On a recent visit to a small temple town in South Karnataka, I happened to visit a school run by the temple. What a profound difference to the schools that we have in our cities!!!
The school had so much open space surrounded by lush greenery and hut type classrooms. Children were running around everywhere carefree. They grew their own vegetables, senior children helped in cooking, they took pride in cleaning their school and keeping their premises clean. On seeing us, they flocked around us, greeted and spoke to us with great enthusiasm and innocence. One could easily see a spark in their eyes and love in their hearts. We connected instantly.
I was so mesmerised by those children that I started contemplating about children of similar age group in our cities. Would our children ‘run’ towards visitors and greet them? No. Because they have been tuned and advised not to speak to strangers and even when introduced it would be a formal ‘Hi’ with a fake smile. Would they help in cooking and cleaning their school? Definitely not. Our children are so pre occupied with their daily activity of competitive studies, competitive sports and such other races in life. Their way of de-stressing is to get hooked on to various gadgets or the social media. How much they are away from Nature being cooped up in their classrooms all day long and in tuition classes in the evenings. And what a paradox – we enroll them in the most expensive ‘Lifeskill’ programs to enable them to socialize with real people and to connect to Nature.
Its time to awaken ourselves before our city bred children completely lose out on their innocence and childhood.
Contributed by Sudha Prakash
Zonal Coordinator(CMCA – Children’s Movement for Civic Awareness)