What do we look to teach our children? Every parent thinks about this at some point of time in life. Sharing my journey about how I realized what children need to be taught..!

During their elementary school, when my younger one decided not to read books because the elder one loved reading, we chose to not force her and see how far she would take it.

In her second grade, she came back home and asked us to buy her a book about “How not to be a bully”. We were shocked and called up her school to find out if she was in trouble. We did not know whether to feel happy that she finally wanted to read a book, or to feel bad about the kind of book she was asking us to buy. We spoke to the school Principal. She asked us to give her an hour and that she would get to the bottom of the issue and give us a call back.

One hour later, we got a call from her Principal, who asked us not to worry and explained the situation. Teachers were observing the children on not only their academic performance, but also social skills as well. She seemed to have a very strong trait of kindness and caring, and seemed to be the one her friends used to turn to for help. So, the teachers had created a lunch group and made her the leader. The group had 5 other kids who were known to be bullies in school. She was supposed to have lunch with them and help them not be a bully.

Now, this was going on for the past two months and no one spoke anything about it. The teachers were starting to see changes in some of them. That afternoon during lunch, one of the kids had asked her “Tell me what I should do to stop being a bully” and she did not have an answer. So, she came back home and thought about it and asked us for a book to read about how not to be a bully 🙂 She needed answers, she did not have them and thought she could read a book and learn about it to help the other kid. The Principal, teacher and we felt warm at heart..! There were so many things we learned that day!

  1. Some children need to feel they have a purpose to learn. Show them a way to identify that purpose and they will want to learn
  2. Some children observe and learn bad behavior. Show them a way to change and they will change slowly
  3. All children need to learn to co-exist. Mix the group of children who study well and those who do not, good ones and the bullies – the breakthrough in learning is exponentially greater than what the individual groups would have accomplished. It needs to be in a controlled environment under supervision though!
  4. Just because a child does not want to read does not mean we keep pushing them to study, learning and encouraging their uniqueness is a nice way to develop a well-rounded child

Everyone whom I have shared this with, had their own take-aways from it!

Our children need to learn how to co-exist in this world, not just with other human beings, but with other living beings and be ready to share. It is not about how much I know or I have, or how selfishly I choose to behave. It is about how willing one is to share – be it their knowledge or wealth or whatever makes them unique to benefit others around them. As parents at home and teachers at school, if we help them to learn this, and if we can cultivate that quality in them, our world will be a better place to live!

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