Hello Everybody, Nursing my little daughter suffering from acute throat infection and high fever, and also wondering what she was missing academically because she couldn’t attend school for a week, I thought of this letter I wrote to my son (I composed it sometime back, as I watched today’s children running fast to acquire knowledge and many other skills too, with schools and we, the parents, encouraging it all, and I thought how the kids are gaining and might be losing a little, too, in their journey).
Today’s generation Z is poring over books and computer screens, forgetting to look around and ask themselves questions. A concerned mother writes to her son, inspiring him to get curious…… At the end I’ve asked a question, which made my then-nine-year-old son (now ten) think!
Son, Just ask questions!
My dear son, Ever thought of Nature as your Teacher? Sounds strange, doesn’t it? Well then, let me ask you another question. Did you know your grandfathers never had a building to boast of as a school? Where did they go to study, you might wonder. Spending their early childhood in villages, they studied in ‘special’ schools, which had no walls, had the canopy of the blue sky as its roof and trees around as the boundary. Mornings meant walking down with friends through fields and meadows, crossings streams, to some clearing quite a good distance away from home, picking up the broom to clear away the bird-droppings and goat shit and then sit down on the ground for the lessons of the day amidst calls of birds and fresh air and plenty of sunshine. Did they learn any less than you and us for that?
Surrounded by Nature, it had been actually all the more easy for the village children to associate the learning from books with what they saw around. When we are out on our Nature walks, have you looked at the different kinds of leaves? Why are some tiny and some so large? Some narrow and some round? Some always light green and some have colours in them with almost no green? Going out on trips, when we admire the sky that looks bluer than ever and the lush green meadows, why don’t we ask why the sky is blue and leaves mostly green? When the much-awaited summer vacation arrives, do we ask why do we have seasons? You have learnt time and again our earth revolves around the sun. What if it hadn’t done so? What if it had only rotated? Would we have the scorching summer, the pleasant autumn, the cold winter and the beautiful spring? What if the earth had just revolved and not rotated? Ah! So there comes the day and night.
Well, maybe we are so much into books and tests and exams and other classes, and then the ‘awesome’ video games, we get busy absorbing knowledge and entertaining ourselves, forgetting to ask questions. Maybe achieving high scores gets so much of importance that we are just too happy acquiring knowledge. Challenging a fact is the last thing on our minds. Asking questions takes a backseat. Nature and Universe have their huge baskets of amazing events occurring all the time. Should we not stop taking all that for granted and begin to look at them as if they were happening for the first time?
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Maybe it will tickle our brain now and then. Maybe we’ll think a little less of video games and a little more of the wonders and miracles of science around us, near us and far from us. And when you begin to ask questions, the ‘Why’ s and ‘Why not’ s will do you volumes of good, because once you’ve questioned something, you’ll be driven to arriving at the answers. And once you have the answers, they’ll become a part and parcel of you, saving you the trouble of re-learning something Your Environmental Science lessons have made you aware that leaves of plants take help of sunlight to make food through photosynthesis to help the plant grow. But then, for the mustard seeds that you had sown in our balcony pot, where from had this ‘food’ come to help them grow? The tiny seeds had everything – sunshine, water, air and soil, but NOT the leaves to make food with their help! Did the seeds grow without food? But then all living things need food in some form or the other to grow, right? Then where did the ‘food’ come from that helped them grow into saplings?
Drop your bey-blade, switch off your computer, go out and breathe in some fresh air. Get your brain cells cracking. Come up with different possible answers to this riddle. Chase me to look up books or even surf the Net, discuss with friends, but don’t you rest until you have the right answer. You’ll be surprised to know through the answer that Nature tells in subtle ways to save up amply for the future and that it is one of the wisest things to do! That reminds me of your “Banking program” in your school. But that is again another story which we could pick up for another week-end. Wishing you lots of curiosity, Love, Mother P.S. Hint for the riddle – Seed is a storehouse (Now find out what’s in the storehouse)
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