Thursday, June 13, 2013

To do the right thing even when no one is watching

I have written a post earlier about how searching for the right school can be a daunting task. Every parent has certain criteria. A school that ensures better grades is sought after so your child is assured of an engineering or medical seat. When we were growing up, ensuring a lucrative career started with a degree in Engg. Or medicine. Else you had the IAS.
Owning a car or an apartment of your own was a luxury and a indicator of success in life. Today the pyramid has widened. With the internet available to most, opportunities for business and entrepreneurial ventures has escalated putting money into more and more hands at a younger age. Car is a necessity. And unlike earlier times when you retired into your new house, the young generation in their 20s are house owners. Information is easily accessible. Quite simply put, there's a huge paradigm shift. So. Why hasn't education changed?
Our children are still cramming data, trying to up their grades. And worse, once they get their degree are incompetent lacking basic skills. Many social media addicts have problems holding an intelligent conversation. On site skills are abysmal. Our schools don't teach skills that are most essential like financial management. Children cannot handle a broken relationship or a failure. Where is character building? What attitude are they going into life with? Respect for one another is to be learned in better ways than as a mere pledge that you mindlessly repeat each day.  Decision making ability is important at every level whether its choosing a career, a friend or a partner. The important thing is doing the right thing from our heart and mind.
What if our schools taught children to "do the right thing even when no one is watching"?
Here's one such tried and tested system that I came across in a book called "the leader in me." Its written by Stephen Covey who has given us the "Seven habits of highly effective people." For those who are new to the habits, these are
Three personal habits-
1.Being proactive : you are in charge.
2.Begin with the end in mind : have a plan
3.First things first : work first then play
Three team building habits-
4.Think win-win : every one can win
5.Seek to understand first and then to be understood : listen before you talk
6.Synergize : together is better
And the seventh habit
7.Sharpen your saw: balance feels best
Explaining these is not in scope of this blog nor am I qualified to. So I will refrain from it. But should you feel the need to delve deeper in the subject, I can assure you it will be most enlightening.
In the book 'the leader in me',Stephen Covey cites examples from schools that have implemented teaching these timeless self empowering habits to children in primary schools and even preschools. And you will be amazed at the transformation the schools speak of. And yes, the grades have improved too. Many schools all over the world have started this model.
The bad is news is that by the time our policy makers and the local school administrators wake up to the change, your child probably would have graduated from college. The good news is that you don't have to wait for better schools and can start teaching the required skills at home. Of course you will have to learn them yourself and believe me it will help you in your personal life too but importantly our children don't have to wait to grow up and learn the hard way before equipping themselves with self empowering skills. So they and in turn you are more confident in letting them face the world.
I have started teaching my 5 year old daughter. And it isn't difficult.
And no. I do not work for the Covey foundation. :)
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1 comment:

Balachandran V said...

Good for Ananya! But as a father of a 21 year old boy and as a man of 56, I think teaching is one thing and applying it in life is another! If only we could lead life the we know it should be!