is respecting them. In an enthusiasm to point fingers at others we do not realize that we too have contributed to this fall.

But, what are these values?

Values are a set of desirable behaviour by following which it is good for the individual and also the society. That exactly is the reason as to why values are not taught, lectured about or professed, they are only demonstrated. Two categories of people who make maximum impact on the personality of an individual in the formative years of life which remains all through the life are the parents and the teachers. Incidentally, it is this class of people who become role models _ good or bad, without their consent or knowledge.

Role of Parents and Teachers:

House is the first learning environment for the child and parents are the first teachers. They not only guide the child in its progressive path but also demonstrate the appropriate behaviour by their actions. Normally we come across three categories of parents.

a) Over possessive: This situation normally prevails in unitary families. In these days of small families, the parents would have one or at best two children. They become highly concerned about these children, which is natural but they become over possessive, which is detrimental to the growth of the child. They would try to do everything for the child without allowing him to do or experiment something on his own. In this overflowing flood of concern, they pamper the child, overlook his omissions and start supporting him even when he needs correction.

b) Indifferent: This second type of parents is not much concerned about the child. It does not mean that they do not love the child. Either, they are illiterates or too busy persons. Some of them do not have the methods and tools to handle their children and some do not have the time to guide and manage the children.

c) Overpowering: These parents desire to bring up their children under `total discipline'. They expect the child to be always immaculate and faultless in every action and situation.

They cannot tolerate anything otherwise. They are very critical and keep on pointing the finger of accusation at the child. They take all decisions about the child and truly believe that the child cannot/should not take decisions.

The classification mentioned above is not necessarily a watertight compartment. These are the general types. The ideal is to have a good blend of all the above types. I believe that handling of a child by the parent should be with an iron hand in a velvet gloves. Iron hand is too hard and harsh. It hurts. Velvet glove is too soft and is incapable of holding anything firmly and guide. Only an iron hand in a velvet glove can provide the necessary firm guidance without being unduly harsh.

We have seen many children who defy all systems and become too selfish. They normally come out from the family of over possessive parents. They are used to the pampering of the parents so much so that they expect the same thing from the world at large. They get hurt very quickly. Children coming out of the houses managed by the overpowering parents would become either oversensitive and introverts or totally immune to criticism. Those children who are not guided properly are left to fend themselves.

Extremes are always not desirable. The impressions that the child gets in the initial part of his life, remains with him. One can never escape the childhood experiences. They hunt and haunt him. What a person becomes when he grows up is very largely determined by the upbringing. What the parents did is more important than what they said, because, the child learns by observing and not just by listening. An alcoholic or a smoker cannot advise his child not to drink or smoke etc., Parents have no options but to become role models.

Role of Teachers:

Teaching is not a job; it is an attitude. Teacher is a source of information, a guide, a mentor, a surrogate parent, a motivator, all at the same time. Teaching is the only profession which always deals with the future. To be an ideal teacher, who can be a role model, one should ask himself three questions before taking up this noble profession.

i) Do you love your subject? Anyone who does not love his subject can never be a good teacher and cannot inspire his students.

ii) Do you love your profession? If one does not have the respect for his vocation, he can never have self-esteem of himself. Such teachers do not exude confidence and assurance.

iii) Can you love your students as intensely as your own children? Anyone who cannot answer this question in the affirmative cannot become a great teacher. All the greatest Masters in the world have demonstrated this remarkable quality of loving their disciples unconditionally.

Confucius has outlined the ethics of teaching in three beautiful words.

Ren - which means an act of utmost love.

Yi - refers to moral uprightness.

Li - indicates etiquettes in personal and institutional life.

According to Confucian theory, only a person who is always a source of love, morally upright and whose behaviour not only in personal but also in the institutional life is impeccable, is worthy of being a teacher.

The role of a teacher in the changing social scenario is becoming very challenging. In the earlier times teacher was the only source of information and commanded respect on this

count. Any one desirous of gaining knowledge had to bow down to him. Today, we have multiple information centers. There are books, coaching centres, the audio visual aids such as audio cassettes, video tapes, microfilms and internet services that provide a flux of information to those who need it. Thus teacher's role as the only source of information is marginalized. The society is becoming more materialistic and values appear to be pushed into the background. There is nothing unusual about it. Each era throws up a role model and the whole society tries to emulate this model. Consider the Vedic times when wise man or a Rishi was an icon. Even the kings and the princes came down to his hermitage, sat at his feet to get knowledge. When you look into the period of Mahabharata, the role models had changed. The heroes of this era are undoubtedly the mighty warriors such as Bhishma, Drona, Karna, Arjuna etc. The Brahmin Dronacharya was teaching the princes warfare instead of philosophy. Even the God incarnate, Parusharama was also teaching warfare. Every one wanted to be a great warrior. Before independence of India, our role models were Gandhi, Patel, Bhagat singh, Rajguru and other freedom fighters. It was the dream of every youngster to be a freedom fighter and every school in the country was a training ground for freedom fighting. All school campuses reverberated with the chanting sounds of vande mataram. After independence, unfortunately, the icon of the society has been a rich man. Every one in the society is aspiring to become rich, as much as possible and as quickly as possible. Getting rich at any cost has been the motto. Invariably this process of getting rich instantly is at the cost of values.

The situation would not remain like this forever. There are enough indications that our country would awaken once again to those eternal values for which this land has stood for many centuries. We are at a transition time during which it is essential that the values are maintained and nurtured. Only an ideal teacher whose life itself is a beacon light of values can lead a society in the right direction. He has to demonstrate the essential values such as optimism, motivation, willingness to learn and teach, truth, non violence, never to speak and think ill of others, creativity and ability to demonstrate unaddressed love.

This is a tall order. But, that is the responsibility that the teacher must take in order to be an effective catalyst for social change.

We hope and pray that God gives all the teachers this strength.