Tips For Teachers

| November 14, 2012 | 0 Comments

By Mark Grace

Relations between parents and their children are harmoniously regulated through love and discipline. Love gives them support for development and discipline keeps them within the established orders of the family and society. The nature of the child is very tender and it is likely to take any shape or form and it can be distorted very quickly as well. If too much love is provided the child may turn wilful and if too much discipline is enforced, then he may close in or resent from inside.

Thus, he needs them both, just in right measure. The child is pliable like refined clay of a potter who is about to throw a pot. The potter uses both his hands, one on the inside and the other outside. The hand inside is the hand of love, which gives support for expansion, the hand on the outside is the hand of discipline, which keeps a firm control on the expansion within the required form. It is prescriptive and regulative in action. The parents have to act like a potter.

They must have the concept of a good civilised and cultured being which they wish the child to evolve into, and they must support with love from within for the expansion of the child and must regulate the child to conform to the universal nature with restrictive, prescriptive or punitive force. This will create a good character and a pleasant being. (Shantananda Saraswati1)

The education and upbringing of the young, much like a pendulum, swings between the apparently opposing poles of love and discipline. To stop the violent swinging from one pole to the other, what is required – both within the home and the school environment – is a harmonious balance, “just in right measure”, between love and discipline. The analogy of the potter and the clay is informative; where there is too much of one hand or the other, the pot will be misshapen and unbalanced.

As parents and teachers, we owe it to the child to ensure that both love and discipline are given in the required measure. This means that the adult must be sufficiently awake to realise what their own natural inclination is in relation to love and discipline. Once the natural inclination is recognised, it is important that the other be consciously practiced. In this way, the adult becomes more balanced and the child benefits from growing up in an environment that is both loving and regulated. Children who grow up in homes and schools where the balance between love and discipline has been established, become well-balanced human beings who are neither wilful nor resentful.

The second aspect referred to in the quote is that besides love and discipline, the parent and the school should have “the concept of a good civilised and cultured being which they wish the child to evolve into”. Each of the concepts of ‘good’, ‘cultured’ and ‘civilised’, while being value-laden, need to be unpacked so that an educational vision can be created that produces young adults who, besides having the skills to function effectively in a sophisticated technological society, also have the depth of character to live full and meaningful lives. The modern world has thrown its weight behind technological mastery.

There is little talk today in educational circles of producing ‘good’, ‘cultured’ and ‘civilised’ human beings. Balance needs to be maintained. “Love gives them (the children) support for development and discipline keeps them within the established orders of the family and society.” With this approach, much can be achieved in the most natural and harmonious way.

Category: Summer 2012

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