Inculcating Enthusiasm for Learning in Children

This issue has multiple aspects which are difficult to address in a brief essay, but we can outline a few possible causes and approaches.

One of the main reasons for this loss of interest is that unlike a generation or two, life today is no more on fixed formats. Up till the close of the previous millennium, students were conditioned along certain lines with regard to their studies. they had to do well and get good marks to enrol in good careers and universities. Now due to a number of different opportunities opening up children feel a greater possibility to pick and choose and hence want to be clear about what exactly they are looking for. This process takes time since it involves not just school learning but life learning through various experiences. In addition, due to technology, there is an explosion in information in every field leading to fatigue due to an inability to assimilate.

There is also the factor of many children being provided more than needed. One of the motivations for an ordinary life is wealth and comfort. When children have it easily given to them then they do not value the hard labour through which their parents reached where they did. However, this is only one category of children whom we can call spoilt. Fortunately, they are not too many. This phenomenon is found mainly in the richer class especially where the wealth was earned through dishonest means and was regarded as an end in itself. Because of everything being provided there is a tendency towards tamas.

There is also the mixing of cross-cultural currents leading to confusion among children about what is the ideal way of life. Generally, what they are exposed to from other cultures is often the worst. Television programs mostly cater to the average and the ordinary. The high points are of any culture are hardly showcased or else presented in a rather boring way. So, children are caught up in limbo. They are neither here nor there. the old values have gone and the new ones are not yet clear. They are looking for something to hold on to as an aim or ideal but find nothing worth seeking or emulating. Books have taken away curiosity, and the education system hardly inculcates that with ready answers to be simply understood and remembered. But this understanding is not the child’s own but someone else’s. So, there are no questions, thereby killing the quest and the seeking mind which is what keeps the enthusiasm alive.

It is also true that much of the reading material is not presented in an interesting engaging manner. With the poor student/teacher ratio and with the stress being on performance, children are losing the real motive of studying for the joy of it or to satisfy a seeking for knowledge. It is all for marks which is, of course, a pity.

These ills have got deep-rooted in our society and cannot easily be removed. It needs a complete reorientation of our education system, a reorientation of the society, of parents and teachers alike. Out of the present-day systems focussed around material success, the focus should shift to Integral growth and primarily on the spiritual evolution (not religious). What is meant by this is that children need to be taught about higher and deeper possibilities, greater dimensions. They should be given time and means to engage in self-discovery.

Whether this can be done on a larger scale is doubtful.  However, amidst all this churning, the hope lies with a group of children, small in number though, who are showing signs that they are ready to go beyond the mental frame. It is through these children that Nature will accomplish her task of transcending the human formula. These must be recognised and nurtured.

It is of course implicit that to recognise them it is we who must first recognize the necessity of the spiritual evolution in us and change before we can be catalysts for change in the masses.

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